History of the Gallery
Built in 1876, Emmanuel Gallery is Denver’s oldest standing church structure. In 1874 Bishop John F. Spaulding purchased the land that had been the site of an older religious building, a non-denominational Sunday school built by Col. Lewis N. Tappan in 1859. In 1876, Bishop Spaulding built an Episcopalian Chapel, now the Emmanuel Gallery.
Due to the change in the religious background of the neighborhood, in 1903 Emmanuel Episcopal Chapel was purchased by the congregation of Shearith Israel and converted to a synagogue. Throughout the early years, Emmanuel Shearith Israel Chapel served the developing Jewish community and became affectionately know as the Tenth Street Shul. For over one half of a century, the synagogue served the Jewish Community. One by one the old-timers passed away and their children grew-up and scattered throughout the city. No new members moved into the community and the neighborhood was taken over by factories, warehouses, and markets. Due to the dwindling congregation, in 1958 services ceased and the Shearith Israel Synagogue was sold.
The building is constructed of stone with 12’ x 18” wall buttresses. The architectural style is mixed Romanesque and Gothic. Windows in from and along the sides have Gothic arches. Originally rose windows existed in the front and back walls. The building measures 24’ x 66’. When it was converted from an Episcopalian Chapel to a Synagogue the interior was changed very little though a balcony was added and the ceiling was replastered and rounded.
From 1958 to 1973, the owner Wolfgang Pogzeba used the church as an artist’s studio. Mr. Pogzeba updated the electrical and plumbing systems and, except for replacing the original wooden doors with bronze doors, respected the historical integrity of the structure.
In 1969, the Emmanuel Chapel was approved for listing on the National Register of Historical places.
In 1973, Emmanuel became part of the Auraria Campus –which includes the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver. It has since been remolded for use as an art gallery by the three Auraria Campus institutions and the local community.
Today, Emmanuel stands guard to its downtown Denver community. The gallery is within walking distance to the 16th street mall and the bustling LoDo district.