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Gesu Church - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 43° 02.313 W 087° 55.636
16T E 424467 N 4765512
Quick Description: Historic Catholic Church on the eastern edge of the Marquette University campus in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Location: Wisconsin, United States
Date Posted: 9/9/2011 12:50:51 PM
Waymark Code: WMCHKP
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 1

Long Description:
Gesu Church is a massive edifice built in 1893-94 on the eastern edge of the Marquette University campus. It is bacilican in plan with transcpts and an apsidal end. The nave measures 50 feet wide, 138 feet long and 70 feet high. The roof is composed of steeply pitched, intersecting gables covered with gray slate. The walls are finished with rock-faced, light-gray limestone laid in coursed ashlar. The Gothic Revival style of Gesu Church was influenced by the cathedrals of northern France. The main facade is dominated by two square towers of differing heights ornamented with stone carved crockets and copper finials. The west tower is similar design, but much shorter. Their polygonal spires are covered with dark gray slate and topped with gold crosses. At the intersection of the nave and transcepts is a spire topped lantern. Below the 28 foot in diameter rose window on the main facade is a projecting entrance vestibule of carved stone added in 1902. It is faced with three gabled Gothic portals enframed with compound arches. The fenestration in the towers, side aisles and clerestory consists of lancet arched windows of stained glass depicting various saints of the Roman Catholic Church. At the ends of the transepts are large arched stained glass windows depitcing the Nativity and the Ascension of Christ. These windows were added at various periods in the history of the church, but all were designed in Munich at the Royal Bavarian Institute for Stained Glass under under the direction of F. X. Zettler.

Gesu Church has been described by local architectural historian Richard W. E. Perrin as one of the most imposing church edifices in Milwaukee... It is significant as an example of nineteenth century ecclesiastical French Gothic architecture, and for its association with noted Milwaukee architect, Henry C. Koch. Gesu is one of the city's major examples ecclesiastical French Gothic architecture. It was designed by Heny C. Koch, one of Milwaukee's most accomplished architects of the nineteenth century. Among his major commissions were the City Hall, the Pfister Hotel and Calvary Presbyterian Church, as well as all of the public schools built in Milwaukee between 1873 and 1881 and numerous imposing residences. Within a limited budget of slightly over $150,000 he was able to complete the present church within 20 months after the cornerstone was laid on May 21, 1893. The resulting Gothic style structure is sparing in its display of ornamentation both inside and out. The interior is divided into an upper and lower church with a seating capacity of 1,450 each. Among the significant interior features are the outstanding stained glass windows; the marble "Pieta," the only known sculpture of the noted 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Dupre in the United States; the elaborate marble high alter designed by the Italian artist Vanvini and installed by Milwaukee architect, Alexander C. Eschweiler in 1927; and the windows above the main entries were designed by Conrad Schmitt. C.F. Kindt was the builder and Frank Niezorawski was the mason." - National Register Nomination

Street address:
1145 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


County / Borough / Parish: Milwaukee

Year listed: 1986

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1875-1899

Historic function: Religion

Current function: Religion

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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