There are two really beautiful, really BIG churches in Capitol Hill and the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness is one of them and the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is the other. Imagine a huge competition between the Episcopalians and Catholics in 1900's Denver.
Now imagine each side trying to out do the other by building a bigger and better church. The Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness, or, more commonly known as the St. John Cathedral, located on the corner of 14th and Washington is the culmination of one side of the race.
Named the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness because in 1860 when Reverend John H. Kehler founded the church, it was 700 miles from civilization (or 700 miles from the nearest Episcopalian church in Kansas). The original church was located at 20th & Welton and was destroyed by fire in 1903. The present day St John's Cathedral broke ground in 1909, with the first service in the new church held in 1911. St John's Cathedral was designed by an architectural firm out of New York in a Gothic style that was intentionally modeled after the Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in England.
In 1914, a stained glass window from London was installed in the choir loft of St John's Cathedral with the inscription:
“This great window finished and fixed in the year of the great Armageddon of the Apocalypse”.
This was in reference to World War I.
St John's Cathedral is 185 feet long and has ceilings that are 65 feet high. Twin towers are 100 feet high, and from my house, I can hear all 14 chimes and 1 huge bell ringing on Sunday mornings.
There are wooden pews in St John's Cathedral that have wilderness carvings of animals such as squirrels, deer and bears. One of my favorite things regarding the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness is that each spring they hold the "Blessing of the Animals" where residents are welcome to bring their pets, large and small, to be blessed. The Denver Zoo usually gets involved and Elephants, Giraffes and other exotic animals can be counted on to show up for their blessing!