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528 2ND ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

528 2ND ST

Architecture and History Inventory
528 2ND ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:St. Mary's Roman Catholic School
Other Name:St. Mary's Roman Catholic School
Reference Number:59140
Location (Address):528 2ND ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1952
Additions: 1962 2001
Survey Date:1984
Historic Use:elementary, middle, jr.high, or high
Architectural Style:Neoclassical/Beaux Arts
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name:Not listed
National Register Listing Date:
State Register Listing Date:
Additional Information:For sculpture information, contact SOS! at the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. SOS photo codes: 2/1-3. The school was in the process of being demolished 7/2001.

The following information is from the 2009 Intensive Survey of Menasha:

The St. Mary's (German) Roman Catholic Church complex includes an 1883 Gothic Revival church (AHI#59141; rectory (1936, AHI#59544); convent (1950, AHI#59139); school buildings (1952, 1962 and 2001, AHI#59140) and a garage. In addition, a circa-1935, stone statue of St. Mary stands in the school courtyard. Constructed of cream brick and rising from a rock-faced, limestone foundation, the Gothic Revival-style church is dominated by a 120-foot high, central tower entrance that is topped with a slate-shingled steeple; clock faces are found on all four elevations. A pair of wooden doors rest within the raised, central entry, as well as the flanking street-level entrances. Tall-and-narrow, lancet openings are found throughout the tower, as well as along the side walls; most appear to carry stained-glass windows with modest tracery. The stained glass was designed by the Tyrol Art Glass Company of Innsbruck, Germany. Brick buttressing and pilasters vertically articulate the sidewalls, which are further embellished with a brickwork corbel table; the corbel table is also found along the front and rear elevations. A brick, one-story hyphen connects the church to the rectory on the north while another more recent hyphen connects the church to the 1962 school building to the west.

Although a Catholic mission was established in the Neenah-Menasha area in 1848, St. Mary's German R.C. Church would not be established until 1866, after feeling the need to have a German ethnic-based congregation (St. Borromeo--now St. Patrick's--an Irish congregation, was formed in 1849). Their first church building was the former First Congregational Church located at the subject site. Within two years, St. Mary's had constructed a school; a rectory and convent followed in 1876 and 1879, respectively. In 1883, St. Mary's church was destroyed by fire and the congregation hired St. Louis architect Adolphus Druiding to design the existing Gothic Revival-style church. Druiding had fast become a popular choice for church design in the Midwest. One of the reasons may well have been that he was willing to produce "a church of any size to fit any budget, however, large or small." An 1886 catalog of Druiding's claimed that he designed over 400 church buildings. The church spire was not constructed until 1890.

Although the church building has remained intact from the congregation's early years, the remainder of the complex has seen complete building replacement twice over. The original 1868 school was replaced in the 1920s with a design by E. Brielmaier & Sons, which was later replaced in 1952, with additions in 1962 and 2001-02. The original rectory and convent were replaced in 1898 and more recently in 1936 and 1950, respectively. Both extant structures were designed by Appleton architect Edward Wettengel. The church still operates a school for elementary students (Preschool to 5th grade); however, it is now part of the larger, consolidated, Twin City Catholic Education System. The convent, albeit extant, has been utilized as a ministry and youth retreat since the School Sisters of Notre Dame moved out in 1983. It was first named the La Salle Center, which was later changed to the Mount Tabor Center.
Bibliographic References:"St. Mary Parish, Centennial Celebration, 1867-1967," Anniversary Booklet prepared by the St. Mary's Parish congregation (1967). "St. Mary Parish, Menasha, Celebrates 125 Years, 1867-1992," Anniversary booklet prepared by the St. Mary's Parish congregation, 1992, 8-10, 40. Information regarding the fact that E. Brielmaier & Sons designed the 1920s school from the Wisonsin Architectural Archive Index Edward Wettengel, "St. Mary's Congregation Convent," no date and "St. Mary's Congregation, Menasha, Wisconsin, Plans for a Parsonage Building," no date, Original plans for each on file at the WAA. Information regarding the former convent#25;s conversion to a youth center, Available at Roy A. Hampton, III, "German Gothic in the Midwest: The Parish Churches of Franz George Himpler and Adolphus Druiding," U.S. Catholic Historian, 15:1 (Winter 1977): 55.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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