Historic Churches

THE EMMANUEL CHURCH

The Coloma Methodist-Episcopal church was organized in 1850, making it one of the oldest such congregations in California.  The location of the first Episcopal Church is unknown.  The first Methodist Church was

located on Sacramento Street, (AKA: Highway 49).  Later, the Methodists worshipped at the I.O.O.F. Hall and elsewhere, with varying success.

 This structure was begun in 1855 and completed in 1856 as an Episcopal Church.  By that time Coloma had become the central point in a circuit district that embraced Diamond Springs, Coloma Springs, Uniontown (now Lotus) and Coloma.  The Coloma congregation was large in the early days, but fell off steadily as people continued to move away.

 In 1921, the building became the property of the Methodist Church.  The Methodists restored the structure and made extensive improvements.  It remained an active Methodist Church until 1963.  In that year, the structure was deeded to the State Division of Beaches and Parks at the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the Methodist Church.

 Since 1963 the Emmanuel Church has continued to be maintained with care and respect for historic accuracy by the California State Park System. This church is a testimony to the importance of religion in rural California communities and its attractive lines continue to grace the town.

 

SAINT JOHN’S CHURCH

 The Catholic congregation of Coloma worshipped on this ground since the early gold rush.  This church was opened in 1858, replacing a log church built two years earlier.  On the morning of April 20th 1858, a dedication procession made its way up Piety Hill from the town, led by Father Largan of Placerville.  Mass and dedication ceremonies followed.

 After 1860, this little church fell into disrepair as the fortunes of Coloma declined and the congregation dwindled.  In the late 19th century the building was repaired, and was rededicated as St. Joseph's Church in 1890.  Again the structure fell into decay, and in 1921 it had to be practically rebuilt. 

Regular services ceased 10 or 20 years later, and local Catholics went to mass in Placerville.On April 30th 1969 the Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento deeded the dilapidated structure to the State of California as a gift.  In 1972 the State Park and the community, working in partnership, under-took a restoration of the building.  The Bekeart family of San Francisco gave leadership in this effort, descendants of Jules Francois Bekeart who built the gunsmith shop in the town below.  Statues and Stations of the Cross dating from the mid-19th century were acquired, pews polished, and the altar furnished.  The free-standing bell tower was restored and carries the original bell that the parish had ordered cast in Sheffield England in 1860.The cross on the roof of the church appears to be of an Austrian design.