Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Priests who came from Mankato said the first Masses in this area in settlers’ homes from 1861-1866. By 1866, the population had grown enough that it became necessary to build a church. Immigrants of German and Irish descent, with their deep faith, worked together to build a church of hand-hewn logs. This church was named St. Mary’s, but was better known as the Wesner’s Grove Church. This church stood on the cemetery knoll where the Crucifixion Cross now stands.
With the coming of the railroad, Easton became the trading hub of the area. In 1885, a framed church was built in town and named Our Lady Of Mount Carmel. (St. Mary’s still remained at the Wesner’s Grove site and was used for special functions such as Memorial Day Masses, until the structure burned to the ground in 1926.) In 1886, the Parsonage was built on the southeast side of the church. Due to a fast growing population, the Easton church structure was expanded in 1904.
In 1901, St. Mary’s School was built south of the present Church, and in 1904 the first convent was built to the south of the new school.
In 1914, plans were made to build a new church. An elected building committee reviewed bids from multiple contractors but decided to reject the bids and supervised the building of the church themselves. One bell from the framed church, dated 1885, hangs in the bell tower with two new bells. The new Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church was consecrated on February 22nd, 1916, and at that time was the only consecrated church in the diocese. This also marked the 50th anniversary of the parish.
In 1950, Our Lady of Mount Carmel School was built and operated until 2001. The majority of years the school was staffed by the Franciscan Sisters from Rochester. In later years, lay teachers also staffed the school.
Preserving the beauty and style of the church has been a commitment of the parish. Major interior renovations were done in 1999-2000. From 2008-2009, the 133-foot south steeple was rebuilt. The foresight and dedication of our ancestors remains with us today as we celebrate the 150th year of our parish and 100th anniversary of the privilege to worship in this beautiful church.