An abbreviated history of the building on the corner of Dayton Avenue and Lexington Parkway
Cass Gilbert, who was the architect for the MN State Capital, designed a total of twelve churches. The one that now sits on the corner of Dayton and Lexington Parkway was built in 1886 and was originally located at Lincoln and Grotto (one block south of the old Irving Elementary School which became Apostolic Bible Institute on 745 Grand Ave. A high-rise apartment stands there now).
In 1915 the building was dismantled and moved, section by section and piece by piece, to Dayton and Lexington where it was reassembled with additions over a 12' basement. The upper east stained glass window, which replaced a small square one, was added at that time which came from the downtown Presbyterian church which had been torn down. What a job. It's so much easier to tear down a building for destruction than to pull it apart with rebuilding in mind. But in every good rebuild, a wooden building like this one will sag with age. Decades later this led to the need for the superstructure to be supported by the "I" beams and cables described in this history. Mr James, a former member and trustee of Lexington Ave Presbyterian and who attended in the 60s, kindly supplied us with an original "50th Anniversary History" booklet of their church which gave us much information."
Lexington Parkway Presbyterian Church, who had worshiped in this building and on this property since 1915, merged with Merriam Park Presbyterian and sold the building to New Hope Baptist Church in 1969.
In 1986 the superstructure was rebuilt when the church received permission from the city to use city property to expand the building east towards Lexington Parkway. But when the city came in to do the inspection, they condemned it unless major work was done as it was caving in on itself, the city inspectors said. The $75,000 loan New Hope Baptist had taken out needed to be used for rebuilding instead of their planned expansion. Four 24', 16x9" vertical "I" beams were installed, after being lowered through the roof, to the basement floor where huge concrete foundations were poured. They went up through the 12' basement and on to the beginning of the beautiful hand made dark wood ceiling, which is the most compelling part of our church building. 5/8" wire rope was installed under the floor, thus strengthening the walls and ceiling of our building. It was rewired with 400 amp service and eight tons of AC added.
The nursery used to be an almost useless room 4' wide and up 6 steps as the choir loft used to be at that level when the Presbyterians owned it. We had to rebuild the loft as we made it bigger for the baptistry. We had to use a chain saw to cut the platform as there was little room to cut in. That saw was also necessary to trim the doorway to the pastor's office to make room even for a small 24" door.
A person behind the pulpit must look 210 degrees to see the corners of the rounded pews! Only eight pews deep, it's easy to see everything, especially with the 18" slanted floor.
History of SPA
St.Paul Apostolic Tabernacle was born in April of 1990 as Twin Cities Apostolic Church and was the first Oneness Apostolic church within the city limits of either St. Paul or Minneapolis since 1965. We met for four months in St. Anthony Recreation Center close to 280 and I-94, centrally located between Minnesota's two largest cities. In September 1990 we moved to 1671 Summit Ave and shared the building with two other renting churches and the owners: St. Paul Area Council of Churches. When they decided to rebuild the old Mormon church building we needed to move yet again. We had been on Summit for six years and one week. Our third move was to Randolph Heights Presbyterian Church at 435 S. Hamline where we used the chapel for 25 months. This was the first building in over 6 years where we could semi-permanently set up our sound equipment (the Hammond organ with Leslie and our drums). Although it had no air condetioning, we were nonetheless grateful to have a place to worship! Our last rental building was Grace Community on Portland Ave which Pastor White opened up to us for three months until we made the move to our own building.
We had walked and driven the streets of St. Paul for nine years looking for a building. We seriously looked at several places that for one reason or another wouldn't work. We cried at the buildings that were sold and turned into homes or apartments. Many of these were priced at $70,000 just before we arrived in St. Paul. This figure was one we held onto hoping to find an existing building for a price close to that. One church burned down on the east side, another was way too big and would be very expensive to heat or cool. Two had no parking lots and no willingness by the businesses close by to lease parking for church services. Another one we looked at was the old Sveden House Restaurant on Snelling and Sherburne, which was sold for $185,000 including parking lot but a flat roof and a disastrous interior.
When we heard that New Hope Baptist was selling their building, it was like a dream come true. The only problem was that there was another group that was offering considerably more than we felt we were able to offer. We put forth an offer of $207,000, and the competing offer even though it was considerably higher, was refused, because after prayer, New Hope Baptist decided that ours was the offer they felt God wanted them to accept. We rejoiced for God's divine intervention! Since the building is located on the corner of Dayton and Lexington, it could technically have either a Dayton or a Lexington address, so we decided to change from a Dayton address to a Lexington Parkway address. As it turned out, the number chosen was "207"– which later we realized would be a memorial to God's providence as our purchase of the building was for $207,000!
We saved up $100,000.00 (invested in church bonds) in seven years (1992-1999) above tithes but including Pastor and Sister Barcus' tithes – except for the 50% that goes to the MN District UPCI. We ask the members for an offering of 5% above tithes – 2.5% for the building fund and 2.5% for missions and expenses. We used Exodus 30:13-15 and 38:26 (half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary) as a basis for this but reminded people that this is a suggested offering and not mandatory. In January 1999 we took out a loan for $115,000 from Liberty Bank (now Associated Bank, Liberty Office) at 7.75% for eight years. We paid $200 a month extra for five years ($12,000) and paid it off one whole year early, saving $8,256 in interest. The building was paid off on February 1, 2006 and a confirmation letter from the commercial bank manager was sent to us. We burned the mortgage during our 20th anniversary in 2010 with Bro Jerry Jones, the General Secretary of the UPCI.