Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

N2805 COUNTY HIGHWAY AB

Architecture and History Inventory
N2805 COUNTY HIGHWAY AB | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:ST. LAWRENCE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Other Name:
Contributing:
Reference Number:26235
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):N2805 COUNTY HIGHWAY AB
County:Kewaunee
City:
Township/Village:Franklin
Unincorporated Community:STANGELVILLE
Town:22
Range:23
Direction:E
Section:10
Quarter Section:NE
Quarter/Quarter Section:NE
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1892
Additions:
Survey Date:1975
Historic Use:church
Architectural Style:Gothic Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Cream Brick
Architect:JAN PAULU
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: St. Lawrence Catholic Church
National Register Listing Date:2/21/1989 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:
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 State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

POINTED ARCHED WINDOWS W/ HOODSCORBELLING STONE CAPS ON BUTTRESSES BUILTAS PART OF CZECH SETTLEMENT IN AREA

In the mid-nineteenth century, Kewaunee County attracted many Czech immigrants, who fled Central Europe to escape political upheaval, military conscription, and the forced-labor requirements of the Hapsburg emperor. A group of Catholics from Domazlice, Bohemia, began settling the town of Franklin around 1855, and St. Lawrence Church, then as now, provided a center for ethnic cohesion. The annual Kermis, held on August 10, marks the feast of St. Lawrence with traditional Czech delicacies.

When St. Lawrence’s parish decided to replace its original log structure in 1892, Jon Paulu, a church architect of Czech descent in Milwaukee, created a Gothic Revival edifice. The cream-brick church features a front-gabled facade, whose corner pinnacles and pronounced battlements, together with a heavy corbel table, lead the eye to a buttressed central steeple, crowned by a pyramidal spire.
Gothic and Gothic Revival architecture sought to evoke a sense of awe in the presence of God. And indeed visitors who enter this church feel diminished by the dramatic Gothic vaulted ceiling, graced by six frescoes illustrating episodes in the life of Christ. William Scheer of Appleton, who created these frescoes in 1912, had studied church decoration in Germany. In 1957, Louis Shrovnal, a Czech painter from Kewaunee, restored Scheer's paintings and added his own stencilwork along the ribs of newly installed Tudor-style corbeled arches. The apse, outlined in zigzagging chevrons, is also elaborately stenciled. It frames a lavish altar, approximately thirty feet tall, created around 1894 in the Perpendicular Gothic style by Joseph Svoboda, a Czech immigrant who also carved smaller side altars with an array of Gothic motifs--lancet arches, quatrefoils, and pinnacles--and trimmed them in gold and silver.

Czech-language inscriptions abound, and statues and stained glass windows depict the patron saints of Bohemia and other holy figures dear to Czechs. On a knoll near the church is a small cemetery, where many headstones bear Czech-language inscriptions and crosses executed in a traditional Czech style. Czech remained the official language for religious instruction at St. Lawrence until 1930, and worship services in Czech persisted into the 1940s.
Bibliographic References:Date of construction: cornerstone. LUXEMBURG NEWS 10/5/1995. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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