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The St. Anthony Verein has been in the community for nearly 100 years, and the verein society is aiming to keep it around for 100 more.

The windows need replacing, and the floor has become uneven. The society is hosting a fundraiser to pay for thousands of dollars in updates.

“In order to make it last, we have to take care of it,” said Ray Morrell of Mandan, whose father’s ancestors helped found the verein, which was built after a group of German-Hungarians settled in the area in 1887.

The group built the church of St. Anthony and, within that church, a Catholic men’s order, Catholic Order of Foresters, was formed to help those living in the area survive the region’s harsh climate and the dangers of frontier life.

April 1, 1911, the St. Anthony of Padua German Roman Catholic Assistance Society of St. Anthony, commonly known as the St. Anthony Verein, took over the order’s mission.

A hall would be built, and, in the decades to follow, it would host weddings, anniversaries and other community gatherings.

Morrell said there are many people in the area who can recall going to the St. Anthony Fall Festival held annually at the verein hall. He said there are a lot of memories and stories associated with it and being a verein society member is a tradition passed on through many generations.

“There’s a lot of pride,” said Morrell, adding that the building is a great asset to the commuinity as a gathering space and it also allows people to connect to their rural heritage.

A few renovations have been made already, including new siding and a new glass front door to replace the old barn door, according to Morrell, who said a heating system was recently installed. The siding and door was donated by Leingang Home Center.

There were bathroom renovation in the 1950s. There’s now a handicap ramp on the rear of the building and a new sound system. However, much of the building is the original material.

Now, the society is considering more renovations so the building can better fit today’s needs.

“Windows and flooring are our first priority,” Morrell said.

The society needs $3,000 to replace the building’s eight original windows and $7,000 to resurface impressions in the original floor left by years of wear and tear.

Morrell said the society would also like to insulate the building and add hot water, but is hoping to at least raise the needed $10,000 to start.

“It’s up to the people,” he said.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com.

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Business Reporter