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Methodist Episcopal Church, Dickinson, ND

February 8, 2018

People far outside our region [I’m writing this blog from the relative comfort of Fargo, North Dakota] may know that the state has undergone an energy revolution due to the oil deposits in the western portion. Called the Bakken Reserves, they have been exploited before, during the 1950s, but its extraction is often too expensive, so the market goes up and down and the communities in the area go boom and bust. The recent boom period may have peaked, but not before several businesses and institutions bought into the new prosperity. History has shown that the unimagined growth of places like Williston and Dickinson is likely to reverse itself, leaving these communities with new schools and no children. Sorry to be Mr Gloom but this has happened here before.

I was sure that Dickinson’s distinguished Methodist Episcopal church was still with us. The church website, however, proudly announces a construction program for the new facility on the edge of the city along a heavily traveled highway bound to be clogged with tanker trucks much of the time. In fact, their “Gallery” page shows the old cornerstone being lifted from a demolished brick wall. Surely, surely, he said optimistically, there could have been an adaptive use for the building in such a boomtown environment.

I guess not.

Just a block away you’ll find the Dickinson Public Library, the original building and multiple additions, also in the same local pressed brick. The architect in this case was W. S. Russell. Is this what we call stewardship?

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