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Knox Presbyterian Church, Saint Paul, MN

December 6, 2013

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This morning I finally got around to filing a big stack of additions to the postcard collection, about half of them intended for the “Social Gospel” project. Entering this anonymous un-postmarked card into the database—penciled on the back it simply says “Church St Paul, MN”—and ask for your help in its identification. While typing “Unidentified” I recollected driving south on Snelling ten or fifteen years ago and having my eye drawn to the left by a curious building: Knox Presbyterian Church. Once again, google comes to the rescue (evil giant that they are) and not only confirmed my suspicion, but also provided the name of its architects, Alban & Hausler.

Both Charles Hausler and William Alban had Chicago connections. Hausler worked for Louis Sullivan himself and Alban’s only published biographical sketch links him with “The Chicago Architecture School” (more likely the Art Institute, rather than Armour Institute). So the second string Prairie School allusions here are easily explained. Now, for this project, would I enjoy a visit to the interior (preferably not on Sunday, please; John Knox may be part of my genetic heritage, but I don’t need to hear my consignment to Hell one more time) to explore what must be a curious and unexpected organization of auditorium and religious education spaces.

Has anyone been to this building? It’s at 1536 West Minnehaha, just east of Snelling in the neighborhood of Hamline. And I suppose its merger with North Como Presbyterian puts the building in danger, unless some compatible use can be found.

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