Two-Lane Tidbit: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Conejos, CO

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Conejos is the oldest church in Colorado. It is rumored that Spanish pioneers traveling through the area were forced to come to a stop here when one of their mules refused to move, despite many attempts. During the stop, a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was found in one of the packs the mule was carrying. Taking it as a sign from the Virgin Mary, the pioneers vowed to build a church on this spot in her honor and as soon as the decision was made, the mule started moving again. The group returned later and constructed an adobe church at that location. French Missionary, Joseph Machebeuf, held the first mass in Colorado at Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1858. The original structure was later replaced by a larger, more permanent structure around 1860. Unfortunately, that structure burned down on Ash Wednesday in 1926. Only the walls and towers survived, but the community rebuilt on the same spot preserving the adobe towers that remained from the original church. A remodel in 1948 removed the original adobe towers due to structural issues and gave it the look it has today. Sadly, tragedy struck again on Ash Wednesday in 2016, when the church caught fire again. The damage was considerably less than the first fire, suffering mostly from smoke damage. Since repaired, the church holds mass every Sunday at 11am and is open to all visitors.