Hallowed ground to musicians around Minnesota, Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth was struck by an out-of-control pickup truck on Thursday, causing a large brick corner of the former church to crumble.
The recording studio, music education facility and wedding and concert space — which has hosted album sessions by Low, Trampled by Turtles, Charlie Parr and Dark Dark Dark, to name a few — sustained damage in a two-story northeast wing where music lessons are given. The recording space and the main church and concert areas were spared. However, repair costs were estimated at $50,000, a large sum for a nonprofit arts center even with insurance. Some musical instruments were also irreparably damaged.
According to the Duluth News Tribune, the driver’s brakes went out, and he swerved into the building to avoid oncoming traffic. Sacred Heart sits up the hill from downtown Duluth at 201 W. 4th St.
The driver suffered minor injuries and no one else was hurt. The brunt of the crash mostly went to the building, which dates to 1896.
“Our hope is to have it put back together in about six to eight weeks,” said Arno Kahn, vice president of the Sacred Heart Music Center board, who also happens to be a construction contractor. Some of the stained-glass windows smashed in the accident will take longer to replace, though, and could prove difficult to replicate, Kahn added.
“It’s a lot for a nonprofit like ours to deal with, but we’re going to proceed with the repairs assuming we’ll get the money for it one way or another.”
Thursday’s crash wasn’t the only bad news to befall Sacred Heart this year: The studio’s longtime director and all-around guru, producer-engineer Eric Swanson, suffered a stroke in May. Thursday was Swanson’s first day back at work at the facility.