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Our Lady of Visitation

Our Lady of Visitation Mission Church!

OUR LADY OF VISITATION (1950)

Back in 1949, the Spanish-speaking people of Goat Hill, a rural patch of unincorporated Adams County, prayed for a chapel of their own. They received a streetcar church.

After the Denver Tramway Company shifted to rubber-tired busses, Joseph Trudell asked them for a streetcar. They gave him two. Parishioners were overjoyed after years of meeting in the Penitente morada at the east end of West 65th Place for services with Father Trudel, the chaplain at Mercy Hospital. Benito García donated a lot next to his home for the old trolley cars. They were put on cinderblocks and the adjoining sides removed to make one large room. Parishioners donated labor and materials to refit the old streetcars with pews, an altar, and an altar rail. A small steeple bell was set on top in time to toll for Christmas Mass in 1949.

Goat Hill residents lived mostly on the cattle, pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, and vegetables they raised, and on paychecks from the Savory Mushroom plant at 100th Avenue and Federal Boulevard. But church members gave what they could to the streetcar church. Marcos Saiz contributed hogs and piglets for parish raffles--until the Pentecostal Church down the street won the Catholic porker.

The streetcar chapel served Goat Hill until 1954, when a concrete block church was built across the street. At that time, the name was changed from Chapel of the Good Shepherd to Our Lady of Visitation. Priests from various parishes, especially the Servite fathers, tended the tiny, poor Goat Hill flock. George R. Evans, before he became a bishop, asked for and received this parish and built a $9,800 hall for its legendary Mexican dinner fund-raisers.

Our Lady of Visitation Church became a mission of Holy Trinity, after that parish's creation in 1957. This humble mission was more than a church over the years. The Adams County Welfare Department used it as an outreach office, as did the Salvation Army's seniors program. Although never large or prosperous enough to merit a resident pastor, the streetcar parish offered much to its Spanish-speaking congregation.

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