History

Historic Image of Chapel

The Eisenhower Chapel is located on the former Lowry Air Force Base.  The base was active from 1937 until 1994 when it was closed as part of the downsizing of the military at the end of the Cold War.  Building 27, as it was officially designated, was the first of four wooden chapels built on Lowry Air Force base to serve the officers, airmen and families.  Chapel 1 was dedicated just fourteen days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The base chapels were interdenominational, conducting protestant, Jewish, and Catholic services.

Historic Image of ChapelThe wooden clapboard chapels built on the base were intended to be temporary.  The other three chapels were demolished when the base build a larger, brick Center Chapel on the east side of the base.  Chapel 1 was preserved because of its connection to president Dwight D. Eisenhower, who attended services with his wife, Mamie a former Denver resident.  During the summers from 1952 through 1960, President Eisenhower spent his summers in Denver, using Lowry as his “summer White House.”  A plaque on the 6th pew on the left side of the Chapel commemorates Ike and Mamie’s favorite spot to sit for services.  Visitors are welcome to come take a seat in the President’s pew!

Historic Image of ChapelThe Chapel is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated an historic landmark in December of 1981 by the Landmark Commission.

With additional funds from the Colorado State Historical Fund the Lowry Redevelopment completed renovation of the Eisenhower Chapel in 2007.  Under the guidance of architect Art Hoy and his crews the entire building was raised and moved 40 degrees to face the plaza.  Click here to see Tom Noel’s photo of the Chapel as it was being moved.

The exterior steps were removed and landscaping was done to make the entrance handicap accessible.  The interior was restored to its original appearance, while the mechanical systems were updated.

Historic Image of ChapelThe Lowry Redevelopment transferred the Chapel to the ownership of the Lowry Foundation, which now maintains the Chapel for community use.

Sources:

Lowry: Military Base to New Urban Community by Thomas J. Noel and Chuck Woodward. Copyright, 2002, 2204, Historic Denver, Inc.

Lowry Foundation records.

Photos courtesy of Wings Over the Rockies Museum

To visit the Chapel call Colorado Free University at (303) 399-0093 ext 2303 or email eisenhowerchapel@gmail.com.