The city’s first Polish Roman Catholic church is also one of Milwaukee’s best-known buildings. St. Stanislaus Church’s glimmering highly ornate domes, once clad in copper, were remodeled and gilded with gold leaf in the early 1960s, prompting its popular nickname: the “Church of the Golden Domes.”
During the eighteenth century, dome-topped churches were common in Poland. The members of Milwaukee’s first Polish-immigrant parish evoked this tradition for St. Stanislaus. Schmidtner gave the church round-topped windows to distinguish it from the many Gothic Revival churches in the city. Although the cornerstone was laid in July 1872 and a portion of the building dedicated the following year, much of the construction was apparently done between 1884 and 1894. The interior has been altered several times, most recently in 1963 after changes were initiated by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. It retains its barrel-vaulted ceiling, extensive ornamental plasterwork throughout the interior, and beautifully crafted marble altar, trimmed in bronze.