As early as March 7, 1933, church council discussed digging a basement under the church to provide more room for an expanding congregation.  But due to lack of funds, the decision was put on hold.

Sunday School class in the 1930s

It wasn’t until January 5, 1939 excavation of the basement began.  Mr. Jens Otteson headed the project.  Men and boys volunteered their services to dig out the basement by hand.  They were called by many as the “Bucket Brigade.”  In October 1939, the Church Council voted to make an application to the Board of American Missions for a loan of $1,500, of which $1,000 would be used for the further completion and improvement of the basement and building.

On May 12, 1940, celebrating St. Paul’s 10th Anniversary, Dr. Knudsen of the United Lutheran Church Mission Board was the guest speaker for the 3:30 P.M. special service.  Council members were hoping and praying that with the help of the men and young men the basement floor would be completed for the event, or at least to have the basement finished in the rough, so that it can be used for the social and refreshment hours.

At the Congregational meeting on October 17, 1941, St. Paul’s entered into a campaign to raise $1,500 to improve and complete the building and property project.  This money provided for the excavation and completion of an additional heating and fuel room at the northeast corner of the structure, and the heating plant, stairway, plumbing, fixtures, and interior finishing of the basement walls.

Down in the basement, a “Children’s Chapel” was to be placed.  The altar and lectern had been built earlier by Jens Otteson Peter Sneesby, and Trond Malheim in October 1937.  Then in 1942 a furnace was installed in the new basement.  Up until that time, the church heat came from a little pot-bellied stove.  When the new church was built, the altar and lectern were moved down to Fellowship Hall.  Today the altar can be seen in The Gathering Room.