May 21, 2007

95-year-old furnace system in Crow River Church replaced

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

After taking the chill out of parishioners’ toes, and making them feel warm and cozy for 95 years, the heating system in North Crow River Lutheran Church was finally replaced.

The 137-year old congregation, who worship in the brick church of Knapp, north of Cokato, bought a new hot water heating system in March for the sanctuary. Since mid-December, the sanctuary had no heat. The congregation held services in the church basement, which has a separate system, according to the Rev. Mike Nelson.

The system installed in 1911 was unique. The heat was radiated from pipes under the pews. Parishioners could warm their feet by putting them under or directly on the pipes under the pew in front of them, Nelson pointed out.

The old system was a Waterbury steam boiler, said Arne Raisanen of Arne’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing of Kingston. He took out the old, and installed the new.

The new system installed in March is a Weil McLain, a hot water boiler, and radiates heat from pipes along the walls of the sanctuary. The unit in the basement is a fraction of the size of the original furnace, Nelson said.

Although the brick church building was built long ago, the roots of the North Crow River congregation go even further back.

A congregation had been established in Cokato in 1870. However, the settlers in the Knapp area felt Cokato was too far away.

On March 19, 1870, at the home of John Sundin, two miles northwest of the current church at 45 Quinnell Ave. SW, Cokato, a group of Swedish Lutherans organized a new congregation. They called themselves the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church at Crow River, Wright County.

The first church building was built out of logs on 40 acres of land secured from Pacific Railroad Company. It was constructed on a knoll about 300 feet west of the current brick church.

In 1881, the original church was sold and a new frame building was constructed. The original brick building was started in 1902, and finished in 1903. It was 50-feet by 36-feet, and 16 feet high.

A narthex was added to the brick church in 1955 so there would be more room for coat racks and Sunday school rooms, giving the church the look it has today.

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