160-year-old church burns down in Norwood Young America

160-year-old church burns down in Norwood

Norwood Young America, a small town of 3,723 people situated in the prairies just west of the Twin Cities, offers a quainter, more peaceful lifestyle, often centered around the 160-year-old United Methodist Church.

But, late Sunday (12/9/18) night, the town’s most visible, and comforting, landmark caught fire, disturbing the calm that usually defines the historic streets.

Norwood church on fire

The Norwood Methodist Episcopal Church, known fondly as the “Church In The Maples,” at 224 Hill Street in Norwood Young America, reportedly caught fire at 7:09pm on Sunday evening. NYA Fire Department and surrounding departments worked to extinguish the flames until around midnight, at which point fire officials gave the all clear.

No one was injured, but the church building was destroyed completely by the blaze. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

The present city of Norwood Young America was formed in 1997, when the cities of Norwood (platted in 1872) and Young America (platted in 1856) merged. Other historic centerpieces in the town include the former Young America City Hall building, now a live/work space, and the Winter Saloon which has been operating since 1890. Both of these buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, as was the church.

The town is also home to Minnesota’s oldest festival, Stiftungsfest, which highlights the German heritage of the town, held every year since 1861.

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