NewsCovering Colorado


Pueblo's First AME Church may become a historical landmark

Posted at 10:24 PM, Feb 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-18 00:24:04-05

PUEBLO, Colorado — The City of Pueblo is considering making the First AME Church in Bessemer a local historical landmark. The Church is located near Bessemer Elementary School.

The First African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, which is over a century old, served as a Green Book site for black travelers as safe location during segregation, and it also played an important role locally during the civil rights movement.

"It is a wonderful development because it authenticates history at the church as an erected building," said Ann Batey, a First AMC Church member. "It is historical in the sense that it has been here since 1915."

Despite the brick building standing tall in Bessemer, the church was actually established back in 1875. Pueblo once had to two AME churches before the two were combined. The first church, St. John AME Church, was located at the intersection of 8th and Elizabeth St. In 1960, the church moved to the southside of town at the intersection of Mesa and Carteret Ave.

The second AME church was built when many blacks moved into Pueblo because of the steel mill, and the CF&I in the late 1880s. In 1889, a second AME church, which was called the Pine Street Church, was established by six African Americans. The church was located above the CF&I company store at the intersection of Northern and Abriendo Ave. The church was destroyed by a fire, and the new church was renamed St. Paul AME.

In 1915 under the leadership of Bishop H. B. Parks and Rev. John Adams, the current brick structure was built and dedicated at the intersection of Pine St. and Mesa Ave.

The Colorado Annual Conference voted to combine St. John and St. Paul, and the new church was named First AME Church in 1976.

Pueblo City Council will vote to make this landmark distinction final. If the council votes in favor, First AME Church will host a celebration for the honor.

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