Woodland Park Baptist Church Then and Now
I was walking down Victoria, minding my own business and whistling Herbert Howells’ Requiem when I looked up and spotted a crow perched atop the old Park Baptist Church. Seems like there’s always a crow up there. I pretended I didn’t notice because I think its pretty close to that time of year when everybody knows that a crow is not a crow. I thought the place was abandoned when I first moved into the neighborhood. Then I ran into the pastor and a few of his flock when I was looking for a place to park on a snowy Sunday morning. The church became a home for Unity Baptist and a chemical dependency program called Rays of Hope Unlimited some years ago. I haven’t asked anybody about those crows. I think they may have come over from Minneapolis. The building is also home to a very old Steere & Turner tracker organ that began life at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church in downtown St. Paul. When that congregation merged and moved to its current location on Summit Avenue in 1914, the instrument was electrified by Wicks Organ Company and given to Woodland Park Baptist. The organ had to be scaled down to fit in the smaller church. A little more than half of the pipework remains, but the instruments three 16′stops provide a rich, warm, foundation for the rest of the organ. Crows love it!