|Stapleton Airport is now a residential community
This December, I spent a few days in Denver, Colorado, reporting for The New York Times on the transition of the former Stapleton Airport into an in-town residential community. It is a resurrection story of sorts- as an airport takes on an altogether different mission.
A few buildings from the old airport remain, the most iconic being the air traffic control tower, which sits just west of the main drag. Forest City, the developers of the community, told me they don't know yet what purpose the tower will serve - a performance art center is being discussed - but whatever it ends up being, it has value as a symbol of the area's past.
|The Stapleton control tower is at the heart of the community.
|The F-27 of Ideal Cement.
Photo courtesty pbase.com
|Hangar 61 during construction in 1959
photo courtesy Staplelton Fellowship Church
|The banner outside Stapleton Fellowship Church
|Stapleton Fellowship's Pastor Jimmy Smith
It's not about the structure, he said. "The church is a who, not a when or a where." Still, the place provides an earthly framework for a divine message. "Our focus is to 'help people on their spiritual journey' and the parallels between flying and our spiritual journey seemed like a natural fit," he said in his email.
I find the fact that Hangar 61 is one of only three churches in this new neighborhood of homes, offices, restaurants and shops somewhat distressing but Pastor Smith sees it as a challenge. "We see this as an amazing opportunity to introduce Christ to people for the first time," he told me. "I'd rather be on the tip-of-the-spear when it comes to church work."
|Services at Hangar 61
photo courtesy Visioneering Studios
At a defunct airfield 800 years and half a world away, that vision lives on.