St. Mary's History Timeline


  • 1866 - The township of Melrose was established by settlers from the state of Maine.

  • 1872 - Twelve Irish Catholic families formed St. Patrick's parish, the first organized church in Melrose. They built a wooden building and were served first by Father Augustine and then by visiting priests.

  • 1878 - The area's 12-14 German Catholic families created their own Catholic parish named St. Boniface. There was apparent conflict between the two ethnic groups that settled in the area, so they chose to form their own congregations.

  • 1879 - The parishioners of St. Boniface built a church to seat 150, across the street from the present St. Mary's church. It was a 30X90 foot wood-frame structure that cost $3,000 to build. Their first pastor was Father Paul Rettenmeier, O.S.B.

  • 1881 - Melrose became an incorporated village.

  • 1882 - St. Boniface parish created a Catholic school combined with a convent. There were approximately 56 students in the new school.

  • 1889 - St. Boniface built its first rectory to the south of the old church.

  • 1892 - The school student population swelled to 200 in this rapidly growing area.

  • 1898 - Bishop Trobec dedicated the newly constructed St. Boniface Church. This is the present day St. Mary's building and was constructed at a cost of $50,000. It was completely paid for on the dedication day. The old church structure was converted to a school.

  • 1903 - Five bells were purchased in June from Stuckstede Foundry in St. Louis, Missouri.  On October 18, the bells were dedicated and a high mass performed by Bishop Trobec with visiting priest from New Munich, Meire Grove, Spring Hill and St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

  • 1905 - The new organ built by B. Schaefer Pipe Organ Factory in Wisconsin was purchased for $4,000 and dedicated by Bishop James Trobec on February 19. The event's attendance filled the 1,100 available seats in St. Boniface Church.

  • 1907 - A new rectory was created in the Queen Anne architectural style. Cost of the rectory was $15,000.

  • 1910 - The St. Boniface school structure , along with the original rectory, was destroyed by fire on January 5th.

  • 1911 - A new twelve room school was built at a cost of $45,000 to accommodate 450 students from both St. Boniface and St. Patrick's parishes. Julius Otte was its janitor for a number of years.

  • 1916 - St. Patrick's replaced their original church structure with a cement block building faced with stucco. Classrooms were on the first floor. The second was an additional classroom (for high school) and meeting space. It was an auditorium with a stage. At a later date, Father Julig moved the alter to the east side of the basement area and reconfigured the worship space.

  • 1917 - St. Patrick's started a high school.

  • 1921 - St. Boniface parish also created a high school. Neither school remained open long.

  • 1923 - Great Northern Railroad Division moved from Melrose, forcing many Irish families to leave the community in order to retain work.

  • 1926 - St. Boniface Parish built a social hall known as the St. Boniface Recreation Center or "Dutch Hall" and was used for dances, an auditorium and a bowling alley. Melrose High School used it for plays, graduations and basketball games.

  • 1938 - St. Patrick's frame church was dismantled by Stephen Engelmeyer and the lumber was used to build a hall in St. Rosa. It's still standing and known as Linda B's.

  • 1953 - St. Boniface built a new convent to house the Sisters who staffed the St. Boniface School.

  • 1958 - The Bishop of the St. Cloud Diocese decided that St. Boniface and St. Patrick parishes would merge into a new parish named St. Mary's. At the time, St. Patrick's was outgrowing its church space and was hoping to build a new church.  Father Francis Julig became the pastor of the new St. Mary's Parish.

  • 1964 - Construction began on a new school building for 1-6 grade students. This was completed in 1965 and was named St. Mary's School.

  • The old St. Boniface School became the Melrose Public Elementary School.

  • 1970 - St. Patrick's Church building structure was demolished to make way for the Roseview Manor.

  • 1972 - A High Mass celebrated by Bishop George Speltz kicked off a 3-day celebration marking 100 years of the parish's existence in Melrose.

  • 1984 - The old St. Boniface School building was razed after the public school students moved to the addition to the junior high school building.

  • The convent east of the old school building is now called "Mary Hall" and is leased to various groups.

  • 1992 - A Kindergarten program was implemented at St. Mary's School.

  • 1993 - St. Mary's Church and rectory were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • 1997-1998 - St. Mary's steeples and roof were restored.

  • 1999 - Mary Hall was sold to the City of Melrose to become the Melrose Area Museum.

  • 2000 - The Church interior was painted.

  • 2001-2006 - The stained glass windows were reconstructed and restored.

  • 2001 - Lights were installed to illuminate the church's facade and the two steeples.

  • 2003 - Shrine of Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, installed in the Church. The statue came from Mexico and was transported to Melrose by Deacon Ricardo de la Garza, who with his wife, Reyes, coordinated Hispanic Ministry for St. Mary's parish.

  • 2003-2004 - The pipe  organ was cleaned and reformatted, improving the instrument's sound and appearance.  The redesign of the pipes exposed the stain glass rose window, which had been obstructed from view for the previous 32 years.

  • 2006 - A major steeple restoration project was completed.

  • 2011 - St. Mary's becomes part of a four-parish cluster, with the parishes in Meire Grove, Greenwald, and Spring Hill.

  • 2016 - Fire destroys the west end of the church and severely damages the interior in March.

Church of St. Mary Parish Office
755 Kraft Drive SE, Melrose, MN 56352  |  Phone: (320) 256-4207
Churches of St. Andrew, St. John & St. Michael Parish Office
PO Box 136, 211 2nd Ave. N, Greenwald, MN 56335-0136  |  Phone: (320) 987-3205

© 2014-2021 by One In Faith. All Rights Reserved.

St. Mary's School  St. John's/St. Andrew's School  |  St. Cloud Diocese 


Last update: 4/15/2021