Jehovah Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN

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I was lucky enough to visit this church on a trip the Twin Cities early in 2015 and it was a revelation. Designed in 1963, both the interior and exterior are filled with striking details. Unfortunately the area around the church has changed significantly since construction and the congregation has dwindled to a small fraction of its original size, making the future of the building not reassuring.

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Harold Spitznagel was the architect here. While Spitznagel had a prolific career in South Dakota, spanning more than 50 years, he remains relatively unknown outside that state. The exterior of Jehovah Lutheran is clad in graphic masonry blocks and is otherwise restrained except for the red and white crosses fronting the entrance and the thin stripes of color above the entrance doors.

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The interior has more touches of color throughout including a vivid blue ceiling and blue glass in the sanctuary and colored glass in oranges and browns in the lobby.

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According to Spitnagel’s successor firm’s website, noted liturgical artist Palmer Eide was commissioned for numerous items in Jehovah Lutheran, including a Christ sculpture and baptismal sculpture, as well as elements of the chapel (pictured below).

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