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.
The Finnish newspaper Uusi Kotimaa estimated there were around two hundred Finns living in Minneapolis in 1881. They were attracted by the promise of wages of $1.75 a day to work in the city’s sawmills and brickyards (History of the Finns in Minnesota, p. 119). The first Finnish activity in Minneapolis was not a church, but the Minneapolis Finnish Women’s Club that began to meet in the 1880s and was formally organized in 1895 with the aim to “acquaint women with good literature and to discuss literature in their club meetings” [ibid].
The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church (also known as the Morgan Avenue Lutheran Church) organized in 1914 and was an affiliate of the Soumi synod of the Finnish Lutheran Church. It held meetings in members’ homes until 1928, when a stone church was built at 240 Morgan Avenue North. This congregation, too, claimed to have one hundred members. The Finns, unlike Norwegians, Swedes, and Germans, stayed in their Finn Town enclave on the Near North Side well into the 1950s and saunas were in the neighborhood later than that.
Baptist meetings were initially held in 1853 in the home of Asa Fletcher, Subsequent meetings were held in a variety of locations, including another building owned by Fletcher on Portland Ave, and a hall on Helen Street (later 2nd Avenue) on the river. (A full list appears in Atwater's History of Minneapolis). The congregation erected a church in 1858 on a lot given to them by the Hon. Henry t. Wells, at Third Street and Nicollet Avenue. In 1865 the congregation razed the unsafe building and exchanged the lot for another at Hennepin and Fifth.
Baptist missionary Harriet Bishop arrived in the St. Paul village in 1847 and set up a school for the white and Native American children in the area. This school initially met in a log house on lower 3rd Street and in October 1848 moved to a school house on upper 3rd Street and later to a school house on Jackson Street. The congregation was established on December 29, 1849, in the school house.
Founded by Christian Science practitioner Miss Mary Brookings, this congregation began meeting in 1885 and was formally organized the following year. It was incorporated on December 24, 1892. The group held services in several locations during its early years, including private homes. In 1889 it moved to rooms in a dispensary at 43 South 8th Street and in 1890 to 47 South 8th Street. Later in that year, they leased space at 824 Nicollet Avenue. At the time the congregation incorporated, it was meeting in the Langham Hotel.
A group of African Americans from Oklahoma arrived in Minneapolis in 1923 and moved to the North Side where they established the First Church of God in Christ on 6th and Lyndale Avenue North. The congregation that numbered fourteen at the time it was organized, also established a Sunday School, Prayer and Bible Band, a Ladies’ Sewing Circle, and a Young People’s Willing Workers group. In 1948, the congregation purchased Kenesseth Israel at 518 Lyndale Avenue North when that congregation moved to Plymouth Avenue.
This project documents the congregations and houses of worship that developed within the earliest neighborhoods in Twin Cities between 1849 and 1924.. Among the topics explored are communities, ethnicity and identity, relationships among congregations, intra-congregational interactions, class structure, and the role of houses of worship.