View a 20 minute video celebrating Lake Harriet's 100th Anniversary
History of the Church Location and Building
Early in 1904, a few Methodist families began to meet in the cottages of the Linden Hills area and within a few years, work had begun on a building at 44th Street and Upton Avenue South. On September 9th, 1907, the Lake Harriet Methodist Episcopal Church was officially organized and by November 24th, 1907, 23 charter members gathered to dedicate the building. This building soon became too small and was sold to the English Lutheran Church. The building was moved over the course of one week to its current location at 49th Street and York Avenue.
On December 16th, 1916, the new Lake Harriet Methodist Church was completed at the 44th and Upton site and was dedicated the next day. This new building had large front pillars and a huge dome. Inside were many stained glass windows. During the 1930's a small "Upper Room" chapel was opened on the second floor of the Sunday school wing for meditation and prayer. However, when the population of Minneapolis increased and began to move toward the suburbs after World War II, Lake Harriet UMC began to outgrow the building.
Where it all began. Our third home.
In 1948, the congregation purchased a lot at 49th and Chowen Avenue South. Ground was broken on June 22, 1952 for a new building. The cornerstone was laid on January 4, 1953, and the main sanctuary was completed by September of 1953. Members were intrigued by the beauty and simplicity of this new building with a lofty, vaulted sanctuary roof, windows looking out to the community, and skylights to capture the rays of the sun and focus them onto the large metal cross over the dark altar table. The church continued to grow, and on September 30, 1962, a new reception room and two-story education wing were dedicated.
In 1968, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged and a new name was formed, The United Methodist Church. This changed Lake Harriet's name as well.
In 1987, a new entry with elevator was completed on the south side of the building. Then in July, following a flood, a major renovation of the lower levels was completed. This included painting and refurbishing the lower education rooms, plus all new kitchen appliances and electrical wiring in the Fellowship Hall area.
Between 1996 and 2000, the heating system was replaced with a more energy efficient system. Air conditioning was also added to the sanctuary, meeting rooms and offices. The kitchenette off the reception room was also remodeled.
Time to turn things around.
After two years of research, information gathering, building inspections, planning, a feasibility study, and much prayer, the Lake Harriet UMC membership voted to move ahead with a Capital Fund Appeal at our January, 2002 Church Conference. The James Company was hired to act as consultants throughout the appeal. The successful campaign was run in the spring of 2002, asking for 3-year pledges.
Remodeling plans were finished with final approval from the congregation in the fall of 2002 with construction of Phase I to begin at the start of 2003. This included facing the sanctuary in the opposite direction, new windows along the East side of the education wing and the North side of the central corridor, changing the old narthex into a handbell rehearsal room, reconfiguring rooms on the North side of the central corridor, new main floor restrooms, a Bride's Room, and a more open and welcoming commons gathering area. This work was completed by the fall of 2003.
The United Methodist Church is connectional, that is, we join with other United Methodists in our area (conference), state, nation, and world to reach out to people in need. The United Methodist Church is a church that encourages and welcomes diversity, conversation, discussion, and differences of opinion, as we journey together as a community of faith centered in Jesus Christ. We hope you will come again and make Lake Harriet United Methodist your church home. We believe everyone is a child of God and is loved by God equally. We are called to love our neighbors.
Everyone is our neighbor and everyone includes you.