The Magnificent Basilica
St. Josaphat is a popular tourist and Doors Open destination. Our photos take you inside.
The 2017 Doors Open Milwaukee takes place on September 23rd and 24th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here’s a look at one of our favorite destinations of the annual event in our Best of Doors Open series. series.
The Basilica of St. Josaphat, 620 W. Lincoln Ave., 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.