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Holy Rosary Church of Pompeii

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1931, Charles A. Augustin. 4416 22nd Ave.
  • (Photograph by Paul J. Jakubovich, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

Kenosha, overwhelmingly Yankee and western and northern European before 1900, became more ethnically diverse in the twentieth century. The city’s factories attracted thousands of immigrants, especially Italians and Slavs. The largest group, Italians, settled on the west side, including 22nd Avenue. The newcomers founded a Roman Catholic congregation almost immediately, in 1904. It moved twelve blocks north to this new building in 1931. Augustin chose the Renaissance Revival mode, using bas-reliefs and statuary to lend an air of opulence and perhaps to recall the Italian origin of the Renaissance. At ground level, fluted pilasters with Corinthian capitals separate three classical doorways under pediments with bas-relief tympana. Above, smooth-shafted Ionic pilasters again divide the composition into three sections: a rose window at center and niches on either side, each sheltering a life-size figure of Mary. An ornate pediment crowns the church. Augustin anchored the apse end of the church with a tower that rises in stages to a dome. Inside, the tripartite altarpiece features an icon of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii, based on a painting at the Italian shrine of the same name. This colorful carving is framed by classical columns and an ornate broken pediment; broken pediments above arched entryways for the clergy complete the composition. While many Catholic churches, in response to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council of 1962–1965, reconfigured their altars so that the clergy faced the congregants, this one remains unchanged. Above the altar-piece, a painting, The Disputatum, depicts the Apostles arguing over Jesus’s true identity.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Holy Rosary Church of Pompeii", [Kenosha, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 177-177.

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