January 18, 1871: Duluth’s Pilgrim Congregational Church formally organized

The 1870 Pilgrim Congregation Church, which stood at Second Street and First Avenue East. (image: Duluth Public Library)

On this day in Duluth in 1871, with the formal installation of Reverend C. C. Salter, the Pilgrim Congregational was formally organized. A council of Congregational Church officials from Minneapolis and St. Paul, attended a brief formal ceremony (described as “solemn and interesting” by the Duluth Minnesotian) held at the Pendleton Block on Superior Street at First Avenue West. Reverend R. Hail of St. Paul provided a sermon for the new church’s 17 founding members, including civic leader Roger Munger. Minneapolis’s Reverend H. A. Stinson gave a welcoming address. Salter, of New Haven, Connecticut, had served as the pastor of Minneapolis’s Plymouth Congregational Church since 1862 after serving time as a chaplain with the Union Army. Salter served as minister until 1876, when poor health sent him abroad for a cure. After a stint with a congregational church in Denver, Salter returned to Duluth and Pilgrim Congregational on May 1, 1881, and was “greeted with a perfect ovation.” He was not here long, resigning on November 28, 1881, “under the imperative orders of his physician,” who sent him to Florida for his health. When he recovered and returned to Duluth, his work eventually turned to running the Duluth Bethel Society. You can read more about the Pilgrim Congregational Church here, and Reverend Salter and the Duluth Bethel here.

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