Le Sueur County Historical Society sets sight on steeple Big project, little church

By: 
Lisa Ingebrand, Montgomery Messenger

Le Sueur County Historical Society hopes to crown 160-year-old stone church in Ottawa with a new, historically accurate steeple. Fundraising for the project has begun. (Photo courtesy of LCHS)

The restoration of a little historic church’s steeple will be Le Sueur County Historical Society’s first big project, since the group’s leadership changed in June.

The project, which carries an estimated price tag of $174,000, includes the building of a new, historically accurate steeple, the erection of that steeple, and the installation of a new roof on the 160-year-old Ottawa Stone Church, one of four historic properties owned by LCHS.

“There is no small project,” stated LCHS President Bill Stangler. “Our properties are in disrepair and need attention, which means we’re going to need the funds to make things happen. Thankfully, the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation sees the importance of what we are trying to do and have awarded us a matching grant for the Ottawa church project.”

According to Stangler, the foundation has agreed to pay $2 for every $1 LCHS raises for the steeple project, up to $120,000.

“We need to raise $60,000 by mid-December,” he stated.

To help make the fundraising goal, LCHS is holding a membership drive with the hope of increasing membership to 1,000. Currently, the society has about 230 members.

“We have this beautiful, well-maintained, 160-year old church. It’s history. From its hand-carved stones to its potbelly stove, it helps tell the history of this area,” Stangler stated. “This is history we should work to keep for, not only ourselves, but future generations.”

The Ottawa Stone Church was built in 1859, making it one of the three oldest German Methodist churches in Minnesota, but the history of the people who built the church predates the structure.

According to information provided by LCHS, the people in the area....

To see more on this story pick up the October 17, 2019 print editions. 

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