Saint Paul’s Church was founded in the year 1880. At that time, there were four Episcopal churches in Minneapolis, including Saint Mark’s, and several missions.
Eleven parishioners from Saint Mark’s met and decided to set up a Sunday School. Contributions of $53 put the school in business. On April 4,1880, some 83 persons met in a vacant storefront on Hennepin Avenue and held the first worship service. Albert Merrick, the first Senior Warden, secured the approval of the bishop to establish another Episcopal church in the 4th Ward, the same district as Saint Mark’s. Voting resulted in the selection of Saint Paul(‘s) as the parish patron. The Vestry voted to spend $1,500 to build a chapel. Land was to cost the small congregation $3,000. The new church was built on Hennepin Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets. By 1881, the church building was already too small, having grown to 56 families, a total of 230 souls.
By 1882, there were two needs for the coming year – the church needed to be enlarged, and at least $1,500 needed to be paid on the church debt so a deed could be obtained on the balance of the church’s debt. The Rector’s plea for funds was answered and subscriptions fulfilled this need.
Over the years, Saint Paul’s continued to grow. It again became necessary to enlarge the building, but there was difficulty raising operating monies. A mortgage of $11,000 was authorized to Mr. Washington Yale, who owned much property in the area. Building progressed on the new church, but remodeling cost more than anticipated; with added funds borrowed, the mortgage owed to Mr. Yale was $17,000. Meetings were held to discuss finances and decisions made to reduce the mortgage. Action was taken in 1886 to relieve Mr. Yale of the burden he’d been carrying since formation of the parish. A mortgage was placed with parties in the East. Mr. Yale received cash from this first mortgage and was given a second mortgage for the balance due him.
More remodeling was necessary when Hennepin Avenue was widened in 1890 and a portion of the church was taken. $2,000 was received as damages to cover this expense.