Christ Church resembles Germany’s nineteenth-century churches, such as St. Johannis in Altona (1873) and Christ Church in Eimsbuettel-Hamburg (1885). Whereas most Gothic Revival churches in Milwaukee combined elements from various European design traditions, German-immigrant architect Velguth’s design adheres to a strictly Germanic Gothic Revival. The red brick church has two short corner towers flanking a tall central tower, like German churches built in the 1870s and 1880s. The soaring 182-foot spire dwarfs the relatively short nave, making the building seem to sweep upward. At the tower’s base, a quatrefoil-stamped sheet-metal pediment flanked by two elaborate sheet-metal pinnacles ornaments the main entrance. The stained glass window above the pediment was designed for viewing from outside; backlit at dusk, the window glows in rich colors. From the vestibule, worshipers pass through beautifully carved Gothic wooden doors into the nave, where two identical wooden staircases lead to the choir and organ loft. The oak woodwork seen throughout the church is highly detailed and well crafted since Velguth began his career as a carpenter. Baroque-style plaster ornamentation accents the nave walls, garlands bedeck each pointed-arch window, and tiny cherubs peek from the foliage atop each pilaster. The nave terminates in a semi-octagonal apse with elaborate stenciling in the vaults.
Christ Church’s congregation organized in 1884 to serve the working-class German neighborhood on Milwaukee’s near South Side, and parishioners first worshiped in a frame school on the site of the present church school. The congregation is no longer exclusively of Germanic ancestry, but German-language services continued until the 1970s.