I am one who believes in God and I believe I am a spiritual person. But I would never argue that I am one who goes to church a lot. However, I love the look of many of the churches I see throughout Wisconsin, and, when I stop by, my soul seems to connect somehow, my faith gets invigorated --- even more so when I go inside. There is something wonderful about them. I also love seeing them from a distance, rising above a town, as though to say, “Come here, this is a good town with good people.” So I thought it might be fun to show you some that have caught my eye and touched me.
St. Patrick Catholic Church, Mauston, founded in 1857. There have been three churches, the first built on the east end of Mauston in 1857, the second, which burned in 1901 built on our current site and our present church built in 1901. The church has enjoyed three major renovations, the last in 1996.
This was amazing. We were traveling along CH K in the area of Kettle Moraine State Forest epping along on the road kind of daydreaming, and then, all of a sudden, pops out this church on a hill in a distance. This struck me as odd, as it seemed at the time like it was about the only thing around. But, I had to escape and evade myself over to it on the back roads.
And indeed a church it was, but not just any old church. This is the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill. The church is in the eastern pat of Erin Township and sits on the the highest peak of the Kettle Moraine. The hill upon which the Shrine has been erected is a moulin kame. A kame is a steep-sided mound of sand and gravel deposited by a melting ice sheet. These kames were formed from the silt, sand, gravel and boulders left by torrents of water flushing down channels at the periphery of stagnate ice sheets. This meltwater deposited the debris into the cone formation in much the same way that sand forms a cone as it trickles through an hour glass.
This area is known as Holy Hill and stands 1335 ft. above sea level.
The Basilica is operated by the Discalced Carmelite Friars. Construction began in 1879. Since then, additional shrines have been added other structure have been added over the years, with several restorations also completed. The Basilica has a marvelous web site. We did not have time to tour the area extensively. That looks like at least a one day outing.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Marathon City, from a distance
A close up
Fagerne’s Lutheran Church sits high atop a hill at the junction of CH D and CH N. The congregation was formed by 14 Norwegian immigrant families in 1868. She caught fire in 1900 and was rebuilt by 1901. Fagernes means “fair point” in Norwegian.
Coon Valley Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and one of the 74 churches of the La Crosse Area Synod.
First Lutheran Church of Ogema on State Highway 86, not far from Timm’s Hill, the highest elevation in Wisconsin.
St. Adalbert Catholic Church, Rosholt, is in the middle of a Polish-American area near Polonia and the Polish Heritage Highway, State Hwy 66 east of Stevens Point. It started with construction of a school, St. Joseph’s. It was named St. Adalbert after the patron saint of the Polish people. It is spectacular inside.
St. Norbert’s Catholic Church stands above the small community of Roxbury, the first Catholic church in Dane County, constructed in 1857 with additions put on over time. The next photo is a closeup of this marvelous structure.
Trinity Lutheran Church, Milwaukee
In the distance, to right of center, is the Church on the Hill in Bayfield, Holy Family Catholic Church, established in 1992.
Old St. Joseph Church, the home of St. Norbert College Parish in DePere, on the campus of the college. Established in 1969 as the first college parish in the US.
The little church in the valley. Located on CH G in Eagle Valley, it has a rich heritage dating back to 1870, and sits in the splendor of the beautiful Eagle Valley. This structure was built in 1905. It is presently managed by an independent ecumenical committee. Ernets Stettler’s son, Werner bought it in 1949 and passed it his son, Werner Jr. In 2003 Werner Jr. gave the building to St. John’s United Church of Christ in Fountain City.
Historic St. Ann’s Catholic Church built in 1888, in Greenwood near Rib Lake. Early Rib Lake industries were milling and tanning. St. Ann’s was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1995. A typically Wisconsin hard working group of people settle in the Rib Lake area cleared the land and built and maintained their own church. After a time, it was no longer used for religious services, so a group of dedicate people converted the structure into what it is today.
Church of the Resurrection, downtown Wausau
St. Mary’s Catholic Church rising above the town of Algoma. She was organized by German and Bohemian residents in 1860. The present building was complete in 1906, the third church to stand on this site.
A closeup of St. Mary’s. The church boasts magnificent wood altars, designed and carved by Father Adalburt Cipinin in the 1880s for a previous building.
There are eight carved stone lions at the base of the steeple, the work of French stone cutter Simeon Navarre.
United Church of Christ in Kempster, near Antigo. Small but neat.
St. Paul’s Liberty Lutheran Church in the fields off Hwys 12/18 near Hwy 73, Deerfield rises above the town.
A closeup of St. Paul’s. While unconfirmed, it might be the oldest Norwegian Lutheran Church in the US. Building began in 1851, worshipping began even though unfinished in 1853, and she was dedicated in 1859. The church was renovated in 1914, with renovations and additions put on thereafter.
Swiss United Church of Christ in New Glarus. Built in 1900, once known as the Swiss Evangelical and Reformed Church, which traces its roots to the mid-1800s.
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, also known as St. Mary’s Ridge, in the town of Jefferson in Monroe County.
Yet another church rising above a small town, in this case St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Johnsville, east of Hwy 151, built in 1865. Note the windmills in the background.
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Marytown. This is an area known as “The Holyland” since 1898 because it was deeply Catholic region extending into Calumet County, founded by Germans.
Another shot of St Mary’s from the other side. Note how she is built on a small grassy knoll, enough to lift her up so she can be seen.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, organized in 1863. The present church was built in 1896. The Cream City crick, of which it is constructed, was hand-molded and fired at the brickyard of the parishioner, Ferdinand Storm. The tower clock was installed in 1920. The interior of the church retains the original altar, pulpit, and distinctive bentwood pews, all made locally by the Ahnapee Seating and Veneer Company. Also noteworthy are the Victorian stained glass windows.
Blair Lutheran Church Arcadia.