Thousands of Polish immigrants settled in the farm country northwest of Green Bay in the 1880s, founding such villages as Hofa Park, Krakow, Sobieski, and Pulaski. Here was Wisconsin’s third-largest rural concentration of Poles. But in 1886, a giant fire swept the forests and prairies from Kewaunee County through Brown, Shawano, and Oconto counties, destroying many of the rural Polish settlements. To revive the devastated community of Pulaski and to create a new cultural center for Polish Catholics, Polish Franciscans established a monastery in 1887. In concert with the friars, local parishioners founded this church.
The present church, the parish’s third, had its cornerstone laid in 1923 but took until 1931 to complete. The builder was Bert Beauregard. Seating up to 1,200 worshipers, it is one of the state’s most magnificent rural churches. Worthman and Steinbeck of Chicago chose a modified Romanesque Revival style, with twin towers and rose windows along three sides. Above the gabled entrance portal rises an ornate gabled pavilion, which shelters a rose window crowned by a bas-relief tympanum. Here in the pavilion, the architects used elements seen in contemporary Art Deco buildings, such as diamond-patterned brickwork and round panels outlined by stone rings. The church’s most distinctive feature is its twin towers, soaring 135 feet. Each tower has an octagonal belfry topped by a multifaceted dome that terminates in a slender cupola topped by a gilded cross. Inside the church, an ornate altar canopy inspires awe. The stained glass windows were crafted by German craftsmen working for the Columbia Glass Company of Columbus, Ohio. The white eagle symbol of Poland and the Great Seal of the United States expressed the parishioners’ identification with their homeland and their allegiance with their adopted country.