Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

SE of Waterloo at Jct. of Bluse Point and Island Church Rds.

Architecture and History Inventory
SE of Waterloo at Jct. of Bluse Point and Island Church Rds. | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:St. Wenceslaus Roman Catholic Church
Other Name:The Island Church
Reference Number:16210
Location (Address):SE of Waterloo at Jct. of Bluse Point and Island Church Rds.
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:SW
Quarter/Quarter Section:NE
Year Built:1863
Survey Date:1974
Historic Use:church
Architectural Style:Gothic Revival
Structural System:Log
Wall Material:Board and Batten
Architect:John Fiedler
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: St. Wenceslaus Roman Catholic Church
National Register Listing Date:5/12/1975 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. WISCONSIN REGISTERED LANDMARK, #80. TAMARACK LOG CONSTRUCTION, VERTICAL BOARD AND BATTEN SIDING. LIME PLASTER INTERIOR WALLS. ORIGINAL FURNISHINGS. PHOTO T24/31 IS TEXT OF LANDMARK PLAQUE. ADDITIONAL PHOTO CODE IS GREEN 5/17.

St. Wenceslaus is a rare example of the log churches that immigrants built in the early years of Wisconsin’s settlement. Immigrants from Bohemia and present-day Germany who farmed the "islands" (high ground) of Blue Joint Marsh built this small gabled building of tamarack logs in 1863. Within a few years, they weatherproofed the exterior with vertical boards and battens, perhaps adding the square two-stage belfry at that time. The church is plain outside, and in. On the interior, the logs remain apparent through a half-inch coating of lime plaster. John Fiedler, a local craftsman, built the pine pews, cutting them with a foliated profile. The only embellishments that relieve the austerity of the interior space is the artwork over the simple altar, including the image of St. Wenceslaus, patron of Bohemia. Wrought-iron candleholders under each station of the cross remind us that candles and oil lamps once provided the only sources of illumination, and a small iron stove with its extended stovepipe, standing in the aisle, provided the only heat. Regular services ceased in 1891, when the parishioners joined St. Joseph's congregation in Waterloo.
Bibliographic References:PERRIN "ARCHITECTURE OF WISCONSIN" PAGE 124. WATERLOO COURIER 5/30/1996. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

Have Questions?

If you didn't find the record you were looking for, or have other questions about historic preservation, please email us and we can help:

If you have an update, correction, or addition to a record, please include this in your message:

  • AHI number
  • Information to be added or changed
  • Source information

Note: When providing a historical fact, such as the story of a historic event or the name of an architect, be sure to list your sources. We will only create or update a property record if we can verify a submission is factual and accurate.

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model:

Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory Citation
Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, "Historic Name", "Town", "County", "State", "Reference Number".