Ever passed the soaring, stone grandeur of the Basilica of St. Mary and other historic downtown Minneapolis churches and wondered what they look like inside?
Now’s the chance for those curious about the city’s most beatific landmarks to get guided tours as part of a preservationist group’s “Church Week.”
Beginning next week, Preserve Minneapolis will offer tours of three popular and architecturally significant Minneapolis churches. Besides the basilica tour — which takes place Tuesday — there’s also Hennepin Avenue United Methodist on Sunday and Wesley United Methodist on Thursday.
Preserve Minneapolis gives dozens of guided walking and biking tours of notable neighborhoods throughout the city during summer months. This is the first time it’s offering tours of churches.
“This year we decided to add Church Week because we’ve gotten a lot of requests for tours of some of the big Minneapolis churches that a lot people know,” said Katy Epler, coordinator for the tours.
“We’ll look at them not only from an architectural and historic standpoint but also from a preservation standpoint. … These beautiful old buildings, what does it take to keep them running? What does it take to keep them in good shape? They’re big financial investments.”
Each of the three church tours will be given by architects who have worked with the churches in their preservation efforts. Each tour costs $8 per person; participants should preregister at preserveminneapolis.org.
A tour slated for Aug. 18 will explore North Side synagogues: “The North Side was a popular area for Jewish people in the early 20th century. … There are several beautiful synagogues.
“We really want people to see these beautiful buildings … to help want to preserve them for the future. Minneapolis has lost a fair amount of significant architecture over the years, so we don’t want that to happen. The more people you get interested … the better chance these buildings have of surviving.”