Who Wants a Free Church?

Who Wants a Free Church?

I became aware of this church this morning when someone posted a photo of a newspaper ad which read, “For Give Away: A Rural Church near Moorhead, MN. Must be moved.”

I called the number in the ad and talked to a gentleman named Alvin Swanson who gave me directions, and fifteen minutes later I was standing in front of this place — Oak Mound Congregational Church, just a few miles from Kragnes, Minnesota, a tiny town near the Red River, on the border with North Dakota.

Oakmound Congregational Church

Oak Mound once had a school, an impressive one, right down the road from this church, but it is long gone.  Only the sign remains.

Oakmound Congregational Church

I asked Mr. Swanson for some background on why they’re trying to give this church away, and he replied in a somewhat melancholy manner that they had their last services here about two years ago and the church has since been flooded.  It can’t stay here.

Oakmound Congregational Church

Mr. Swanson said he’s a former member of the congregation and that most of the former church members would like to see this church moved and reused as a church again, but interest in the place has not been strong, which, in my opinion, is due to an extensive series of renovations which have masked the charm of the original church.

Oakmound Congregational Church

This church started out as a small church on the prairie, but it was moved to this spot after two years.  The church you see here came into existence in three stages — the original church was moved here, then a basement and an addition were added later.

Oakmound Congregational Church

Oakmound Congregational Church

In my non-expert opinion, this church could still be moved and repurposed but it would be best used if restored to its original form, with the additions simply scrapped. It could be beautiful again.

Oakmound Congregational Church

Oakmound Congregational Church

The coat room.

Oakmound Congregational Church

There are a series of photos on display inside the church which illustrate the history of this place quite nicely.

Oakmound Congregational Church

Mr. Swanson gave me permission to give his phone number out, but I would personally request that you only call it if you’re serious, because he’s an elderly gentleman and we don’t want to blow up his phone too much for no reason.  He also said they are still determining what to do with all the pews and fixtures.  Interested parties can leave their number and he will get back to them when they decide what to do with it all.  Alvin Swanson: 218-233-4226

Oakmound Congregational Church

The basement was covered with black mold everywhere… on the floor, the ceiling tiles, the walls.

Oakmound Congregational Church

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

11 thoughts on “Who Wants a Free Church?

  1. Thanks for the good article, I’m the church’s former historian, so I can also send older pictures of how the church originally looked. Let me know. Also, the church’s name is spelled “Oak Mound”, not Oakmound.

  2. I would love to have this church, i may be poor now but that would give me somewhere to live and i would rebuild everything that needed redone, id reopen it for the public and make a massive garden in the back for the community, if you are really giving this church away i am defiantly someone who would gladly take it, would be an amazing life experience to restore this place and make it something people enjoy going to

  3. Sadly the biggest cost will be picking this building up and moving it, and then making a new foundation for it to sit on. Because it was made in sections the measurements would need to be done not only as a foot print, but also for the height of each corner point. Setting a foundation at one level with these old structures can lead to windows breaking and doors not working. I hope someone can rescue it. I’ve torn down too many beautiful buildings because they were neglected for too long.

  4. Just came across this here church. Very intersted in having a look in person. Would take it dpwn if it is still there. Would like directions if possible. Thanks

  5. Tony, is that church still sitting there? We are building a chapel and could use things if they are dismantling. Thoughts?

    Blessings,
    Dianne

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