This is the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Caribou, in northwestern Minnesota just a little more than a mile from the Canadian border.
Many of the parishioners at this church lived in Canada and crossed the border regularly without too much trouble, but US Customs began enforcing boundary laws in the thirties, and this church soon waned.
When I arrived, I was blown away by the simple beauty of the site. The remote location, the huge white crosses in the cemetery… this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve photographed.
This church was built in 1905 during a church boom that happened in this area (on both sides of the border) due to Ukrainian immigrants who were settling in the area. There are more on the other side of the border, including this one in Tolstoi, Manitoba, and the oldest Ukrainian Orthodox Church In Canada, in neighboring Gardenton, Manitoba.
St. Nicholas was renovated in 1974, and they held a Divine Liturgy, the first in 30 years, in 1975.
Don’t let the remote location fool you. This church is still well cared for. Somebody appeared to be stripping the paint with a wire brush and scraper. Nobody was around, but these tools were still sitting on the picnic table, like the caretaker just walked away a few minutes earlier. The church has received a whole new coat of paint since the day I visited.
This church was featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.
An open foundation is also on-site, as well as a few inhabited homes in the area.
For more reading on the Caribou church and other churches like these, I would recommend you check out Sacred Sites of Minnesota by John-Brian Paprock and Teresa Peneguy Paprock.
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Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC