Designed by well-known architect Cass Gilbert, whose elegant new state capitol building was under construction in St. Paul, this handsome English Gothic style church was consecrated by Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple on April 28, 1901. Forty-two years before, Bishop Whipple, en route up the Mississippi River by steamboat to St. Paul, had begun his ministry as the first bishop of the Diocese of Minnesota by holding a baptismal service in this parish.Grace be unto you.
This first Episcopal service in Wabasha was held in 1857. The growing congregation incorporated as a parish in 1866 and held services in a white frame building on this site until 1901. The adjacent rectory was built in 1869.
From 1872 until 1877 the Reverend Horace Hills served as rector of Grace Church. Thomas Irvine, a successful lumberman, was a member at that time. He met and married Emily, Father Hills' daughter, but before their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Emily Hills Irvine died. Thomas Irvine presented this church building as a gift in loving memory of his wife and her parent, the Reverend Hills and Elizabeth Roberts Hills. The interior focal point is the beautiful "Resurrection" window over the altar, made by Tiffany studios of New York in 1900. It is considered one of the finest windows made by the studios. The only stipulation Irvine placed on his gift was that the name Grace be retained, hence — Grace Memorial Episcopal Church.