NEW TRIER, Minn. — Thanks to donations from churchgoers, St. Mary's Catholic Church in New Trier will receive much needed interior renovations this summer.
The last time the church received an interior remodel was about 40 years ago, according to Parochial Administrator Fr. Michael Tix.
"The inside, which has been home to a good number of people over the years, in that amount of time the plaster's cracked and there's some water damage that's there," he said. "There's some work that needs to be done."
The summer construction plan is set to include: repairing plaster on the inside, a fresh coat of paint and redoing the stencil work throughout the church. Tix said the finished product will be a fresh new look that will continue to serve the community for generations to come.
"The plan is to be done by Christmas at the very latest and actually we might get done sooner than that," Tix said.
Several years prior, the exterior of St. Mary's was updated, with the brickwork being redone to close any holes or gaps that moisture might seep through.
That set up the interior remodel perfectly because workers now don't have to worry about issues with moisture, or the building shifting during the construction.
According to Tix, the remodel wouldn't have happened without the donations from parishioners, with fundraising entering its homestretch.
"It's a $300,000 project for a parish of about 140 families," he said. "They've been smart in the past, knowing that this day was coming, that they started to tuck away a little money every month for the rainy day fund to do this work."
So far, the parish has managed to accumulate more than half of the money that's needed, and they're in the process of fundraising the final $130,000.
"We're off to a good start," Tix said. "We've raised $85,000 of the $130,000."
A history spanning over 150 years
The current church building, which is listed as a historic site, was built in 1909 to accommodate a parish that kept outgrowing previous buildings.
According to parishioner Judy Kimmes, the very first building that was utilized was a log house built in 1856 near the old blacksmiths shop, which still stands today at the corner of Hogan Street and 240th Street East.
Parishioners who founded the church were primarily German immigrants who named the town New Trier after Trier, Germany. After they outgrew the original log building, they built a larger frame church 2-3 years later, but they soon quickly outgrew that one as well.
In 1864, a bigger stone church was built on roughly the same plot of land the current one stands on. The third building stayed there until the current Renaissance-style one was put there in its place.
In 2006, a sesquicentennial celebration was held for when the church first opened. Kimmes said that despite a little rain in the morning, the sun came out towards the middle of the day making it a beautiful way to mark the occasion.
According to a history compiled by Martin Siebenaler, it is the wish of the parish families that St. Mary's thrives for another 150 years.