Pilgrim Congregational Church (1888)

The 1888 Pilgrim Congregational Church. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

2 East 2nd Street | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1888| Lost: 1915

Reverend Charles C. Salter came to Duluth from Minneapolis to serve as minister of Duluth’s Pilgrim Congregational Church, which had been established by Duluth pioneers, including George Spencer and Roger Munger, on January 18, 1871. A wood-frame church was built on the corner of Second Street and First Avenue East that same year and served until 1888 when this Gothic structure was built at Lake Avenue and Second Street at a cost of $55,828 (about $1.3 million in today’s dollars). The sandstone church — its body was gray and its trim pink — could seat 750 parishioners on the main floor and 250 more in the balcony. The church (right, ca. 1891) featured a tall corner tower, a large rose window on the Second Street façade, and many Gothic-style windows. By 1914 most of its wealthy congregation had moved farther east in the city. In 1916 the church’s  building committee purchased lots at 2310 East Fourth Street where they built a new church designed by Frederick German and Leif Jennsen. The 1888 church was demolished in 1915 and some of its slate and stone was used in the new church. Ward Ames and Julius Barnes, who financed the city’s early Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. buildings, built the Ames-Barnes Building on the site of the 1888 church. That building was used as the Boys Department of the YMCA; today it is home to Minnesota Teen Challenge, which helps young adults struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.