Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

2235 W GREENFIELD AVE

Architecture and History Inventory
2235 W GREENFIELD AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
Other Name:CHRIST EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Contributing:
Reference Number:11499
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):2235 W GREENFIELD AVE
County:Milwaukee
City:Milwaukee
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1901
Additions:
Survey Date:1985
Historic Use:church
Architectural Style:High Victorian Gothic
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:FREDERICK VELGUTH
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
National Register Listing Date:9/25/1987 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:Mason: William Equitz

Gothic Revival church constructed of brick with stone trim.

Christ Church resembles Germany’s nineteenth-century churches, such as St. Johannis in Altona (1873) and Christ Church in Eimsbuettel-Hamburg (1885). While most Gothic Revival churches in Milwaukee combined elements from various European design traditions, German-immigrant architect Frederick Velguth's design for Christ Church adheres to a Germanic Gothic Revival style. The red brick Christ Church has two short corner towers flanking a tall central tower, like Gothic Revival churches built in Germany in the 1870s and 1880s. The soaring 182-foot spire dwarfs the relatively short nave, giving the building an upswept character. At the tower 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, not the inside. Backlit at dusk, the window glows in rich colors.

The church’s interior is elegant and restrained. From the vestibule, worshipers pass through beautifully carved Gothic wooden doors into the nave, where two identical wooden staircases reach up to the sweeping choir and organ loft. The oak woodwork seen throughout the church is highly detailed and well crafted, not surprising considering that architect 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 vaulting.

Christ Church’s congregation organized in 1884 to serve the working-class German neighborhood on Milwaukee’s near south side. Until Velguth completed this building, parishioners worshiped in a frame school on the site of the present church school. While the congregation is no longer exclusively of Germanic ancestry, German-language services continued until the 1970s.
Bibliographic References:CORNERSTONE. MILWAUKEE ETHNIC CHURCH TOUR, CITY OF MILWAUKEE DEPARTMENT OF CITY DEVELOPMENT, 1994. Building Permit Records. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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