& Castle History
Radio has a long history here in the Denver area. But even more
rich a history can be found in the home of the studios themselves.
The building now lovingly referred to as The Big Red Castle began
its conception in the heart of the Presbyterian Church who envisioned
a Christian college to rival its sisters in the East, a true "Princeton
of the West".
1891, architect E. B. Gregory designed the university's main building.
His plans called for gray stone, from the Coal Creek area. The
final design was made by Stanford White, and while holding close
to the original design, substituted red sandstone from what is
now the Red Rocks/Manitou area. By 1893 the building's structure
was completed. It had a frontage of 160 feet, a depth of 80 feet,
and a height of three full stories and a striking tower of 175
feet. But for several years the building would be left isolated
on the open prairie; the promises of optimistic visionaries unfulfilled
due to the 1893 Silver Crash and competition from a nearby Presbyterian
September 17, 1908, the Westminster University finally opened
its doors to 60 students, and the occasion was
marked by water being installed in the building for the first
time. In 1915, the Board of Trustees made a very imprudent decision
that inevitably led to the institute's closure in 1917. The decision
was made to exclude women from the college. The outbreak of war
at this time influenced male students to be more interested in
joining the military than in continuing their education, thus
undoing the "Princeton of the West".
January 31, 1920 Westminster College was purchased by the Pillar
of Fire for a mere $40,000. During its heyday
the property had been valued at upwards of half a million dollars.
The Pillar of Fire organization, under the auspices of Bishop
Alma White, negotiated for four months with the Presbyterian Board
of Trustees before buying the rights to the college building,
45 acres of land, a power plant, Kirkwood Hall--formerly a student's
dormitory--and the President's House. Pillar's intention was to
reopen the school in the fall of that same year, and although
it seemed unlikely, the College did actually open in the fall
being abandoned for three years, the Westminster building was
in grave need of repair. Hundreds of windows were
shattered. A farmer had turned the basement into a coop for thousands
of chickens. There was farm machinery on the first floor, cracks
in the stone walls, broken plaster and a series of other complaints.
Repairs were estimated at $75,000. Workers were brought in and
began making repairs. The roads around the campus were graded
and rebuilt, the grounds revitalized. The power plant received
an overhaul and carloads of coal were brought in. With hard work,
the first and second floors of the college were finally completed
by July of that first year. As planned, the new owners of the
Westminster University opened its doors to students on Tuesday,
September 7th, 1920.
1926 the school was accredited and the name changed to Belleview
Schools. The college and school continued to prosper
over the years, although it in no way rivaled the illustrious
establishments of the East. Belleview School is still in existence,
operating primarly from new school buildings on the campus. Classes
continue in the main building today, with Bible Institute and
College training. What once seemed doubtful to ever hold students
now celebrates a century of education.
1928 the Pillar of Fire has been broadcasting Christian ministry
over the air from the College. A pioneer in radio broadcasting,
KPOF is widely recognized as the grandaddy of Christian radio
in the country.
broadcast station was licensed on January 12, 1927 and went on
the air with 15 watts of power on 1490 kilocycles. The equipment
was installed at the Belleview College in the fall of that year
for the express purpose of promoting the College, even though
the station at that time was not even owned by the College. A
new transmitter was installed and on March 9, 1928 the Federal
Radio Commission authorized the sale of the station to the Pillar
of Fire. On that day, the call letters became KPOF.
June of 1929, KPOF was broadcasting a nonprofit religious itinerary
on Sundays and also during the morning hours each weekday.
Regular sermons were aired from Alma Temple, the Pillar's Denver
Church, one-half block south of the Capitol Building. Throughout
the pioneer years of broadcasting, the majority of programs were
produced live with musical talent and speakers having to be on
1966, Robert B. Dallenbach was designated to be the General Manager
of the station. Today, although no longer the General Manager,
Dr. Dallenbach can be heard at 5:30am and 9:15pm Monday through
Friday on the program "Sharing Jesus" and from 7-10pm
on Sundays during the program "Sunday Classical Music".
is the oldest station of the Pillar of Fire Network, which is
the oldest network of Christian Stations in the World.
Today, KPOF, Colorado's ninth oldest continuously licensed broadcast
station and first to broadcast in HD Radio™, continues to
offer religious oriented, non-profit programs, as well as classical
and educational series.
the Westminster University Building is the towering landmark that
marks a campus for Belleview Christian Schools and AM91 Radio,
both ministries of the Pillar of Fire. From this historic building,
programs are being carried on the World Wide Web around the world.
Students are educated and inspired to minister and serve at home
and abroad. Rightfully earning a
place in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979,
the future of the building is now secure. And who knows, another
hundred years or so from now, people might gather here once again
and celebrate the further trials and tribulations of this monument
This text was
edited for the web and condensed from the booklet, "The Story
of a College Ministry" by Andy James Lavender. Special thanks
to Dr. Robert B. Dallenbach, Andy Lavender and Joel W. Dallenbach
of Pillar of Fire, for their efforts in gathering historical information
and photos for the publication.