This month’s ‘Spot a Clock’ is the Basilica of St. Josaphat, located at 620 West Lincoln Avenue in Milwaukee. The surrounding St. Josaphat parish was founded in 1888, and named in honor of a Polish Archbishop. The original parish church, which was more modest than the current structured, was destroyed by a fire in 1889. The pastor hired Erhard Brielmaier to design a new church that would reflect St. Peter’s in Rome, especially its pronounced dome.
During the design stage, the pastor learned that the Chicago Post Office and Custom House was to be demolished, so he purchased the building for $20,000. The building was dismantled and shipped to Milwaukee by rail, and the materials were stored across the street. Brielmaier revised his plans to in-corporate the salvaged materials. Ground was broken in 1896, and the church was completed in 1901. At the time, only the U.S. Capitol building had a larger dome.
The term ‘basilica’ is reserved by the Catholic Church for very special churches. In 1929, St. Josaphat became only the third basilica in the United States.
Four clock dials are spaced evenly around the circumference of the dome. The dials were driven by a Schwalbach movement, located in the southeast tower of the basilica.
The clocks are currently electrified, but portions of the original movement are still present.
The movement continues to provide transfer gears to operate the three bells located one floor above the clock.
Can you guess the location of the clock to the left? The answer will be posted at the November meeting, by the coffee. If you would like to suggest a clock for the newsletter’s ‘Spot a Clock’, please contact Ed Buc at the Chapter meetings or by email.