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St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

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1854; 1901–1902, Otto Uehling. 1136 S. 5th St.

With its symmetrical composition, pointed arches, and soaring sense of verticality, St. Stephen’s recalls other German-inspired Gothic Revival churches built for German Americans in the late nineteenth century. At the same time, St. Stephen’s is untraditional in being Milwaukee’s first steel-framed church. Large north and south transept windows, with their spiky Gothic tracery, highlight St. Stephen’s elaborate exterior. The towering central steeple was built in 1854 as part of the earlier church and was retained when the church body was rebuilt in 1902. The steeple houses one of the Midwest’s few operational, weight-powered tower clocks. St. Stephen’s richly finished interior boasts an intricately carved, natural oak altarpiece and a fine pipe organ—the ranks of pipes are concealed behind a paneled oak case. Sunlight shimmers through a rich palette of colors in the stained glass transept windows. By night, scores of bare electric light bulbs, arranged in a starburst pattern on the arched plaster ceiling, illuminate the nave. St. Stephen’s Church campus includes a brick parsonage at 420 W. Scott Street and a three-story brick school building at 1126 S. 5th Street, one of the city’s best-preserved Victorian-era church complexes.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
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Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church", [Milwaukee, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-MI67.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 102-103.

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