Church renovated into Airbnb for sale in Detroit Lakes

Photo by: Paulette Hagen Simple Website Creations (Supplied)

A historic church in Detroit Lakes, transformed into a unique Airbnb and event center, is now on the market.

The "Chapel House" at 22700 175th Street in Detroit Lakes, is on 2.5 acres that overlooks a golf course and rolling fields. It features a 65-foot steeple, a custom stained-glass window using the original frame, and huge windows, original to the church, that bring in a lot of natural light. 

The church is currently selling for $575,000, and has three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. 

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The historic church, renovated into an Airbnb. Photo by: Paulette Hagen Simple Website Creations

From: Supplied

The original congregation for the church, the Saron Norwegian Lutheran Church, started on July 16, 1889, current owner O'Mara Dunnigan said. Construction of the church started in 1903 and was officially completed and dedicated on June 27, 1909. 

The church operated in Norwegian, later English, until Feb. 5 1960, when it closed due to a shrinking congregation, and was left abandoned. During that time, an attempt was made to steal the church's bell, but it was broken and abandoned in the cemetery nearby, where it still sits. A replacement bell was made at some point, but it was also stolen in July 2022 and has not been found. 

An old photo of the church.  (Supplied)

Over 20 years later, a family purchased the church and moved it one mile to their farm, where they repaired and painted it. It was then operated as the Country Church Boutique, and sold the family's artwork.

In 2000, it moved again to its current location and became a church once more. The church, called Chapel on the Hill, operated as a non-denominational church, with many of the locals being married there. In 2021, Chapel on the Hill closed, and the Dunnigan family purchased it. 

The Dunnigans renovated almost every aspect of the church, converting it to the Airbnb it is today. That included repairing the steeple, adding insulation, heat, and air conditioning, and much more. 

"I'm in residential real estate and I wanted to renovate the space for the longest potential life it could have. Therefore, we created a unique 3 bed, 2.5 bedroom home and event center," Dunnigan said about what inspired the renovation. 

Dunnigan says her favorite part of the home is the primary bedroom, which overlooks the rolling fields, has a unique ceiling, and has the custom stained-glass window, which was originally above the front door. 

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The church during renovations. Photo by: O'Mara Dunnigan

From: Supplied

Dunningan ran the church as not only an Airbnb but also an event center. She says running it was "rewarding, demanding and busy," and she loved seeing the feedback she got from guests who enjoyed it during many events. 

The family decided to sell the church due to them having a busy schedule and wanting the next adventure, plus some extra family time. While they never used it for their primary residence, they hope the next owners enjoy it, whether as a business or a unique home. 

"Love it. Use it and enjoy it. Have people gather and celebrate. Doesn't matter if it's their primary residence or if they continue to use it as a business. Just love and care for her," Dunnigan said about what she hopes the new owners do with the church.