Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
Built-in the Polish Cathedral style of Catholic architecture, the Basilica of St. Josaphat stands as a symbol of the influence the Archdiocese of Milwaukee once had over the city. Featuring one of the largest copper domes in the world, it seems hard to believe that the basilica is actually one enormous recycling project. This basilica, essentially an enormous cathedral, is modeled after St.Peter's Basilica in Rome. St.Peter's is the seat of the Catholic Church and is well-known throughout the world. This basilica is also only the third basilica in the United States to be built and featured, at the time of completion, the second largest dome in the United States, right behind the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.
As the Polish Catholic community started to build their new church, Pastor Wilhelm Grutza learned that the US Post Office/Customs House in Chicago was in the process of being demolished, and negotiated to have 200,000 tons of salvaged stone shipped north to Milwaukee. The original design called for bricks, but because of the dedication of the (unpaid) parishioners, almost none of the recycled rocks went to waste.
A visitor center in the church provides information on the basilica's history, and contains a free exhibition as well as a small gift shop. The curious can pick up a free brochure for a self-guided tour, but the committed can attend a formal tour after Sunday mass ends, usually at around 11:00.
Header photo by Wikipedia user Sulfur and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.