Prospect Valley Hospitality, Inc. (PVH)

The Synopsis
(Inspiring DETAILS follow below)

THE VISION

The decades old vison of a home of hospitality for short-term missionary visits became a reality in August of 2001. The search began and a charming 1872 property with old west ambiance was found.

THE CHALLENGE

Many renovations were required to see the vision come to life. After 9-11 caused the original bank to back out, a financial backer was located who had one big requirement. He required that multi-year renovations be completed in one year. The challenge was accepted and miraculously met.

A NEW BEGINNING

The conversion of the property took many volunteers. They came at just the time a critical need revealed itself. As the charming restoration took shape it drew the positive attention of the community as the new ministry came to life. The property transformed into a beautiful garden setting.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The property has a colorful history including a tavern, a grocery store and beauty shop, a gas station and possibly a Lookout Mountain Stagecoach Stop.

THE MISSION LAUNCHED

The first missionaries arrived from Uganda, Africa before the renovations were completed. They stayed in the main house with the founder. Then a parade of nations from all over the world followed and continues today.

A WORD FROM THE FOUNDER

Prospect Valley Hospitality Inc. is the realization of the founder Kimary Marchese. It was her longing and dream to have a home large enough to accommodate her gift of hospitality and marry it to her desire to serve missionaries. She says, “A lot of people would say I must have had a lot of faith to buy the property but truthfully I had only a little faith when I bought the place and NOW I have a Lot of Faith!”

 

HISTORY OF THE FOUNDING OF PROSPECT VALLEY HOSPITALITY

 

For decades, founder, Kimary Marchese desired to buy a home property large enough to serve as a place of hospitality for visiting missionaries. The 2001 discovery of a wonderful property, possessing every quality on the “needs-list”, made her feel the time had come to see that hope become a reality.

An offer was made and she was set to close in September on a charming 1872 property that included several structures with an old-west ambiance. The contract was ratified and the financing prequalification confirmed. Unfortunately, that fateful day, now known as 9/11, caused the original funding source to back out.

The contract expired with no further financing options. Just when it looked like the property was lost, the realtor connected the founder with a man from his Kiwanis Club. This man offered to fund the property for one year. By the end of that year, the entire “complex” needed to be adequately renovated to attract a traditional funding source or lose the property along with the year’s worth of sweat equity and the $40,000 put into the improvements.

The prospect of having to do such extensive renovations in less than one year made it seem like an extraordinary risk. Next, 40 people came to pray over the property for wisdom. That time of prayer helped Kimary to decide to take the risk. She knew that what was originally supposed to be a 30-year project was now, out of necessity, becoming a 10-month project! She also knew it could not be done alone.

HISTORY OF THE SITE

LOVE AT FIRST SITE: There it stood, an 1872 property so much the stereotype of the American West that at first it was thought to be a reproduction. There it stood with its charming Old West storefront, a main house with a pillared front porch, an overhead apartment with its windows peeking out over the trailing wisteria, chicken coops, outhouse and wonderful two-bedroom cottage to the west. It was undeniably an attention-getter. The realtor immediately cautioned that it was a very high-maintenance property.

A VARIED PAST: The seller’s real estate agent referred to a colorful history that included a tavern in the cottage and a stagecoach stop in the main house. The Wheat Ridge Historical society had an old photo in the archives that neither confirmed nor disproved either claim.

Originally, they thought being a tavern was farfetched because this was a “dry” county for many years. However, a 2002 conversation with Helen “Beliel, age 86 at the time, revealed that her parents bought the property just 3 days before her wedding in 1936. At that time, the cottage on the west end was “Sis’s Tavern”. It was heated by a coal stove and had no plumbing. They were using the double-seated outhouse that is still out back. The stagecoach part of the history is yet to be confirmed. But the suspicion is that it was indeed the last stop on the Lookout Mountain stagecoach line as reported by local lore.

THE HOMESTEAD BUILDINGS: The original abstract was obtained at the loan closing. It showed that the United States government had deeded the homestead to Mr. James Kelley in 1870. By 1872 the main house was built. Circa 1911 the storefront was added. It was probably also in 1911 that the second level of the main house was converted into an apartment and the front half of the cottage/tavern was built. The back half of the Cottage is cinder block construction, and its date is unknown.

There are several out-buildings, including two structures that were most likely originally chicken coops. Susan Craig Bongers, the seller, says that by time her parents and she arrived one was used like a tool shed and the other for coal storage. One is now used for gardening tools and the other has been converted to a garden prayer chapel. Don’t forget the original double seated out house! The out buildings were originally down by the river behind the property, called Lena Gulch, since the farming days. They were later moved by the City when it took part of the property for the Lena Gulch Reclamation project.

THE INHERITANCE: The property was purchased from Susan Craig Bongers. It had been run for decades by her parents Jack and Elsie Craig as Prospect Valley Grocery, a kind of general store which all the locals called “Jack & Elsie’s Place”. Wheat Ridge natives fondly tell stories of running across the street from the now long-gone Prospect Valley Elementary School building and delightfully choosing from 100 kinds of penny candy.

An old newspaper clipping makes it obvious that the Craigs were pillars in the community, and anyone now left who knew them, has fond memories of Jack and Elsie.

Apparently, Elsie did a little hair dressing out of the store. In addition to being the local shop-keep, Jack was a Lutheran Sunday School Teacher.

The site did a brief stint as a combination store and gas station, but the tanks were pulled up and removed by Texaco ages ago.

Susan was a young child when her parents moved here and she had married, moved to Loveland and had children of her own before her parents passed away and she inherited “Jack & Elsie’s Place”. She rented out the storefront to a series of miscellaneous businesses that have included: a vegetable stand, a yarn shop, a baseball trading card shop and lastly an Antique Store.

Susan was in a quandary though. She lived too far away to keep the place in shape but knew most prospective buyers were only interested in the commercial zoning and might tear down the beloved historic structures. In fact Ms. Bongers had technically taken it off the market for that reason and initially did not respond to further requests to show the property when the PVH founder first inquired.

The founder and her realtor were perplexed by the lack of response from the sellers realtor. She prayed over it and felt lead to include her Buffalo Bill Museum exhibitor’s business card and a photo of her and a friend in reproduction Victorian attire. The realtor admitted it was a quirky request, but he submitted an offer including the card and photo and Susan Bongers accepted the offer. Ms. Bongers admitted at the closing that the founders’ love of history, as demonstrated by her profession and history reenacting photo, convinced her that if ever there was a buyer she could trust to preserve the original character of the property, this was it. Mrs. Craig Bongers even agreed to sell it for less money than a previous offer.

A NEW VISION: From the beginning, the founder knew she would need to restore the residential units to rent. Her desire was to host Christian missionaries, primarily in the detached cottage. When that wasn’t available, she would share the main house. The long-term goal still is that one day, all the property’s units, including the overhead river view apartment, will house missionaries or full-time, Christian, non-profit workers.

The property closed with the temporarily financing on Thanksgiving weekend 2001. While scores of volunteers worked on the rest of the property, the new apartment tenant fixed up the one-bedroom, river view overhead apartment at their own expense.

The Storefront is the flagship feature of the property and a people-magnet. It is so charming, that hardly a day passes when someone does not come by to commend the restoration and inquire about a “tour”.

People would say, “You must have had a lot of faith to buy this place”. Kimary would respond truthfully, “I had only a little faith when I bought the place and NOW I have A LOT of faith!”

A CONTAGEOUS VISION: The men’s group from New Community Christian Church in Denver was the first to embrace the vision. They volunteered on Saturday mornings for several months. They did everything from finishing off the collapsing “barn”, to propping up the mailbox, to stripping off 4 layers and 130 years’ worth of flooring in the main house.

From there, others began to catch the vision. A carpenter and member of Arvada Covenant Church began organizing friends from the church’s singles group and started to work on the missionary guest cottage.

Another volunteer was a manager at LL Johnson, the sprinkler company. In addition to adding a great pond and fountain, he made the yard a poster child for a special underground drip system that rooted new sod in record time and saved 65% over the normal sod watering bill! Since all this was being done during a drought, it was critical to getting the water board to grant special permission to bypass drought planting restrictions and allow the new landscaping to take place. That same volunteer began converting the old chicken coop, turned coalhouse, into a garden prayer chapel.

The former storefront was a project for the Foothills Bible Church youth group. Additionally, a woman who was a member of Wheat Ridge’s Harvest Christian Community salvaged the original blue and red heart shutters on the cottage. And various people began building a gazebo. One of the founder’s favorite days was when farm kids from the Hudson, Keenesburg and Fort Lupton communities were let go with chain saws and a borrowed tractor. They cleared the land then played video games. The tractor was borrowed from Lindgren Landscaping-owned by a man who had never even met the founder nor seen the property!

CITY-WIDE SUPPORT: Many people contributed much to a project that had no guarantee of succeeding. Sometimes complete strangers would knock on the door and say, “I heard you need help”. Every profession imaginable showed up as needed: from a commercial electrician from Heritage Christian Center to an engineer from Church in the City. All total, more than two-dozen churches and civic groups, not to mention countless individuals, contributed to the transformation of this property. And that was just the first year. Not everyone volunteered, but even the paid help was usually greatly discounted.

The project manager nicknamed “Michael the Angel” had people drive right up to the project and ask to hire him away at more than double what he was being paid for coordinating the renovation. He would not budge from PVH. He was determined to make the reappraisal and financing deadline and remained devoted to PVH the rest of his life.

Even the City of Wheat Ridge zoning department seemed to be rooting for the project—going the extra mile to explain what was needed for every step and each permit. It seemed like the whole community loved and supported the revitalization of the property.

Then with hardly a few weeks to spare the property was reappraised with enough equity to bring the risk level of the loan down. After a talk with the CEO of ASFCU, now named The District credit union, the permanent financing came just in the nick of time. The improvements to the property that first year far exceeded everyone’s expectations. The founder is quoted as saying, “It was like having a front row seat to a miracle!”

The first visiting missionaries were from an orphanage in Uganda, Africa before the cottage was even renovated. They had to “camp out” in the main house. Soon thereafter, there were contacts from Tibet, Ghana, France, Kenya, Ireland, Peru, Korea, Namibia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Rwanda, England, Columbia, American relief workers for Honduras, Romania and workers on Native American Indian Reservations! Even Catholic nuns from Guatemala have stayed at Prospect Valley Hospitality, Inc.

The former storefront is connected to the main house living room. For the first 10 years PVH used it as a dining room / meeting room. Once the storefront-turned-dining-room was even used for a week long seminar training volunteers who flew in from other states to learn to dig and maintain water wells in 3rd-world countries. This former storefront, extension to the main house has had no commercial use since the property purchase in 2001.

Housing Katrina Hurricane victims birthed the creation of a temporary studio in-law apartment use in the former storefront connected to the main house. Years later insufficient income and the enormous expense of the property up-keep caused PVH to go up for sale in 2014. The salvation of the vision was the last-minute realization that the 2-bedroom cottage needed to be used to bring in more rent support for the property which would enable a refinance. The missionary use needed to move exclusively into the former storefront. In 2014 $10,000 was invested in converting the former storefront into a better configuration for a Studio in-law apartment for ministry guests.

It is still the long-term goal that one day the non-profit will bring in enough support that all the units can be dedicated to housing Christian workers. Only God knows what lies in “store” for the future.

 

HISTORY OF THE FOUNDER

Kimary Marchese purchased the property at 10400 W. 38th Avenue in Wheat Ridge, in the middle of her 15-year tenure as the Exhibit Coordinator for the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, Colorado. The former Lookout Mountain Stagecoach Stop had an obvious link to her personal interest in the American Old West and the Victorian era. The museum had introduced her to one of her enduring passions of re-enacting and acquiring authentic reproduction Victorian attire. She was one of the founding members of the Victorian Heritage Society of Colorado Springs now know as the Victorian Society of Colorado and is irrevocably attracted to western history.

Kimary graduated from Hawaii Baptist Academy in Honolulu Hawaii and then received her BFA in Communication Design Graphics from the University of Denver in 1982. She had an elective emphasis in Architecture and Design from her Junior year study abroad in Denmark, Europe. She had also attended a Mission Bridge School during her 19-year membership in Denver’s Calvary Temple Church now The Pearl Church.

Kimary had been on several short-term mission trips beginning in her early twenties which included rural Jamaica and later Uganda, Africa. She invited Christian Missionaries into her small Denver bungalow often throughout the years before finding her way to Wheat Ridge. She would give up her own bedroom and “camp” in her living room, but she observed that this made missionaries feel like they were a burden. The Stagecoach Stop turning into “Prospect Valley Hospitality” was the realization of Kimary’s longing to have a place large enough to accommodate her gift of hospitality.

In addition to hosting international visitors at her home “Prospect Valley Hospitality,” Kimary has been involved in International Student Friendship programs and been a foster parent four times. After Calvary Temple, Kimary became a member of New Community Christian Church (NC3) for 4 years until the churched moved south as Kimary moved west. Kimary has been a member and rotating Elder at Harvest Christian Community church in Wheat Ridge since 2001.

One of her own longtime missionary activities was volunteering with Colorado’s incarcerated youth. Eventually that passion persuaded her to leave her much-loved Exhibit Designer profession and return to the University of Denver for her Master’s Degree in Education.

Kimary has been a high school teacher in the Brighton juvenile detention center, AYSC, now called Prairie Vista Youth Services Center, since 2007. In 2017 Kimary married George Fischer who now serves on the PVH Advisory Board and has served as President of the Victorian Society of Colorado for many years.

Prospect Valley Hospitality, church leadership, teaching, Victorian Society Membership and marriage keep Kimary quite busy. Kimary’s love of hosting missionaries has been greatly supported by her church Harvest Christian Community.

Want to see more?  Check out our gallery of before and after photos.

Main House + Upstairs Apartment + Studio + Gardens + Cottage

Prospect Valley Hospitality, Inc.
10400 W. 38th Ave. Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-4010
303 722-5835
https://www.facebook.com/ProspectValleyHospitality
info@ProspectValley.com   www.prospectvalley.com

The Mission of Prospect Valley Hospitality is to provide inter-denominational, supportive, loving, comfortable accommodations free or under market value, to Christian, non-profit workers visiting the greater Denver, Colorado region in the U.S.A.

People devoting themselves to benevolent work, who need short term housing, do not have to sign leases or devote precious resources to buying furnishings.  They step into this unit equipped with daily necessities and concentrate on the great things they accomplish across the globe.

In recent years we’ve hosted a family who made medical clinics for indigent people in Mexico, a family who works with the youth of Israel feeling the strain of compulsory military straight out of high school, people from Prague, Czech Republic and have a booking from Columbia for people who work with children rescued from sex trafficking.

The great service of PVH could not be offered without the support of our volunteers, prayer partners and financial contributors.  We’d love to have you be part of the exciting things being done at Prospect Valley Hospitality.

Volunteer Application

Name:_________________________________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________________

Phone #___________________   Cell phone # _________________________

Best time to contact you  __________________________________________

E-Mail address __________________________________________________

Volunteer Interest:_______________________________________________

Time Commitment:    Day(s):_________________   Time:________________

m Attached a copy of photo ID or Driver’s License

m Attached a copy waiver of liability

How did you hear about us? _______________________________________

______________________________________________________________

Volunteer Needs

General Gardening  _____      Adopt 1 of 38 small flowerbeds   ___________

Welcome, Airport pickup _____      Speakers Bureau ______

Maintenance & repairs:   Painting _____,   Plumbing _____,   Electrical ____

Weekly Chapel cleaning (dusting & sweep) ______,   sweeping walkway _____

Weekly clean Missionary porch  _____      Develop/Maintain Database ______

Setting up speaking engagements & tours _____  Prayer Partner _______

Financial Support  @ $15.00 a month _____, or one time donation ________.

Please return this application with a copy of your Driver’s License or ID attached.  It can be dropped off or mailed to PVH, 10400 W. 38th Ave, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-4010 (or scanned and e-mailed to info@ProspectValley.com)

PVH Provides these loving accommodations at an 1872, historic property with gardens, pond, gazebo, Garden Chapel, picnic area and parking.  All of which needs volunteers to maintain.  Thank you for your interest

Prospect Valley Hospitality
Volunteer Work
Waiver of Liability

I am voluntarily participating in activities at Prospect Valley Hospitality at 10400 W. 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge, Co 80033.  The activities may include, but are not limited to yard work, painting and other kinds of maintenance tasks.  While risk is minimal and all authorized tasks are those associated with regular home and garden upkeep, I do realize that injury can occur due to my own negligence of safe behavior or accidental injury associated with physical activity.

I am participating in this activity entirely at my own risk.  I assume all related risk both known and unknown to me, of my participation in volunteer work at Prospect Valley Hospitality including travel to, during, and from this activity.  I release liability and hereby waive any and all rights, claims or causes of action of any kind what so ever, arising out of my participation in activities at Prospect Valley Hospitality.  I waive my claims for myself and anyone acting on my behalf and hold harmless Prospect Valley Hospitality and anyone acting on its behalf, including successors and other volunteers.

In the event that I should require medical treatment I understand that those expenses will be my own and that I should carry my own medical insurance.

______________________________________________________________        ________________________________

Participant print name here and sign                                                                           Date

______________________________________________________________        ________________________________

Legal guardian of participants below the age of 18 print name here and sign                        Date

I do  / do not   authorize photos taken during volunteer activities to be used on the internet or in print for promotion of Prospect Valley Hospitality;  For example to be posted at our Facebook site.   ______ initials of participant of age or legal guardian of minor.

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