The Edina Historical Society and the Heritage Preservation Board sponsored free tours of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Minnehaha Grange Hall and Cahill School on Tuesday. Here is one highlight from the tour.
Founding members of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Edina clearly wanted to honor the past with the design of their new church building in 1938. The almost 75-year old building looks like it has always stood at the corner of Wooddale and 50th Street in part because it is based on a medieval church in Wales, Old Radnor Parish Church.
One would almost be surprised if Country Club residents hadn't built a church steeped in old Episcopal traditions. What did surprise (delight, intrigue) me was the inclusion of Edina history in the church.
Take a look at this section of one of the church's beautiful stained glass windows:
Yes, it depicts Minnehaha Grange No. 398, which originally stood at the St. Stephen's site. The 1879 building was moved after Samuel Thorpe purchased the land as part of his Country Club District development. Doesn't the stained glass image look remarkably close to the photo below of the building when it stood at 50th and Wooddale? [Please ignore the slightly distorted angle of the window. I am height challenged.]
I think it's interesting that relative newcomers to the community chose to honor its past in a medium traditionally reserved for the sacred not the secular.
The church, built during the Depression, was originally built with clear glass windows. As the congregation raised enough funds, they purchased stained glass windows, created by nationally acclaimed Connick studios in Boston, MA.
Thanks to parishioner Keith Freedy and Larry Reynolds, Minister of Worship, for their great information on the stained glass windows, and to architect Chuck Liddy of Miller Dunwiddie for leading the tour at the church.
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