Adas Israel Congregation was founded in 1885. Members met in a house on St. Croix Avenue in what is now the Canal Park area of Duluth. It incorporated in 1899. The families that formed the congregation were Lithuanian immigrants.
Known for being the oldest Conservative congregation west of Chicago, Adath Jeshurun has been a mainstay of the Twin Cities Jewish community for well over a century. Though rooted in South Minneapolis, the congregation moved to Minnetonka in 1995 to accommodate its growing membership.
Elizabeth Taylor Ayer's life spanned nearly the entire nineteenth century. In an era when women rarely had professional careers, her work as a teaching missionary gave her more status and independence than most women enjoyed.
B'nai Abraham Congregation grew out of the Romanian Jewish community that developed in South Minneapolis in the 1880s. The congregation prospered until the neighborhood's Jewish population shrank after World War II. A move to St. Louis Park in the early 1950s rejuvenated membership, and B'nai Abraham merged with Mikro-Tifereth in 1972, creating a new congregation: B'nai Emet.
Dedicated in 1909, the red brick synagogue of Virginia's B'nai Abraham congregation was called the most beautiful religious building on the Iron Range. In the early twentieth century, the synagogue was the heart of Virginia's Jewish community. A declining congregation forced the synagogue to close its doors in the mid-1990s. However, community support and renovations have made B'nai Abraham a center of Virginia's cultural life once again.
The product of multiple mergers between some of the Minneapolis area's oldest congregations, B'nai Emet Synagogue held worship services at its St. Louis Park location from 1972 until 2011. The synagogue enjoyed a moment in the spotlight as a shooting location for a 2009 Coen Brothers film before joining with Minnetonka's Adath Jeshurun Congregation in 2011.
The Basilica of Saint Mary was first known as the Pro-Cathedral of Minneapolis. It cost one million dollars to build and held its first Mass in 1914. In 1926, the Catholic Church made it the first basilica in the United States.
Founded in 1922, Beth El was the last synagogue to be formed on the North Side of Minneapolis. It was the only one to affiliate with Judaism's Conservative movement. In the 1960s, Beth El, like other North Side synagogues (all of them Orthodox), moved to St. Louis Park.
Beth Jacob Congregation is a Conservative synagogue located in Mendota Heights. It was formed in 1985 when Sons of Jacob, St. Paul's second-oldest synagogue, merged with a group of young worshipers who came together in 1984.
Small Jewish communities arose at the turn of the twentieth century in several southern Minnesota market towns. In each, Jews gathered for religious purposes. But it was only in Rochester that a formal synagogue, B’nai Israel, was established. The founding of Mayo Clinic in 1905 created a need for a local congregation that could serve Jewish patients. After almost a century of holding worship services in former residences, B’nai Israel built its first synagogue building in 2008.
There have been four Roman Catholic cathedrals in St. Paul. The first three were built between 1841 and 1858. The fourth, and the most architecturally distinctive, opened in 1915. Since then, no building in the Twin Cities has approached it in ambition or magnificence.
Crown College of Minnesota is unique in being the only bible college in Minnesota. The mission of this type of college is to provide a biblically based education for Christian leadership. Teaching is focused on training lay people for Christian service. Crown is one of only four colleges in the United States affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.
Part of a Danish settlement near Tyler, the Danebod church and folk school have been a center of Danish-American life for over a century. Danebod is a Danish word meaning "one who mends or saves the Danes." The Danebod community is home to programs that preserve, teach, and celebrate Danish-American culture on the Minnesota prairie.
Father Louis Hennepin, a Recollect friar, is best known as an early explorer of Minnesota. He gained fame in the seventeenth century with the publication of his dramatic stories of the exploration of the Mississippi River. Father Hennepin spent only a few months in Minnesota, but his influence is undeniable. While his widely read travel accounts were more fiction than fact, they allowed Hennepin to leave a lasting mark on the state.
Frank Higgins, the original lumberjack sky pilot, ministered to the souls of lumberjacks across northern Minnesota and the United States. For decades he traveled among the frozen logging camps of Minnesota with his trademark pack of Bibles, hymnals, and Christian literature strapped to his back.
The Hmong New Year in St. Paul is a unique annual event encapsulated into a weekend celebration held at the end of November. Since 1977, Hmong people have gathered in the city to meet, eat, celebrate the harvest, and enjoy cultural performances. Though the event is rooted in the agricultural history of the Hmong people and their religious traditions, it has found a new expression in St. Paul—the home of one of the largest communities of Hmong outside Southeast Asia.
Born in County Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1838, John Ireland came to St. Paul with his parents in 1852. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1861, and by the time he was appointed archbishop of St. Paul in 1888, he was one of the city's most prominent citizens.
In 1930, the Jewish Community Center of St. Paul (JCC)—originally called the Jewish Education Center (JEC)—began the work it continues in the twenty-first century: providing for the educational, social, cultural, and recreational lives of Jewish youth and St. Paul families.
A marked rise in public anti-Semitism in the 1930s spurred a group of Jewish leaders in the Twin Cities and Duluth to form the Anti-Defamation Council of Minnesota in 1938. In the 1950s the focus of the council shifted from defensive actions to teaching campaigns. These efforts aimed to fight ignorance and improve social relations. The renamed Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas continues this mission in the twenty-first century.
In the late nineteenth century, some of the Jewish immigrants who had originally settled in the Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior saw economic opportunity in the nearby Iron Range of northern Minnesota. From the 1890s through the 1920s they founded retail and service businesses in the region's booming mining towns. Though small in numbers and relatively isolated, Iron Range Jews supported a vibrant communal life through the 1980s, when hard times on the Range led to a general depopulation.
Women members of Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul founded Neighborhood House in 1897 to assist poor Russian Jewish immigrants. For its first sixty-five years, the settlement house operated in the West Side “Flats”—the neighborhood near the Mississippi River across from downtown where the immigrants first settled.
Orthodox Jews founded the Jewish Sheltering Home for Children in North Minneapolis in 1918. Their concern was Jewish children who were cared for in non-Jewish foster homes. The founders felt that such children would become estranged from their religion and culture. The Sheltering Home functioned as a Jewish institution through the early 1960s.