A Place of Worship
For over a century, the Basilica of St. Josaphat has been one of the greatest architectural builds in Wisconsin. In the United States, it is one of the 62 minor Basilicas that were built. Its enormous structure holds many great stories and is a wonderful place of worship to many. I decided to take a tour and learn more of its past. There is a lot of history in the Basilica, and this building holds many architectural and artistic characteristics that are interesting and is a great representation of a basilica in this present time.
Back in 1896, the Parish congregation of Milwaukee needed a new church due to many people joining. The church was too small and Father Wilhelm Grutza decided that the growing Polish congregation needed a much larger space to worship in. He hired an architect to a build monumental church. The architect, Edhard Brielmaier, designs an amazing Romanesque style church with brick and terra cotta, but soon after he completes his designs, Father Grutza discovers that the Chicago Post office is about to be torn down due to improper construction. Father Grutza buys the salvaged post office for its materials for 20,000 dollars, making Edhard redesign his church to incorporate these materials. About a year later, the church begins to be built. A point I found interesting was that much of the church is built by the parishioners. To me, this is astounding that the people of this faith, who probably did not have much or any architectural experience, were able to build this astounding and beautiful place of worship. After the church is dedicated in 1901, a few weeks later, Father Grutza passes away. Four years later, the church is in major construction debt after the church is built. They turn to Conventual Franciscan Friars, which take 80% of the debt away from the parishioners. During this time of debt, the church is without any art or sculpture.
By 1926, the church is relieved of debt and commissions Conrad Schmitt Studios...
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