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The Basilica of Saint Mary Reigns in Partners in Preservation Twin Cities Grant CompetitionThe Basilica of Saint Mary to Receive $110,000 Grant from American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation
MINNEAPOLIS-SAINT PAUL,  October 13, 2011 -- 

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation today announced the Partners in Preservation popular vote winner: the Basilica of Saint Mary. As the popular vote winner, the Basilica of Saint Mary will receive its full grant request of $110,000. This year marked the first time that Partners in Preservation voting occurred on Facebook, with people from the Twin Cities, and around the world, getting involved – including a Facebook community who voted, uploaded hundreds of photos and shared their support for their favorite historic places.

During the program, American Express and the National Trust encouraged the Twin Cities community to vote online daily for three weeks for their favorite historic place. Twenty-five historic sites competed for a part of $1 million in funding for important preservation projects. Beyond the grant announced today, the remainder of the $1 million in additional grants will be awarded on November 9th to a number of the other participating sites, based on recommendations from an advisory committee composed of civic and preservation leaders co-chaired by Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis and Mayor Chris Coleman of St. Paul, in collaboration with the American Express Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

"The Basilica of Saint Mary did an excellent job throughout the program of engaging its community members and drawing awareness to its cause," said Timothy J. McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation. "We were highly impressed with the extraordinary support shown for the Partners in Preservation Twin Cities program, and are delighted to award this $110,000 grant to the deserving Basilica of Saint Mary."

"Partners in Preservation is a unique program that not only offers financial support for treasured historic places, but also brings communities together to show their pride in the places that matter to them," said Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "The Twin Cities community embraced this program and did a phenomenal job rallying behind their favorite historic places. Congratulations to the Basilica of Saint Mary, a true icon of the Twin Cities historic landscape, for winning the popular vote."

Constructed in 1915 by French architect Emmanuel Masqueray, the Basilica of Saint Mary is the first Catholic cathedral in America to be designated a "Basilica." Since its opening, the Basilica has been much more than a Minneapolis landmark. This historic structure has a rich history serving as a worship space for more than 12,000 congregants, a venue for the secular and religious arts, a center for community involvement and social justice, and a beacon of hope to those in need through its extensive outreach programs. Additionally, the building's beautiful architecture and symbolic presence draws tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Over the course of the Partners in Preservation voting period, the Basilica of Saint Mary was able to rally more votes from members of the community than any other participating historic place. Now, with the community's support and the funding received from the program, the Basilica of Saint Mary is able to ensure that its building stands strong for generations to come. Repairs will be made to the Narthex and the Sacristy of the Basilica, including the repair of these rooms' decorative ceilings, limestone walls and damaged plaster while also restoring the historic paint and gold leaf found throughout the structure.

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation used specific criteria to select the 25 diverse historic places participating, including their historic significance, accessibility to the public, demonstration of community support, organizational excellence and evidence of a coherent and sustainable preservation plan. They ranged from nationally recognized landmarks to hidden gems. The Advisory Committee will determine the additional winners, who will be announced on November 9.

The historic places in the Twin Cities area that are eligible for the remaining grant money are:

  • American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
  • Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, Fridley
  • Chaska Athletic Park, Chaska
  • Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill, Saint Paul
  • C.S.P.S. Sokol Hall, Saint Paul
  • Emerge Career and Technology Center (Old North Branch Library), Minneapolis
  • Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Belle Plaine
  • Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul
  • Fort Snelling Upper Post, Building 67, Unincorporated Hennepin County
  • Harriet Tubman Center East (Former Saint Paul's Monastery), Minneapolis
  • Hennepin Center for the Arts, Minneapolis
  • Historic Pilot Knob, Mendota Heights
  • James J. Hill House, Saint Paul
  • Landmark Center, Saint Paul
  • Mill Ruins Park, Minneapolis
  • Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis
  • Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, Saint Paul
  • Minnesota Transportation Museum (Jackson Street Roundhouse), Saint Paul
  • Pilgrim Baptist Church, Saint Paul
  • Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery, Minneapolis
  • The Soap Factory, Minneapolis
  • Washington County Historic Courthouse, Stillwater
  • Waterford Iron Bridge, Waterford Township
  • Wayzata Depot, Wayzata
The Twin Cities is the sixth region to host the Partners in Preservation program and receive funding from American Express. The program previously made grants for preservation projects in the Seattle-Puget Sound area, San Francisco Bay area, Chicagoland, New Orleans and Greater Boston. For more information, visit or

About Partners in Preservation
Launched in 2006, Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has awarded $5.5 million over a five-year period toward preserving 56 historic places throughout the United States. American Express renewed its commitment to Partners in Preservation in 2010 by pledging $10 million toward the program over the next five years. Through this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public's awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America's historic and cultural places. The program also seeks to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic sites at the heart of their communities.

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About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Historic preservation has long been the hallmark of American Express's involvement in the community, reflecting the company's recognition of the importance of cultural sites and monuments as symbols of national and local identity, and the role that their preservation can play in attracting visitors and revitalizing neighborhoods. Learn more at and connect with us on,,,, and

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately-funded nonprofit organization, works to save America's historic places to enrich our future.



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