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

Rep. Tou Xiong

State lawmaker Tou Xiong apologizes after driving under the influence

The state representative was pulled over on the night of Jan. 8.

St Lukes Duluth GSV Pro

Duluth hospital requiring visitors to show vax proof, neg. test

The health care system is also tightening visitor guidelines.

ridgeview urgent care facebook

Ridgeview halting urgent care at a Twin Cities site 'until further notice'

The organization cited "growing emergency medical needs" at the facility.

polley freeborn county jail roster jan 2022 resize

Charges: MN high school counselor sexually assaulted student

The 16-year-old victim had regularly gone to him for academic help and other support, authorities say.

Proctor football

Proctor investigation: Senior charged with sexually assaulting teammate

The criminal charges come after a monthslong review of the allegations.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 9.07.41 PM

Ordway will require vaccinated audience members also be boosted

If someone has not gotten a booster shot, they will have to show a negative COVID test.

Gophers basketball, Williams Arena, Gopher fans

U of M to require vaccine or negative test proof for large events

The policy doesn't go into effect until late-January.

Lauri Anne Deatherage

Man indicted for first-degree murder in ex-wife's death

He's accused of killing her days after she remarried.

Jackknifed semi I-94 Sauk Centre Jesse Grabow

Crashes, spinouts piling up as snow blankets southern MN

Snow is expected to continue throughout the day.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 14

More than 11,000 cases for a second day in a row.

Related

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.