OTTAWA — Dedication ceremonies for the new steeple of a small stone church are scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday in the village of Ottawa, between St. Peter and Le Sueur on County Road 23.
The replica of the historic church’s first steeple houses the structure’s original bell.
The Le Sueur County Historical Society and other non-profit Ottawa historians were aided by donations from the public during their project to attach a tower to the historic Methodist Church.
Restoration had to wait until the Le Sueur County Historical Society was able to find funds for repairs estimated at over $170,000. Public donations and grants from the Schmidt Foundation and Unimin help the historical society fund the project.
In 1859, native limestone quarried in the area was used for the building. At some point in its history, a new steeple with a pointed steeple replaced the original square tower with open sides, according to research by Hilda Parks, a retired Methodist minister who is also a local historian.
This steeple was demolished several years ago after it began to tilt, threatening the roof and structural stability.
Over the years, the stones of the church have been repointed, the roof has been replaced with steel beams along the wooden rafters and original cedar shingles, and the windows of the church have been repaired using the original glass.
Bill Stangler, shortly after becoming president of the historical society in 2019, said they plan to reopen the church for regular private and public events once the renovation is complete.
The building will be open to the public on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer. Volunteers from the Ottawa group will be on hand to assist church visitors, said Dean Pettis, vice president of the Le Sueur County Historical Society.
A community service is scheduled at the church on the Sunday following Labor Day, September 11.