Wisconsin is well-known for its Prairie Style houses, but Prairie churches are rare. In fact, had it not been for an accident of timing, this church would probably have looked more traditional. In 1898, several years before Prairie Style came into vogue, foundation work began for a stone and brick church. The congregation suspended construction when the Wisconsin Central Railroad, one of the city’s major employers, closed its repair shops here, creating economic uncertainty. Nearly twenty years later, when the congregation decided again that it needed a larger church, it chose this Prairie Style design by Clare Hosmer of Milwaukee. Local contractor B. V. Martin built the three-story structure. Symmetry reigns, save for the canopied entrance with blind windows at one side. The central section marked by brick pilasters ascends to a hipped roof that rises above the main roofline. Prairie Style buildings often contrasted upward motion with a building’s horizontal massing. Below the central hipped roof, banks of leaded-glass windows suggest an abstract cross. Hipped-roofed pavilions at each end feature a column of rectangular windows, which add to the geometry of the design. Craftsman woodwork, horizontal banding, and a stenciled wall behind the pulpit grace the interior.
You are here
First Baptist Church
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.