Skip to main content

Fire that destroyed historic central MN church was arson, sheriff says

There's a $5,000 reward after the 1893 church near Little Falls burned to the ground.

A church that stood over a tiny central Minnesota community for nearly 125 years burned to the ground early Friday and the local sheriff says it was a case of arson.

Morrison County Sheriff Shawn Larsen said in a statement that Darling Church was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at 3:30 a.m.

According to the Morrison County Record, a 25-person crew from the Randall Fire Department spent three hours fighting the blaze. The fire chief told the Record they had to shuttle in water from Randall, which is five miles away. The crew was able to keep the fire from spreading into the woods, but the 1893 building is a total loss.

Sheriff Larsen said investigators determined the fire was set. The Minnesota Arson Reward Project is offering $5,000 for information about who's responsible, the county's statement says.

There's not much in Darling Township, which is between Little Falls and Randall on Highway 10. The township supervisor tells the Star Tribune the abandoned church – unused since 1967 – was the only thing that alerted people they were in Darling Township.

Some history buffs regarded Darling Church as haunted.

A Morrison County Historical Society blog relates that in 1905 the body of a young woman, Annie Kintop, was found outside the church. She'd been beaten and strangled but her killer was never found.

Ghost hunters had visited the site and there are photos of it here and here.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-06-26 at 10.02.59 AM

North Dakota's only abortion clinic relocating to Minnesota

A GoFundMe set up to help the clinic make the move to Minnesota has surpassed its $500,000 goal.

Screen Shot 2022-06-26 at 12.37.03 PM

Deadly vehicle fire on Interstate 94 west of Fargo

The victim's age and name have not been released.

flickr - gov tim walz - mn senate dfl

Overturning Roe v. Wade won't do a 'damn thing' to prevent abortions, Walz says

Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Saturday meant to protect abortion access in the state and people who come from out of state seeking one.


Man crossing Highway 13 in Burnsville fatally struck by driver

The victim is a 31-year-old man from Prior Lake.

Screen Shot 2022-06-26 at 7.50.33 AM

4 shot near Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis

The shooting happened around 11 p.m. Saturday.

Screen Shot 2022-06-25 at 7.55.28 PM

Charges: Cop feared for his life during struggle for gun with suspect

Allen Denzel Oliver-Hall has been charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

Burnsville, Minnesota - May 2019 (2)

Shootout near Erik's Bike Shop, Lunds & Byerlys in Burnsville

Police say youths were shooting at each other on Saturday afternoon.

minnesota river

Fishermen find body floating in Minnesota River in Shakopee

The body was found upstream from Minnesota River Heritage Park.


Fire that destroyed under-construction city hall was arson; reward offered

Critics of Lakeland's new city hall argued the half-finished building was unnecessary

A year after the fire at a historic ballfield, Waseca renews its arson investigation

There's a $10,000 reward for information about who set fire to Tink Larson Field.

Sheriff offers $5k reward to catch person burning Andover playgrounds

Arson has caused over $50k in damages at parks in Andover. There's a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

fire, firefighter

Arson suspected in fire at the 'Million Dollar Bridge' in east-central MN

The bridge is located east of Pine City in rural Pine County.

One of the legendary 'Bridges of Madison County,' Iowa, destroyed in fire

The most recognizable bridge of Madison County is gone.