Over the past 108 years, The Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church (aka Minnekirken) has been sitting proudly on Logan Square. The physical structure of 'The Red Church' has also been exposed to the Chicago elements, and it is now in need of restoration.
Visual assessments by local architects and engineers led to the hiring of several restoration professionals in the fall of 2019 to closely and thoroughly examine the structure. The façade of the church was stabilized with masonry repairs, and it was determined that further structural maintenance and restoration is imperative to ensure the long-term stability of the church.
This restoration project comes at a critical time, when the Logan Square traffic pattern in front of the church is planned to be redirected, and there is addtional work upcoming at nearby CTA properties. With heavy, earth-moving machinery expected to operate not far from the church's doorstep, there is an increased sense of urgency to further stabilize the physical structure of Minnekirken.
Estimate and Scope of Work
The preliminary estimate to restore Minnekirken’s street-facing facade and all sides of the main tower is $527,000. The scope of work for this estimate includes:
• Rebuilding of displaced masonry piers and ornamental masonry.
• Historic repointing of the entire facade using lime based mortar to best match the original mortar.
• Removing limestone masonry units and reinstalling with stainless steel cramps and anchors. Brick that is removed for repair will be salvaged and reinstalled if possible.
• Repairing or rebuilding the deteriorated masonry parapets on either side of the tower.
• Repairing the decorative sheet metal and copper copings and roof flashing.
In anticipation of this major expense, Minnekirken applied for a City of Chicago Adopt-A-Landmark Grant, and the church has been conditionally awarded $250,000 (contingent upon final review by the respective Chicago agencies). We are seeking support from our members, our community, and our friends all over the US, Norway, and Canada to fund the remaining repairs of $277,000. Please know that 100% of the money received from this campaign will go towards the facade/tower restoration project.
For the Next Century
Over the years, Minnekirken has become beloved by many who have passed either through or by our doors. Whether you grew up with the church, attend our annual Taste of Norway cookie sale, or simply enjoy seeing ‘The Red Church’ on the square, we hope you will consider making a contribution to this campaign.
In 1912, Pastor Meyer is quoted in the church‘s inauguration booklet:
It has been seven hard years of hard work and difficulty. The task and work to build this expensive church, with our small and poor conditions, along with trying to gather people for worship has given us more than enough with which to contend. And at times it seemed that our courage and strength would completely fail, but then our belief in and love for the work was a persisting factor.
In this same spirit, we seek to restore Minnekirken 'For the Next Century, For det Neste Århundre'. Please join us.