Reading Minnesota: Legacies of Faith w/WCCO interview
by Robert Roscoe and John Roscoe
Photography by Doug Ohman
Scores of remarkable brick Gothic and Romanesque style Catholic churches, perhaps the most significant religious architecture in rural Minnesota, are clustered within the rural core of Stearns County, seeming to be hidden in the wide open spaces of central Minnesota prairie. These remarkably designed churches form the basis of the recently published book Legacies of Faith – the Catholic Churches of Stearns County, written by John Roscoe and Robert Roscoe, and published by North Star Press of Saint Cloud. Renowned Minnesota photographer Doug Ohman’s 180 color images illustrate their magnificent interiors and richly ornamented details. Stearns County’s culturally distinct rural hamlets, many only five miles apart, are similar to their European counterparts. These iconic structures came into form by German and Polish immigrant farm communities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Legacies of Faith – the Catholic Churches of Stearns County brings to light the history of how these magnificent churches came into being from extraordinary circumstances of historical, social and ethnic forces, and why these communities created such great works of architecture.
Robert’s primary work is Design for Preservation, devoted to residential renovation, with an emphasis on historic preservation. His professional experience includes 36 years of architectural office experience. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and five years in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. His writing has been focused on architectural aspects of historic preservation-related issues. Robert served as editor of the Minnesota Preservationist, a publication of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota for 14 years.
John’s writing and historical research has developed from his educational career, teaching literature and writing for the Aitkin and Albany, Minnesota school districts. His education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from St. Cloud State University with a major in English as well as graduate studies at St. Cloud State and the University of Minnesota. The research involved in writing this book has led him to an even greater appreciation of the immigrant experience and how it produced the remarkable outcomes embodied in its churches.
Doug Ohman is an acclaimed photographer with extensive experience in photography, has produced images from every county in Minnesota, many which appear in a wide array of leading publications and exhibits of historic preservation. These photographs aptly express the architectural attributes of the buildings while revealing the regional characteristics of their setting.
“A sumptuous visual sampling of awe-inspiring churches, many well over 100 years old.”- Dennis Dalman, Sartell Newsleader
“Brothers John and Robert Roscoe have combined John’s familiarity with Stearns County and Robert’s expertise in architecture with photographer Doug Ohman’s professionalism to create an intriguing and lovely book.” — Sue Halena, St. Cloud Times
“Beautifully put together….it should sell like hotcakes.” — Dave Wood, Pierce County (WI) Herald
We appeared on a segment of Life to the Max hosted by Mike Max of WCCO Television. Watching this episode will give the viewer a visual sampling of the churches we wrote about in Legacies of Faith.
We were interviewed by morning host Bob Hughes on WJON Radio in St. Cloud.
North Star Press of St. Cloud