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Fifth Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis

Reflecting the Protestant character of many of the first inhabitants of the tony Oak Lake addiiton was Westminster Presbyterian Church’s establishment in 1873 of a Sunday School and chapel on land donated by the Gale’s located at Fourth Avenue North and Nineteenth Street. Nine years later, the congregation now known as the Fifth Presbyterian Church, hired the city’s foremost architect, Leroy Sunderland Buffington, to design a church to be built at Lyndale and Fourth Avenue North. [Put in footnote:  S. C. Gale is described as “one of Buffington’s most enthusiastic clients.”  In the 1870s he designed the City Market for Harlow Gale and tenements for S. C. Gale, as well as designing S. C. Gale’s church, First Unitarian on 8th Street and Mary Place dedicated in 1886, and his home on 16th Street and Harmon Place completed two years later. (Muriel B. Christison, “LeRoy S. Buffington and the Minneapolis Boom of the 1880s” in Minnesota History, September, 1942, pp.219 ff.)]. It is interesting to note that at the same time he received this commission, Buffington was also hired by another congregation to design its house of worship, Sha’ari Tob, the first Jewish congregation in Minneapolis.  Its synagogue, a striking Moorish style edifice complete with two minarets piercing the sky, was erected at 5th Street between First and Second Avenues South.  Dedicated in 1880, the structure was unique in Minneapolis both for its design and function.  The Presbyterians were less adventuresome when it came to the design of their church in north Minneapolis. A newspaper article in the Minneapolis Tribune reporting on its dedication on May 4, 1884 describes it as “in the Queen Anne style with the first story in red brick and the second shingled … well lighted, and one of the most pleasant churches in the city, having a very desirable location.”

The Gales also were donors of land to two other newly established congregations, St. Olaf Norwegian Lutheran Church and Bethlehem Swedish Lutheran.