Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Doors Open Milwaukee/Calvary Cemetery Chapel

Milwaukee has so many treasures! When Historic Milwaukee offers Doors Open Milwaukee, an annual event which offers the opportunity to get behind-the-scenes views of the most beautiful architectural gems in the city, including many Catholic churches, it's almost impossible to choose which of the 150 historic buildings to visit.  One site that I definitely wanted to visit was the Calvary Cemetery Chapel.  The Chapel, which had fallen into disrepair and had been badly damaged by vandals, was in danger of being torn down by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in 1992, but a group now known as the Friends of Calvary Cemetery petitioned to save and restore the building.  What a gift the Friends have given to our city in saving and working to restore this landmark!  After perusing my snapshots below, why not visit the Friends of Calvary Cemetery website for more in-depth details on the project as well as many more amazing pictures?  

The Chapel at the top of the hill

The chapel is surrounded by the graves of local Jesuits.
I love the unique circular arrangement of the headstones.

The interior ceiling.  The windows all need replacing.

The remains of the high altar.

An empty rose window.

This is all that's left of the statuary after vandals destroyed them.

The only remaining grave in the crypt belongs to Fr.Idziego Tarasiewicza,
the first pastor of St. Casimir Church in Milwaukee.

Natural skylights between the crypt and the upper chapel.

A view of the cemetery from the chapel. What unique arrangements of the tombstones!  I love the half-circle!

This was in the cement on one of the steps.  It must be a logo for the construction company.
I just found it to be sweet and photo-worthy.

Following the cemetery we enjoyed a humorous and historical visit to Best Place at Pabst Brewery where we discovered King Gambrinus, the legendary Patron Saint of Beer!  (story)   We also learned that the name Pabst means Pope.  So, should we welcome Pope Francis to the United States with a Pabst?  No, I don't think so.

We discovered over-sized lounge furniture at the Milwaukee City Hall, which at one time had been the tallest building in the United States.  The boys just couldn't resist a photo-bomb opportunity!

We can hardly wait for next year's Doors Open Milwaukee for more historical fun and adventure!

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