In recent years, many historic Milwaukee churches have undergone major renovations. Not so much to repair decades of neglect, but to remove renovations made decades ago when the city’s population was enthralled with the idea of modernization.

For example, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Immanuel Presbyterian Church both underwent efforts between 2011 and 2013 to remove those modern improvements made in the 1950s. The area around Yankee Hill, from Van Buren Street to Prospect Avenue is Milwaukee’s historic church alley. Within a few block area there are six churches, and each one is over 150 years old.

Currently, The Basilica of St. Josaphat and St. Stanislaus Church, both landmarks on the Southside, have been undergoing renovations, as have several other churches around the city over the past year.

In the case of Sυmmеrfiеld Unіtеd Mеthоdіst Church, neglect did threaten the building. Years of water damage had taken its toll on the high vaulted Sanctuary ceiling. In 2013, for 9 weeks that began in January, the entire Sanctuary space had a major repair.

Removing century-old lime mortar that was reinforced with horsehair, was no small task because it is basically two inches of solid concrete. In light of the Milwaukee church renaissance and all the work going on in these houses of worship, this photo essay shows the renovation process at Sυmmеrfiеld UMC as an example of the efforts involved.

Lee Matz

Our mission of transformative journalism means that we are editorially independent. Our staff determines what is important news to report on, and in what voice to speak on issues. No one influences our opinion, and no one edits our editors. We are free from commercial bias and are not influenced by corporate interests, political affiliations, or a public preferences that rewards clicks with revenue.

Your Support Matters – Donate Now

As an influential publication that provides Milwaukee with quality journalism, we depend on public support to fulfill our purpose. Our award-winning photojournalism, columns, interviews, and features have helped to achieve a range of positive social impact that enriches our community. Please join our effort by entrusting us with your contribution.