Sunday, July 26, 2015

St. Paul's, Neenah

At the turn of the twentieth century there were five Lutheran Churches in Neenah and not one of them worshiped in english.   By 1912 a group of english speaking lutherans decided to form their own congration.  The church rented a small chapel on Bond Street from The Norwegian Lutherans but it wasn't long before the group realized the need for a bigger house of worship.  In the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of October 3,1914, under the headline; "A PROPOSED TWIN CITY CHRUCH." there appeared a rendering of a beautiful new edifice.  The accompanying article told of the congregations need and described the new building designed by William Water of Oshkosh.

In March of 1915 there were a series of notices in the Oshkosh press concerning the letting of bids for the construction of the new church, the paper didn't mention who got the job.  St. Paul's was similar to other churches that Waters design during the early decades of the twentieth century, gone were the scoring steeples of the mid 1800's.  Instead architect Waters employed an English County church style as seen in Oshkosh's First Congregational Church of 1910 and St. John's of 1914(See Oshkosh Churches Part Three, 61,2012.  St. Paul's cornerstone was placed on July 12,1915 and the building served as designed until 1956.  It was in that year a massive remodeling project was undertaken; both ends of the church were removed and rebuilt such that the congregation would face east instead of west, and the entrance was moved from N. Commercial Street to the W. North Water Street side of the church.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Appleton Churches

I've posted entries on all Mr. Waters' Oshkosh churches and a surprise in Waupaca, it seems as good a time as any to report on churches in other cities.  Mr. Waters' religious works outside of Oshkosh were confined to Waupaca,  Neenah and Appleton.  The architect designed two houses of worship in Appleton, namely St. Joseph Catholic and The Methodist Episcopal Church.  Both commissions came at about the same time too.
St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church was formed 1867 when the growing number of German Katholishers wished to have their own parish.  The group received permission from the bishop to start a congregation and so purchased the old Third Ward School House for $150, moved it to Elm Street and turned it into a church.  By 1870 a building committee was assembled to consider plans for a building. Young architect William Waters had made a reputation with two important Wisconsin State jobs; the architect of the new Oshkosh Normal School and superintendent of construction of the Northern State Hospital for the Insane and it was his plan selected by the committee. Construction began in 1871 and cost $21,140 to build.  The church was dedicated on the first Sunday of November 1872. Over the years there were some remodeling projects, a major one in 1889 with the addition of two pillars and expansion of the sanctuary.  Later the front entrance was changed but what had remained constant was the steeple.  Many churches would for maintenance reasons remove the towering spires for something easier to re-roof.

The Methodist Church in Appleton was there with the founding of Lawrence University and the 
Methodists worshiped in college buildings until 1854 when a church was built across the street from the main college building.  On the morning of March 9, 1872, just before service the church burned down, holy smoke!  The congregation was  eager to rebuild, a lot on the corner of Lawrence and Morrison was acquired and William Waters was engaged as architect and the corner stone for a new church was laid in October of that same year.   That building served the congregation for more fifty years but was replaced in 1925.  The old church was sold to The Knights of Pythias and remodeled to look more like a castle and serve as their meeting hall,late the building was turned to retail use.