contributed by Rose Nightingale

In 1956, an important phone call from the Bishop got the ball rolling to relocate the church. The Searles mansion at 1917 Logan Avenue was for sale and St. Paul’s had rst right of refusal. This happened to be the preferred loca on of the committee. Harold Tearse was the owner and a former member of St. Paul’s. Mrs. Tearse was a Searles. The price was $50,000.

The Rev. Johnson put on his begging clothes and went calling to get the money. His first call was Nels C. Beim, long-time member and supporter. According to Johnson, Beim said: “You want $50,000 to buy this property? I’ll give you $50,000 so you can buy it.” Special meetings of committees and the vestry accepted. An all-parish meeting on June 26, 1956, was held at the Searles mansion. All members of the parish were present.

David E. Bronson made the motion that church officials be authorized to:

  • Plan development of Searles property and appoint a building committee with authority to proceed to build.
  • Employ architects.
  • Estimate cost of building.
  • Initiate and develop plans for raising funds.
  • Sell the old church at Bryant and Franklin.

Ramsey Parker was named chairman of the building committee. The Wells Organization was asked for a proposal to raise money to build the new church. They agreed to conduct the building fund drive for a reduced fee of $4,000 with a goal of $250,000.

Nels G. Biem

Nels G. Biem

Nels C. Beim was honorary general chairman of the entire committee. David E. Bronson was general chairman. Other committees were formed and chairmen assigned. The hostess committee was headed by Mrs. Austin B. Caswell, and the arrangements committee by Mrs. William C. Porter.

To raise money, an all-parish dinner, paid for by a friend of the parish, was held at Dayton’s tea room in downtown Minneapolis on September 20, 1956. Each canvasser made his own pledge. Cards were distributed to the workers. Pledges to the building fund totaled $212,240. Cost of the canvas was $6,401. This was the January 1, 1957 report.

Many Twin Cities architects who specialized in building churches were interviewed. The firm of McEnary & Krafft of Minneapolis was recommended and employed to design and supervise building of the new church. Ted Krafft assumed personal supervision and followed the project to comple on.


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