Grand Avenue Congregational Church - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Posted by: BruceS
N 43° 02.311 W 087° 56.428
16T E 423391 N 4765521
Quick Description: Historic former Congregational Church now Irish Cultural and Heritage Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Location: Wisconsin, United States
Date Posted: 9/5/2011 6:33:50 PM
Waymark Code: WMCGMP
"The Grand Avenue Congregational Church is a Romanesque Revival structure of pressed brick, rock-faced Wauwatosa limestone and Indiana cut stone. Third oldest of Wisconsin Avenue's remaining churches, Grand Avenue Congregational was built in 1887-1888 on what has been Milwaukee's premier residential street.
The distinctive towerless facade is divided into three bays. The lower level is composed of alternating bands of brick and dressed stone while the upper level is of cream brick with windows accented with stone jambs, mullions and voussoirs. Two small side bays are separated from the large central bay by projecting spire-topped piers. The central gabled bay is dominated by a large Diocletian window of leaded glass. The main entrance, slightly recessed, is centrally located below this window. An additional, gabled entrance is located in the west bay.
Grand Avenue Congregational is cruciform in plan and has a slate roof of steeply pitched, intersecting gables. The interior features a semi-circular auditorium with floors that slope gently down toward the pulpit platform on the south wall. Galleries are located on all four walls. Seating capacity is 1200, but up to 1500 persons can be accommodated. Beginning in 1907, various additions have been built to the rear including offices and rooms for various church functions. These do not mar the original church design...
It is significant as an example of a Romanesque Revival church in Milwaukee designed by master architect Edward Townsend Mix. The majority of Mix's ecclesiastical designs in Wisconsin are of Gothic derivation with towered facades and basilica plans. Grand Avenue Congregational, in contrast, is a highly original structure in the Romanesque style.
Although Mix designed other structures in the Romanesque manner including clubhouses, Grand Avenue Congregational is one of his few churches in the style. Compared to his more Richardsonian ecclesiastical work, such as Milwaukee's St. Paul's Episcopal Church (1883-84), Grand Avenue is a startlingly original structure. Its abstracted facade composition and lack of a tower make it one of the more unusual of Milwaukee's major Victorian churches." - National Register Nomination
For the past several years the building has served as the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center of Wisconsin.