The Island Church

Good news! We’re fixing the steeple on our little church

Directors are shoring up the structural supports for the steeple, delightfully akimbo, so it survives another 154 years.

The louvers in the bell tower need repair or replacement. Major work will be done by PPM LLC of Sun Prairie. Built in 1863, the Island Church is located at the corner of Island Church and Blue Joint Roads in the Town of Waterloo, WI.

The scaffolding will be erected soon, the project to be completed in October. The board is looking forward to learning more about the history of the steeple and the bell that tolls each summer at the annual picnic and in observation of St. Wenceslaus Day this Sunday, September 24.

The Waterloo Courier reports that pictures of the bell were recently taken as part of the preservation planning phase of this project and the board discovered that the bell was cast in 1867 by the J.G. Stuckstede and Bro. foundry in St. Louis, Missouri.

“This little church has survived for 154 years, and we are going to take the steps necessary to help it continue to stand high its hillside for as many years as possible” Island Church Foundation President Chantel Blaschka said.

If interested in helping with this project, donating time or materials to the steeple preservation project, or making a donation to help continue to preserve the Island Church in the future, e-mail islandchurchfoundation@gmail.com.

Donations to the Island Church Foundation to help continue the mission to preserve the Island Church, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, can be sent to Island Church Foundation, c/o Chantel Blaschka, P.O. Box 489, Sun Prairie, WI 53590. Donations can also be made in person at either of the annual events.

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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.

Wait, there’s more here!

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.

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The Island Church is listed #75000070 on the National Register of Historic Places.

WHERE TO FIND US

We’re located at
W7911 Blue Joint Road, Waterloo WI 53594

EMAIL US

at islandchurchfoundation@gmail.com

WANT TO CALL US?

(608) 577-0616