St. Clement’s Then and Now
The Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota purchased three lots on Portland Avenue between Milton and Victoria Streets and ground was broken for St. Clement’s Memorial Church on November 5, 1894. The cornerstone was laid on April 17, 1895, and the building was consecrated on October 6, 1895. The church was built with a $25,000 gift from Mrs. Elizabeth Eaton, the widow of Rev. Theodore Eaton, rector of St. Clement’s Church in New York City. Bishop Mahlon Gilbert who wanted the new church as his “pro-cathedral” in St. Paul, hired Cass Gilbert to do the design. Gilbert had traveled in Europe for a year, and drew inspiration from his notebook sketches of English parish churches. J.P. Morgan attended the dedication of St. Clement’s and had lunch Gilbert at his home. He was impressed with the architects designs. Two years later when Gilbert was trying to win the Montana State Capitol project, he wired Morgan for assistance in influencing the ex-governor of Montana. St. Clements is constructed of Oneota limestone and trimmed with Indiana limestone. It features 21 Tiffany windows. In 1913 the vestibule facing Milton Street was added and the present parish hall, designed by Clarence Johnston, was finished. In 1920, the parish had 529 communicants and a Sunday School with 239 members.