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Our Lady of Loretto Church

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1880, Peter Mettel, Nicolaus Allart, and William Dresen. County Rd. C, just east of Pine Hollow Dr., 1.2 miles east of Natural Bridge State Park
  • (Photograph by Bill Guerin, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

This church recalls the piety of the German immigrants who left Baden, Bavaria, and the Rhineland and settled in Sauk County. Aided by the Reverend Adelbert Inama, they established this church in 1854 as a mission of Sauk City’s St. Aloysius parish. They built a log structure, but when it burned down they replaced it with this yellow limestone church. The simple Gothic Revival church has lancet openings for the windows and door, lancet vents in the square base of the spire, and a rose window above the entrance. Local stonemasons Mettel and Allart constructed the church’s walls of limestone rubble, overlaying the irregularly coursed stonework with raised beads of mortar to simulate ashlar and laying dressed limestone quoins. Papers found in the cornerstone indicate that Dresen of Sauk City was the carpenter and joiner.

The interior is one of the few original Catholic church interiors to survive in Wisconsin. The walls and ceiling, painted pink, gold, and blue, are stenciled with stars, crosses, fleurs-de-lis, stylized tulips, urns, and other motifs; the artist is unknown. Among the faded German inscriptions on the walls is at least one of the Ten Commandments. Erhard Brielmaier’s Milwaukee-based firm built the Gothic altar, ornamenting it with lancet arches, turned finials, and quatrefoils. The Sauk Prairie Area Historical Society, which owns the building, carefully completed a major art conservation project.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Our Lady of Loretto Church", [North Freedom, 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, 484-484.

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