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Miracle Mansion to reopen

Carol Carroll

The Miracle Mansion will reopen Saturday for Mother's Day weekend brunches.

After Carol Carroll couldn't come to terms with the previous owner on the balloon payment for her contract for deed for the 128-year-old historic property along Colfax Avenue Southwest, she closed her labor-of-love last month.

She originally faced a three-month deadline to vacate, but last week, Ted Merickel decided to give Carroll until the end of the year to come up with the $90,000 to complete the purchase.

"I was shocked. I did not expect it. I think it's a blessing," said Carroll, a non-denominational reverend, who became owner of the long-vacant white house in 2004 after moving to Wadena from Idaho. "He said, 'you'll raise the funds, I think you will.'"

"I think the Lord's working on people," Carroll said.

Now, instead of filling boxes, Carroll's emptying them, preparing to welcome guests back to the tea room and specialty bake shop. She'll be open Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Starting next week, in addition to offering by-appointment tea luncheons, she'll be open for breakfast from Wednesday through Saturday.

"It's not right being in here and not running the bakery," Carroll said.

She's also launched a fundraising drive, hoping to secure $100 donations from 2,000 people. The money, Carroll said, would be enough to cover the balloon payment and ensure the business will be viable long-term. It would also allow Carroll to proceed with plans to open a four-room bed-and-breakfast. To donate, make checks out to "The Miracle" and send them to to First National Bank of Henning, Attn: Bill Goepferd, P.O. Box 96, Henning, MN 56551.

"I believe the money's going to come in," Carroll said.

Although Carroll said she'd rather not ask for financial help, the Miracle Mansion is a community gathering place, so she hopes the public decides to take ownership.

"It's going to be everyone's place now," Carroll said. "This has always been God's house, not mine. It's always been here for the glory of the Lord."

Once her own tenants move out, Carroll said she and her son plan to move to a property she owns near Hewitt. "It's now time to separate where I live and where all of this is."

The Miracle Mansion is entering a new phase, said Melissa Erkenbrack, Carroll's daughter.

"Hopefully, she'll get some people who share the same vision to come in and do this with her," Erkenbrack said.

"It's a nice place to gather," she said. "It's just not the same atmosphere as a restaurant. It's more of a home atmosphere."