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St. Hyacinth Roman Catholic Church recognized as Milwaukee County landmark

The church was a Polish-American neighborhood institution for more than 100 years.
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Posted at 7:04 PM, Nov 07, 2022

MILWAUKEE — St. Hyacinth Roman Catholic Church, a historic Polish church in Milwaukee, has been recognized as a County Landmark.

According to the St. Hyacinth Congregation, the Milwaukee County Historical Society's Landmarks Committee will formally designate the church at its annual meeting on Monday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m.

The church, located at 1414 W. Becher St., was a Polish-American neighborhood institution for more than 100 years.

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The church, located at 1414 W. Becher St., was a Polish-American neighborhood institution for more than 100 years.

The church was named for Hyacinth of Poland and was designed by Swiss-born Milwaukee architect Henry Messmer in 1883. The Cream City Brick church features a Renaissance style with some Gothic forms and a Polish spire, according to the St. Hyacinth Congregation.

St. Hyacinth Church was founded in 1883 as the third Polish Catholic church in Milwaukee. According to a news release, the church was founded by the Polish Franciscan, Monsignor Jacek “Hyacinth” Gulski.

In 1873, Gulski was compelled to flee the partition of Poland in the German Empire for resisting forced Germanization, anti-Catholic, and anti-Polish persecution during the Kulturkampf (“culture struggle”)," the St. Hyacinth Congregation said in a news release. "He came to Milwaukee where he became a prominent leader of the Polish community and Milwaukee Archdiocese."

The church now serves a similar role for immigrant Latinos as it once did for Poles as the neighborhood demographics evolved.

Recently, the church was able to raise enough money through fundraising and donations to replace its 98-year-old roof.

Rev. Hugo Londoño, pastor of St. Hyacinth Church, issued the following statement:

“Naming St. Hyacinth a County Landmark means more than just a title, it means a task for the present and future of the Catholic presence on the south side of Milwaukee. This parish was founded and built by Polish immigrants, and St. Hyacinth is now cherished and supported by new immigrants, the Hispanic community! Both the Polish and Hispanics are rooted in their Catholic faith. Both love the beauty of sacred art in their churches and love to participate in the sacramental life of the Church. This is why I wanted St. Hyacinth to become a landmark, to say, ‘Thank you!’ to the Polish community and to say, ‘Let’s keep it up!’ to the Hispanic community.”

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