St. Francis' Church

The hill on the south end of the downtown business area in Cedarburg is not as high as the bluff at the north end of the downtown business area in Port Washington, but both high areas serve as the home of a church. St. Mary's church in Port Washington was the web page feature in January. This month it is St. Francis Borgia Catholic church in Cedarburg that is featured.

The original St. Francis church, built in 1842, was located near Pioneer Road and Wauwatosa Road, adjacent to the current church cemetery. This building was erected in 1870 and dominates the view to the south on Washington Avenue. The predominantly Irish congregation donated most of the $30,000 it cost for the building, but a public subscription was used to pay for the land. Three-fourths of the town's people who subscribed were non-Catholics.
Shot of downtown Cedarburg with St. Francis Church
When the church became too small in the 1950s, pastor Fr. Leo Zingsheim devised a plan to tear this building down and to build a larger church on the site. Steve Fischer, who was the mayor of Cedarburg at the time, but also a member of St. Francis church, put pressure on the pastor. The building was saved and Cedarburg's preservation effort started. The space problem was solved by building another church north of Cedarburg.

The members of Immanuel Lutheran church also had a space problem, the first one occurring in 1862. The original members of the parish split and built 1st Immanuel Church on the north side of town, Their small frame building, located about one block west of Washington Avenue again became too small in 1882. This stone edifice was then built at the foot of the hill leading to St. Francis church. In 1956, the church again became too small and this led to the formation of Faith Lutheran Church.

Another historic building is the one located in the left foreground. What is now the Stage Coach Inn was the Central House that was built in 1853.
St. Francis Church exterior.