EASTERN WISCONSIN – The United States has always been a refuge for those seeking freedom. This is especially true for the millions of immigrants who came to this country to escape religious persecution.
It should come as no surprise then that many of the first structures built by immigrant communities were churches. This is true of both urban and rural communities. While the larger city churches are more well-known, here are five historic country churches within a 30-mile drive from Sheboygan.
St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, N683 County Road S, Kewaskum (New Fane)
This church in the Northern Kettle Moraine was built by German immigrants in 1871. Set against the scenic backdrop of the Kettles, this stone edifice was originally called St. Johannes Church before changing its name to the more anglicized St. John in 1965.
St. Matthias Mission, 1081 County Road S, Campbellsport (New Fane)
Just up the road on County Road S is another historic German church. St. Matthias Mission is a modest wood structure placed on the edge of rolling forested hills that are quintessential Kettle Moraine. The Catholic church was constructed in 1861, making it one of Eastern Wisconsin’s oldest churches.
St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, County Road A, Adell
St. Patrick’s was founded by Irish immigrants in 1853, with the current church being built out of split field stone in 1877. While the Gothic revival church is situated in a peaceful rural setting, it is also easily accessible, being only a half mile from WI-Highway 57.
St. Nicholas Catholic Church, W4274 County Road K, Random Lake (Dacada)
This church, located in the unincorporated community of Dacada near Random Lake, was founded by immigrants from Luxembourg in 1848, with the current structure being built in 1911. St. Nicholas is one of the few churches in Eastern Wisconsin to have midnight mass on Christmas.
Saron United Church of Christ, W3830 County Rd. J, Sheboygan Falls (near Johnsonville)
Located in rural Sheboygan Falls near Johnsonville, the current Saron church was built in 1889. A large addition was built on the east side of the building in 1990, but it does not detract from the historic structure, which stands strong among the surrounding plains and farmland.
To read about the history of the ultimate country church, see this earlier feature from the Sun: Holy Hill offers peace and natural beauty 365 days a year.