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Methodist Episcopal Church, Wahpeton, ND

May 26, 2015

NDwahpetonME

A-A churches in North Dakota are rare. So I’m glad to be reminded of a church that stood until perhaps twenty-five years ago, when it came down for a drive in bank in Wahpeton. First Methodist Episcopal was built in 1920 by an architect whose name escapes me at the moment—was it William E. Mohler?—except that I do recall he got in trouble when the 1917 architectural registration law was passed and he failed to be grandfathered into the first crop of professionals. About the time this church was built, the “real” architects of the state had had enough and sued him for violation of the registration requirement.

Many years ago some may recall that there was a branch of the Rourke Gallery in Wahpeton. The Vertin family had become interested in sponsoring a branch and they rented First Methodist for its large open interior volume. I was in it once or twice—the gallery didn’t survive very long—and have some recollection of the wall that once opened into the Sunday School. All things considered, the loss of this building for a drive-up bank was a genuine tragedy.

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