Bret and Amber Tueller
Some of the great original buildings that have been preserved and restored
Looking southwest towards Mainstreet (once called Euclid Avenue). The Rhode Island Hotel is in the right foreground.
Ruth Memorial Chapel
Early in Parker’s history, it was difficult for settlers to come together for religious services. They waited for traveling ministers, who served a circuit of 20 to 40 settlements, to come through for christenings, weddings, and burials.
In the early 1900s, as the population was growing, Dr. Heath and Reverend Varner discussed plans for a church and Dr. Heath reportedly donated $1000 toward the church. George Parker, brother to original postmaster, James Parker, donated land on Mainstreet.
The community donated time and equipment to work on the church. Dr. Heath died before the church was completed, but it was named Ruth Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church after his daughter, who had died when young. It was completed in 1913. It served as a church until 1970, when the Methodist Church moved next door to the Schoolhouse and the Ruth Memorial Chapel began to be used for only Sunday school and weddings.
The Parker Garage sat on part of the lot of the original Littleton Creamery, which was built in 1897. Soon after the creamery went out of business in 1912, Royal Woodbury bought the property and built a brick garage and gas station on it. Fire has plagued the building since its beginning. In 1923, a fire started in the workshop and a car was seriously damaged. On April 3, 1928, the garage burned to the ground with several vehicles inside; it was rebuilt with similar building plans and a new window style. It burned down a second time in the next few decades. In 1988, after it had become the Warhorse Inn, it burned for the third time. It was rebuilt each time and used as a garage, feed store, auction house, electronics store, and western wear store through the years. The building was expanded in 2003, and in 2014 it become a historical restaurant, once again being called the Parker Garage. It is a Parker historical landmark.
Parker Consolidated Schoolhouse was built in 1914-15 to house schools from Allison, Plainfield, and the Pine Grove school. Pine Grove School was formerly located across from the 20-mile house, near present-day Hobby Lobby, by the southwest corner of Parker Road and Mainstreet. Students often went to school for only six months in the beginning years to help with farming and harvesting. They often rode horses and mules to school. First grade to high school classes were taught in the schoolhouse. The school colors were green and white with a buffalo mascot. In the 1940s, classes became overcrowded and three grades were required to be combined per room on the first floor. High school students were sent to Castle Rock in 1958 and the school was eventually closed in 1966. The building was purchased in 1970 by the Parker United Methodist Church. In 1996, the Town purchased the building and it has been used for civic and gathering purposes ever since.
20 Mile House
In 1864, Alfred Butters built a one room cabin in a grove of pines just south of present-day Mainstreet. The place became known as the Pine Grove Post Office. Butters traded the place to a Mr. Goldsmith, who sold to Mr. and Mrs. George Long. The Longs moved the tiny structure about a mile north and it became known as the 20 Mile House (because it was 20 miles from Denver). The Longs built an addition to the structure to include ten rooms and a second story. In 1869 they traded the property to Nelson and Susan Doud. The Douds purchased the property for a total of $200. They then sold to James S. Parker in September 1870. On December 8th, 1870, the U. S. Government established the official Pine Grove Post Office with James as Postmaster.
James continued to run the 20 Mile House facility, adding groceries and other supplies, as well as a farm machinery franchise. He also established a blacksmith shop. The old 20 Mile House property continued to be a working farm until the mid 1990s. Eventually the small plot of land was donated to the Town of Parker. With the help of the Parker Area Historical Society, the original Pine Grove Post Office portion was restored and surrounded by a small park.
RHODE ISLAND HOTEL
The Rhode Island Hotel (also called the Rhode Island House, Goddard Hotel, and Parker Hotel) was built for Martin and Nellie Goddard in 1906.Martin and Nellie had purchased a handful of lots near what was the railroad depot and partnered with William O’Brien to build the luxury hotel with all the modern conveniences, including a large livery stable. They opened its doors on Thanksgiving Day, 1906. Luxurious indeed, it boasted steam heating, acetylene lighting, hot and cold water on both floors, and a built-in sanitary system. After several successful years, Martin invested in the Cherry Creek Telephone Company and the hotel became the town telegraph office in 1913.
It wasn’t all good luck as the hotel basement flooded in 1912 and a fire destroyed the livery stable and all the telephone wire and supplies stored there in 1917. The Rhode Island had several owners over the years, most notably, Charlie O’Brien. He operated a hardware store, liquor store, and real estate office in the building. The hotel became ensconced in the present-day building and if you look from across the street, you can make out the front dormer. From the rear, you can clearly see the outline of the original building.