Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

END OF HIGH ST, ON TOP OF HILL, JUST OFF COUNTY HIGHWAY W

Architecture and History Inventory
END OF HIGH ST, ON TOP OF HILL, JUST OFF COUNTY HIGHWAY W | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:ST. AUGUSTINE CHURCH
Other Name:ST. AUGUSTINE CHURCH
Contributing:
Reference Number:16245
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):END OF HIGH ST, ON TOP OF HILL, JUST OFF COUNTY HIGHWAY W
County:Lafayette
City:
Township/Village:New Diggings
Unincorporated Community:
Town:1
Range:1
Direction:E
Section:26
Quarter Section:NE
Quarter/Quarter Section:NW
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1844
Additions:
Survey Date:1976
Historic Use:church
Architectural Style:Greek Revival
Structural System:Balloon Frame
Wall Material:Wood
Architect:FATHER SAMUEL MAZZUCHELLI
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: St. Augustine Church
National Register Listing Date:2/23/1972 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
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 Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. HABS WI-236.

THIS FRAME CHURCH STRUCTURE IS AN ITALIANATE VARIATION OF THE GREEK REVIVAL STYLE COMBINED WITH GOTHIC PERIOD ELEMENTS.(C) AN OPEN BELL TOWER, POINTED ARCH WINDOWS LOUVERED ON THE OUTSIDE, A GOTHIC ARCH FRONT DOOR, GREEK DENTIL AND IONIC FRET CORNICE AND PILASTER END BOARDS CHARACTERIZE THIS STRUCTURE. UNPAINTED WOOD PLANKING RUSTICATED TO RESEMBLE STONE COVERS THE EXTERIOR. THE INTERIOR HAS TENELATED CEILINGS AND A HAND CARVED ALTAR. THERE IS A SMALL EXTENION AT THE REAR.


Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, pioneer missionary and skilled architect-builder, designed more than twenty churches in mining towns in the Upper Mississippi region in the 1830s and 1840s. St. Augustine Church is the only one that survives unaltered. The Italian-born Mazzuchelli ministered to settlements in the Fox River Valley for five years before he became, in 1835, the first Catholic priest in southwestern Wisconsin's lead-mining region. He also served as a missionary to Ojibwes, Menominees, and Ho-Chunks; established several Catholic schools; and founded the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin's first religious order of women.

For the New Diggings church, Mazzuchelli began with the basic Greek Revival form, but added Gothic elements. The front-gabled roof and cornice returns suggest a classical pediment; a wooden frieze, embellished with frets and dentils, wraps underneath the eaves; wooden Doric pilasters define the building’s corners, and squared Doric columns and a meandering frieze grace the roof-top bell-tower. But notice also the unmistakable Gothic details: lancet grooves in the pilasters and columns, pointed corbeling just under the raking cornice, a pointed-arch entry with simple tracery in its transom, and lancet-shaped louvered windows on the church's sides. Even more unusual is the choice of materials: Mazzuchelli used 9-inch-wide wooden planks for the exterior walls, grooving them to mimic stone blocks. Inside the church, the crude pews and the finely carved altar railing are original. St. Augustine's state of preservation does credit to the Knights of Columbus, who still use the church for an annual mass.
Bibliographic References:WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL 7/24/1994. Monroe Times 10/2/2003. A. PERRIN (62) P. 41 AND PERRIN (76) P. 28. B. PERRIN, R. "HISTORIC WISCONSIN BUILDINGS." C. "A SURVEY IN PIONEER ARCHITECTURE, 1835-1870." 2ND ED. 1981, P. 54-55. D. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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