In 1940 Marie Sandvik, a determined Norwegian immigrant, rented a bankrupted bar on Washington Avenue, cleaned it up, put up a sign saying “Minneapolis Revival Mission”, and standing by the bar on opening night announced, “I have come to offer you a new life”.
The mission was moved to historic Nicollet Island and continued to minister to the then “skid row” population. Doris Nye from Trinity Lutheran Church of Minnehaha Falls joined her in 1944 and served as the director of the mission until her death in April 2005.
As the years passed the ministry continued to grow so a permanent home was needed. The mission moved to their present location at 1112 East Franklin Avenue where the ministry changed to include more families and children. Here Sandvik and Nye created programs to help the needy of the neighborhood telling the children and adults that they are valuable because God values them.
Marie Sandvik died in 1992 and her work was carried on by Doris Nye until her death April 2005, and the work now continues under the leadership of Director, Kristen Hink, Assistant Director, Laurie Whitmore and a dedicated staff of paid workers and volunteers.
After replacing the Angelo’s Bar liquor sign with a neon cross, using all of her money to bring in some chairs and a piano, and putting a large oil painting of the Savior in the front window, Marie Sandvik began her ministry with the people of Minneapolis. At 121 Nicollet Avenue, she turned a run-down bar into a place where people could come in from the fierce Minnesota weather to warm up with a hot cup of coffee and listen to Marie Sandvik tell them about the grace of Christ.
After a few years, Marie Sandvik mission was becoming more than she could handle. Through many prayers, the Lord sent her a lifelong partner in Doris Nye. The two women worked together equipping their three upper floors as a shelter for men and boys, making an additional $4,000 in repairs, and turning Angelo’s Bar into a non-profit Christian Organization.
The Minneapolis Revival Mission remained at 121 Nicollet Ave from June 11, 1940-1960. In 1960 without getting their spirits down, the two women moved their work to 56 East Hennepin.
In 1970, Marie Sandvik and Miss Nye got help from Signe Anderson, who was a member on the Model City Commission, and bought additional property at 1112 East Franklin Avenue to become their new children’s center. For two years they kept both buildings, but once again, in 1972, the city of Minneapolis bought out their property at 56 East Hennepin and restored the land into Historical Nicollet Island.
Adding a women’s shelter across the street, building a gymnasium, remodeling a new chapel and classrooms to accommodate their rising numbers, the Marie Sandvik Center became a permanent fixture on the crowded streets of Franklin Avenue.