We’re a group of volunteers first organized in 1976 as the Island Church Foundation. Our purpose is to preserve this little church so that those German-Bohemian pioneers in who built it in 1863 of tamarack logs sheathed in board and batten would recognize it today. It has the original altar and pews, hand-sawn of pine, and a tiny choir loft and single confessional. A rope in the entry way reaches up to the original bell. We hold several events during the year, including an old-timey annual picnic the second Sunday of July and its namesake St. Wenceslaus Day the last Sunday of September.
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The people who built and made up the congregation of St. Wenceslaus Church came to the Town of Waterloo in the mid-1840’s and early 1850’s. Some were from Germany but many came from the old Austro-Hungarian province of Bohemia, now a part of Czechoslovakia. The latter, for the most part,came from four tiny villages in a region called Lanskron, in NE Bohemia.
They! bought land on the “islands”—the high ground—in the Blue Joint Marsh and there established their farms and their small church. It was served by missionaries. Regular use was discontinued in 1891.
More history over here on this page!
Built in 1863, the Island Church measures only 32 x 24 feet. The walls of this church are squared-off tamarack logs, the outside is sheathed with vertical boards and battens. The inside is plastered. The pine pews were joined by wooden dowels. A small iron stove with an extended stovepipe stands in the middle of the single aisle.
The enameled white altar bears a Greek cross on its front panel. St. Wenceslaus, flanked by the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, look out at the congregation. The original bell still hangs in the louvered steeple, topped by a flat metal cross.