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Prescott woman's granddad made altar shown in Cities

PRESCOTT --- The hand-crafted altars that were a source of pride for Iris Most's grandfather over a century ago are being preserved, with or without the churches originally housing them.

John Franzman was known for his woodworking skills, his granddaughter said from her Prescott home Thursday. Franzman was also a perfectionist, she said.

"If he found something wrong with his work, he'd be sure to make it right," she said.

So it's pained family members when any of the four intricately finished altars built after the native of Austria came to Minnesota have been jeopardized, Mrs. Most said. For example, when they learned a congregation from a church in Goodrich, Minn., was going to dispose of the one there, the family arranged to temporarily store it at a relative's place. Eventually, the Minnesota Historical Society became interested and an agreement was reached for the society to take it.

Earlier this month, the altar was showcased at an open house in St. Paul for the society's 150th anniversary. The 80-year-old Most said she was unable to attend, but plans to see the treasured piece at an ongoing historical society exhibit during a family gathering in the Twin Cities next spring.

She's pleased with the surroundings and recognition for this altar, as well as the present circumstances of the others. One is at St. Petri Lutheran Church in Grygla, Minn. (her home town), another at a church in Fourtown, Minn. (just east of Grygla) and the other at a Heritage Village in Warren, Minn.

Aptitude for woodworking

Read more in the print version of the Herald Oct. 24.