New pavilion is an impressive addition to Frankenstein parish


The new pavilion on the grounds of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Frankenstein will be a hub of fellowship and activity for the people of the parish and school.

This project officially began in July of 2020, with the pavilion and building completed last October.

The structure was dedicated on Oct. 12, 2020, as Father Colin Franklin, current pastor, and Father Daniel Merz, former pastor blessed the pavilion and those gathered.

“When we built this, the idea was to support the functions of the parish as well as the school,” said pavilion committee member Russell Troesser. “We wanted to keep it close to the school because they use it and everything is tied together.”

From those voting, 77 percent voted in favor of building the pavilion, pavilion committee member Donna Backes stated.

There are 144 individuals and families at this time.

Support for the project went beyond area residents.

“We have a lot of people who have moved away but still want to support the church,” said Mrs. Backes.

Ballots for parishioners included one plan for just the pavilion and another for the pavilion with a bathroom.

Another aspect of the project was the addition of concrete between the pavilion and the school.

“That used to be all gravel and we wanted to make it easier for those who have a disability or are elderly and have trouble walking,” said Mr. Troesser.

The goal at the start was to raise 70 percent of the total project before the start of construction.

Fundraising efforts included FifthFest and dances, along with donations from individuals, and a grant from the Schwartze Foundation.

“Estimates were a little low in 2019 when we got to 2020,” said Mr. Troesser. “I’m glad it’s done this year because everything keeps going up.”

Shaun Haslag Construction of Loose Creek built the pavilion using plenty of local materials.

Dead white oak trees from local wooded areas near the church were cut by Gary Bonnot and used for the pillars and ceiling while the siding at the front of the pavilion came from a barn built in 1924.

“It keeps a rustic look for the pavilion,” said Mr. Troesser. “We’ve got some touches yet to make but we’re in good shape.”

Sliding barn doors open to reveal an ADA-accessible restroom on one side, and on the other, an entry to a kitchen, which at some point will have a stove and a refrigerator.

“For rentals, we were thinking a stove would be nice so people who rent the pavilion can have everything in one place,” said Mrs. Backes, adding the kitchen in the school is close enough to allow for food to be prepared there and transported to the kitchen for events such as the parish picnic.

Two doors in the center of the wall open to make a sandwich counter available.
Durable stone flooring was selected for its slip-resistant nature. “When it rains, we didn’t want to have to worry about people falling,” Mr. Troesser explained.

Stonework began in late November, Mr. Troesser noted, explaining some materials were delayed due to the pandemic.

Mrs. Backes noted the stone used at the base of the pillars and around the building were matched as closely as possible to that used for the church, and other buildings, along with the rock wall.

“We tried to get it to blend in and I think it does pretty well,” Mr. Troesser added.

He said the plan moving forward is to add drop-down curtains so the pavilion can be enclosed.

“With COVID, the company that makes them got crazy on the price and lead time,” he stated. “Everything went up 30 or 40 percent while we were building this.”

Several individuals volunteered time to the project, including Eugene Voss.

“We appreciate everyone who offered support or help with this project,” said Mrs. Backes. “It’s a nice addition to the church grounds, and it will be well used.”

Mr. Johnson is editor of the Unterrified Democrat newspaper in Linn (, which published a version of this article June 2 and gave permission for this version to be published here.