This Basilica just south of central Milwaukee at 6th Street and Lincoln Avenue is a true gem. It carries an extraordinary history. It’s named after St. Josaphat, an Archbishop in the Kingdom of Poland in the early 1600’s.
The first parish was built as a church in 1889 but burnt to the ground a year later. A second church was built but it was too small to accommodate the congregation of 12,000 parishioners.
The current structure broke ground in 1896 and was completed in 1901. It is based on a smaller version of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Both structures have a cross shaped floor plan with a huge central dome.
Much of the construction materials were re-purposed from the closed U.S. Post Office and Customs House in Chicago. Most of the stained glass windows were imported from Innsbruck, Austria.
The Basilica today is the largest church in Milwaukee. It seats over 1,000 on the main floor with hundreds more in the galleries.