The Basilica of St. Mary will take home $110,000 for church renovations after it topped other historical sites in the Twin Cities in a popular vote.

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced today that the church won, beating out 24 other sites including the American Swedish Institute and the Soap Factory in a Facebook poll as part of the Partners in Preservation program. If you voted for the other sites, don't fret. An additional $890,000 will be awarded on Nov. 9, to a number of other needy projects.

The sacristy

The sacristy

As the winner, the Basilica will get their full grant request which will be used to fix up the church's narthex (main public entrance) and the sacristy (where sacred vessels are kept and entrance used by priests, deacons, choir members etc.). Both rooms, which are pictured, need repair to their decorative ceilings and walls.The Basilica has had capital campaigns to help restore the church since the 1990s, said Michael VanDyke, the Basilica's grant coordinator.

"We're thrilled. We're absolutely thrilled," VanDyke said, about the funds.

Restoration will begin in February, she said. The Basilica of St. Mary was constructed in 1915 by French architect Emmanuel Masqueray. It is the first Catholic cathedral in America to be designated a “Basilica.” 

The narthex

The narthex

It was the first time that Partners in Preservation used Facebook for voting in its poll. Almost 28,000 people voted, uploaded photos and shared their support online. The vote tally wasn't available.

The other sites to be awarded will be determined by American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a committee made up of local civic and preservation leaders and Mayors R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis and Chris Coleman of St. Paul.





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