The History of Trinity Lutheran Church - Milwaukee
Trinity was founded by immigrants from Pomerania, Germany in 1847 and is the second oldest Missouri Synod Congregation in Wisconsin.
Trinity has occupied several sites in the Milwaukee area. The first was on 4th Street between Wells and Kilbourn -- from 1847 through 1851. Trinity's next location was on 4th and Wells from 1851 through 1878. Trinity's current location, known as Terrace Garden, was constructed in 1878. The building was designed by Fredrick Velguth in Victorian Gothic style. The total cost (in 1878 dollars) was $43,500 ($40,000 for the church, $3,500 for the organ) which was paid in full by the completion of construction. The building is built out of cream city brick and rests on a limestone foundation. The Church is built in the shape of a cross, 145 feet long, 89 feet wide and 54 feet high. There are three towers with spires, the largest of which is the north tower at 200 feet tall. This tower is topped by a golden sphere with a cross measuring 14 1/2 feet tall. The bell tower has 3 real bells (keyed in "D", 'F#' and 'A') with a combined weight of 5263 lbs. These bells still ring today at the start of each service. All interior woodwork was hand carved from Wisconsin Oak and Ash. The pulpit, a creation of Gothic art in wood, is shaped like a communion chalice and topped by a shell-like canopy. Stained glass windows behind the alter feature the Gospel writers. Above the altar is a roundel of Jesus and the children. Paintings in the altar, created by Fredrich Wehle, present two different themes one beginning in Advent and one in Lent. The original church lighting consisted of two gas-list chandeliers - one with 72 burners and the other with 48. The current Belgium wrought iron chandeliers with electric lights were installed in 1942. The building was declared a Milwaukee landmark in 1967, a State Historical Landmark in 1979 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Please see the photos below.
A new addition, connected to the church, was completed in 2006 which included offices, meeting rooms and an elevator. This addition was built on the site of the original parsonage which had been used as office and meeting space.
During 1879, the William Schuelke Company of Milwaukee built and installed the church organ. The total cost for the organ was $3,500. The pipe enclosure is 30 feet high by 20 feet wide and consists of 34 registers and 1600 pipes. Erhalt Brielmeier built the organ case, which matches the altar. The organ was placed on the National Historic Register in 1979.
Trinity operated a Lutheran School from 1869 to 1959.
Trinity was the first Lutheran congregation in Milwaukee to integrate African Americans (1949).
1959 marked the end of German language services at Trinity.
Between 1855 and 1883 - Trinity helped establish three daughter congregations -- St. Stephen, Immanuel and Bethlehem.
Hover over the thumbnails below for a description and double-click for larger images.