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South Dakota historic church needs roof repair

GROTON -- A historic church in northern South Dakota is seeking help for a roof replacement project in order to preserve its more than a century-old structure.

GROTON - A historic church in northern South Dakota is seeking help for a roof replacement project in order to preserve its more than a century-old structure.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Groton is the last remaining of the 153 churches built off architect Richard Upjohn's designs across the state, the Aberdeen American News reported. Upjohn provided free plans to build small rural churches with local materials.

According to the National Register of Historic Places, the Groton church was built in 1884. The building's roof was last repaired before 1975.

"To me preserving this Trinity church is important in that it is the last one of 153," said Topper Tastad, president of the Groton Community Historical Society. "One hundred and fifty three churches like that and this is the only one left. And this one's in incredibly good shape for being as old as it is."

Tastad said the historical society has applied for a Deadwood Fund Grant to fix the roof's shingles and holes that leak water. The grants are used for historic preservation and funded by gambling proceeds.

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Tastad said the group also needs $25,000 or in-kind labor donations to complete the project.

The structure was first built by an Episcopal congregation. It later served several other denominations and as a gathering space for early Groton residents.

Talstad said the building still holds a historical purpose, despite being deconsecrated by the church.

"It's not optional that we fix this," he said. "It's just got to be done."

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