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First Baptist Church

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1872, Edward Townsend Mix; 1922, 1959 additions. 247 Wisconsin Ave.

Built of rock-faced limestone with smooth details, First Baptist Church expresses Edward Townsend Mix’s ecclesiastical style in its massing and detailing. It also demonstrates the dramatic verticality of the Gothic Revival style. A diagonally set corner tower, one of Mix’s trademarks, soars upward in a series of pointed arches and terminates in a polygonal spire so slender and tall as to be almost needlelike. On the opposite side of the front-facing gable, a buttress rises to form another slender tower. Pointed lancets, a gabled portico, and a rose window framed by a Gothic arch emphasize the church’s heavenward thrust. Inside, the cavernous second-floor sanctuary has a broad Gothic arch framing the organ pipes, thereby creating a striking focal point behind the altar and choir. Dark-stained wooden beams support the pointed-arched ceiling, converging in traceried trusses with quatrefoil and trefoil motifs that echo the church’s exterior embellishments. The congregation added a Gothic Revival education wing in 1922, and a second wing of modern design dates from 1959.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "First Baptist Church", [Waukesha, 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, 198-198.

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