February 14, 1909: Dedication of Glen Avon Presbyterian Church

On this day in Duluth in 1909, church officials dedicated the brand new Glen Avon Presbyterian Church at 2105 Woodland Avenue. Local Presbyterian clergyman helped Glen Avon’s Rev. J. C. Faries with the proceedings. Faries gave the sermon, Rev. M. S. Rise the invocation, Rev. J. S. Kirtley the response, and Rev. Campbell Coyle the dedication prayer. The original Glen Avon Presbyterian, a Gothic-style church, was built by A. R. McFarlane in 1893 across the street from the new church. It was part of the new and heavily Presbyterian (and Scottish) development of Hunters Park, and many of its new residents didn’t like the commute downtown to First Presbyterian Church once they moved to the “streetcar suburb” of Hunters Park. A farewell service was held at the old church earlier the same day as the dedication, and soon thereafter the building was moved to Gilbert, Minnesota, to serve as that community’s Presbyterian Church—after two Tiffany windows were removed and installed in the new building (the original church’s bell was also moved to the new church). According to Hunters Park historian Heidi Bakk-Hansen, the 1909 church, was faced with bluestone quarried from nearby Hunter’s Hill, then described as “blue trap stone with trimmings of [Lake Superior] brown stone and…plate glass windows and chandeliers of the latest kind.” Its stained-glass windows were designed by Duluth’s Ann Weston, who worked for Tiffany. Newspapers mentioned the building’s auditorium could hold 350 people, and 200 more could fit in the Sunday School room, which led to six class rooms and a library. The church, designed by German & Lignell and built by contractor William Berg, cost $46,000 and was financed with a $12,000 mortgage. According to the church’s website, “the mortgage on the church was burned at the congregational meeting in 1923.” Learn more about Hunters Park here.

Glen Avon Presbyterian Church stands at the center of Hunters park. (Image: Hiedi Bakk-Hansen)

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