September 25, 1872: Pilgrim Congregation Church bell rings for the first time

On this day in Duluth in 1872, the bell of the Pilgrim Congregational Church rang for the first time. The church was established in Duluth in 1871, after Reverend C. C. Salter was recruited to be its first minister. Pilgrim Congregational was often referred to as Jay Cooke’s Church, as the Philadelphia financier contributed $1,000 toward its $2,800 construction cost.  “Friends in Boston” contributed an organ, and Reverend Salter’s brother in law, Dr. Charles Ives, pitched in $500 to purchase the land for the church, $100 for a chandelier, and $365 for the bell, which weighed twelve hundred pounds. The church was dedicated on July 16, 1871, and Duluth’s Congregationalists used the building for seventeen years before replacing it in 1888 with a new building at 2 East Second Street. A year later, the original bell was donated to Plymouth Church in West Duluth. The 1888 church was demolished in 1915, an in 1917 the church reopened in a brand new building at 2310 East Fourth Street. That church still serves Duluth’s Congregationalists today.

Duluth’s 1871 Pilgrim Congregational Church, aka “Jay Cooke’s Church.” (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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