Donations given to replace items lost in fire

By Elizabeth Sias

As a result of the fire that destroyed the Isanti County Historical Society Heritage Center on July 8, St. John’s German Lutheran Church in Bradford lost several historic artifacts.

Steve Potter, Pat Engbring, Jerry Engbring, Sharon Sheppard and Jim Hove stand in front of the items donated to the Historic St. John’s Lutheran Church of Bradford. Photos by Elizabeth Sias

Some of those were an antique chandelier and lamp manufactured by the Coleman company.

Friends of Historic St. John’s posted on the Coleman Collectors Forum website about replacing the lamps and received offers for donations.

On the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 19, representatives from the International Coleman Collectors Club, from Madison, Wis., were on hand at the historic church to donate new items to the church.

The Bowling Proprietors of Minnesota, with local Junction Bowling Alley Owner Mike Warring, was also there to present a check to help with the restoration efforts of the church and the ICHS; $3,000 was given to the ICHS and $2,000 was given St. John’s.

Steve Potter and Jerry Engbring of the International Coleman Collectors Club, from Madison, Wis., ignite the chandelier and lamp donated to Historic St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Coleman collector Jerry Engbring and Steve Potter, regional contacts for the International Coleman Collectors Club, compared the new 1916 chandelier and lamp with those destroyed in the fire, which are now black with soot.

Engling’s and Potter’s reflections could be seen in the metal as they pumped air into the pressure lamps and ignited them.

Finally, the chandelier and lamp were lifted into the air on a rope pulley system to hang in the church.

For more information on St. John’s, visit You can also find the church on Facebook by searching for “Historic St. John’s German Lutheran Church of Bradford, MN.”

About the historic church

Built in 1882, Historic St. John’s (German) Lutheran Church is located on the south side of County Rd 5 (NW) in Bradford Township.

Historic St. John’s Lutheran Church of Bradford

Historic St. John’s is representative of the many rural churches scattered across Isanti County which served the function of binding together the small ethnic communities comprising the county’s rural population.

The church is primarily significant for its association with the German immigrant population of Isanti County. It is also significant as one of the few remaining examples of the small churches that the county’s rural population throughout the county’s history.

An upcoming event for St. John’s is Oktoberfest, where you can enjoy an authentic German meal. This year’s event will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, from 4 to 9:30 p.m. The Kevin and Melinda Ruprecht Band will perform, and there will be real German adult beverages. The event will be held outdoors under the big tent at the church.