Dave Reid
Best of Doors Open

The Magnificent Basilica

St. Josaphat is a popular tourist and Doors Open destination. Our photos take you inside.

By - Sep 24th, 2013 02:43 pm
The Basilica of St. Josaphat

The Basilica of St. Josaphat

The annual Doors Open event has gone virtual this year, due to the pandemic, and will run from September 26 through October 11, but will still offer interesting tours, with participating, historic buildings and organizations in Milwaukee showcasing their sites through virtual content ranging from photos to videos to 360 degree-virtual reality tours. Here is the second of a series on the Top 5 offerings by Doors Open: 

The Basilica of St. Josaphat, 2333 S. 6th St., is one of Milwaukee’s most visible landmarks and its story dates back to 1800s.

In 1896 Father Wilhelm Grutza purchased materials from the U.S. Post Office and Customs House in Chicago, which had been slated for demolition, and had the materials shipped by 500 flatcars to Milwaukee. The materials from the post office were used to construct the St. Josaphat Church, which was formally dedicated in 1901.

In 1929 Pope Pius XI declared St. Josaphat Church the third basilica in the United States.

A storm in the early 1990s damaged the exterior dome and revealed that interior restoration efforts were badly needed.

During the 1990s Uihlein Wilson Architects worked with the St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation, which was founded in 1991 to preserve and restore the building, on repairs to the exterior dome, restoration of the interior, and designing of the Pope John Paul II Pavilion as an integrated addition to the basilica, which opened in 2000. Improvements continue as the foundation is currently planning on a $500,000 project to light the dome.

And today, according to the website TripAdvisor it is the second most recommended tourist destination in Milwaukee.

If you missed out on visiting the basilica during Doors Open Milwaukee it is open to visitors daily, Monday thru Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The entrance is through the Pope John Paul II Pavilion and Visitors Center.

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Categories: Doors Open

4 thoughts on “Best of Doors Open: The Magnificent Basilica”

  1. Nathan says:

    Thanks for this post on St Josophat. I’m an avid reader of this blog and an enthusiastic fan of the Basilica. This church is a living testament to the culture and faith of Polish immigrants. It continues to be a vibrant community and is active in the neighborhood with its food pantry, school, and ESL classes.

  2. Jerry says:

    I’ve taken many visitors here including a visiting family from Brittany, France. Everyone is amazed and in awe. Most Milwaukee residents do not know just how awesome and amazing the relic room is in the basement chapel. The treasure there is even more impressive than what one would find anywhere in Europe.

  3. steve P says:

    One of the best Treasures of Milwaukee’s south side!I show people from outside Milwaukee photos of this Church and they find it awesome!

  4. Claude Krawczyk says:

    Thanks Dave, but folks should know the dome lighting is now done! In fact, the Basilica dedicated the new lighting system just last week. In case you missed it, here some of the media exposure:



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