Looking for a miracle in Merickel mansion

On Sept. 22 the Rev. Carol Carroll expected to finish receiving bids to restore the Merickel home. Instead, she received devastating news. The bank turned down her request for a $300,000 loan and the Minnesota Historical Society said any changes ...

old Merickel home
Photo by Sara Hacking The Rev. Carol Carroll shows an area where work was started to restore the exterior of the old Merickel home in Wadena. Carroll was recently denied a $300,000 loan to pay off and repair the home. Carroll has to pay Ted Merickel for the home by the end of this year.

On Sept. 22 the Rev. Carol Carroll expected to finish receiving bids to restore the Merickel home. Instead, she received devastating news.

The bank turned down her request for a $300,000 loan and the Minnesota Historical Society said any changes made using federal grant money would have to be done to their standards, Carroll said. She was no longer able to

accept a $16,000 federal grant with matching funds to fix up the outside of the home.

Her plans for the home didn't fall down lightly, she said.

"God put his hand on it and it came crashing down," she said. "Within 15 minutes both things ... were done."


The grant required she have a business up and running within three months of having work done. She took bids for projects on the inside and outside of the mansion.

Work had already started, she said. Patches of paint were scraped from the outside, she dug up plants around the home and preparations were being made to remove the stained glass window in the dining room.

"I thought, my God, I can't believe we got this close and it came crashing down, just crashing," she said.

When that happens she knows things have gotten out of order, she said.

"I think it's because everything became such a push and it was backwards," Carroll said.

The foundation was being overlooked, she said. Carroll had not received any usable bids to repair the foundation and the focus shifted to the outside of the mansion, she said. That was the wrong order.

"If we don't get a solid foundation we're through," she said.

When the project fell through she prayed and asked God to send someone with good common sense to help her, she said. Carroll believes this person has stepped forward. He is a man from the area with a background in foundation and home repair.


"I had to believe God would open another door and he has and we're going at it [in] a whole different direction," she said.

In spite of the recent disappointment, Carroll remains hopeful this new direction will keep her dreams of restoring the home alive.

"From this time on this place is called the Miracle Mansion," Carroll said.

She's known the time would come to change the name from the Merickel mansion, she said.

"We have to switch it because God does his work when you have nowhere else to move," she said. "We['ve] done every angle we possibly could."

The Lord has laid on her heart to tell people how they can help, she said.

"The glory is in the fact that all the people are going to come forward in Wadena and have a part in bringing it together," she said.

The time has come for her bib overalls, she said.


"Determination puts on works clothes and my work clothes are going back on," she said.

She has contacted some churches who have agreed to do work days, she said. People can contribute financially or by lending a hand. There is an account set up at Weber's Wadena Hardware and people can buy cans of paint, paint brushes and other materials to help with the project, she said. Weber's has already donated 10 gallons of paint. Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank has a Miracle Mansion savings account, she said. People can also stop by the mansion or call her at (218) 924-4450.

Carroll recently put an advertisement in the newspaper looking for investors. Some people were confused by the request. She explained that she is dividing the 7,000 square feet of the home into 700 shares. She needs 145 investors at $1,000 a share, she said. That money will go into a separate account until there is enough to buy one or both contracts from Ted Merickel. It will be run through an attorney in town, she said.

People have given Carroll their numbers to say they will help with the work on the home but she has lost some of them in all her moving, she said.

She believes it is important to let people know what the project needs, she said.

"I believe they want to be a part of seeing this come back together," Carroll said about the historic home.

She's not going to give up, she said. She's going to move straight ahead.

The bids that came in conjunction with the grant and related projects were excellent, she said, and were much less than a previous $600,000 estimate.


Contractors were disappointed when the project came crashing down, she said. Bidders on the grant-funded outside work have said they will rebid using their regular pricing scale.

"Even though it ended I think we're going to see the lemonade out of all of this," she said.

"Out of all of this mess I think blessings are going to come from it."

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