Refurbished domes bolted back into place at St. Stanislaus: 'To restore the church to how it was built'

MILWAUKEE -- Built in the 1800s, St. Stanislaus Church near 5th and Mitchell streets in Milwaukee has sustained many years of wear and tear, but the long-standing parish is slowly coming back to life.

On Wednesday, Sept. 18, St. Stanislaus Church was being returned to its beginnings.

George Baird

"We want to restore the church to how it was built," said Abbe George Baird, St. Stanislaus clerical oblate.

After a meticulous, months-long process, on Wednesday, both of the church's refurbished copper domes were lifted high, set, and bolted into place -- just as the church was originally built, almost 150 years ago.

"Three-thousand man-hours are going into this project," said Don Walter, vice president of FJA Christiansen Roofing.

"I never would have thought to see this day," said Baird. "It's truly providential. That's the best way to describe it."

Mary Lou Wirtz

Down below, the re-installation drew in parishioners like Mary Lou Wirtz.

"Watching this today is reminding me of the original Polish immigrants," said Wirtz. "I know that when they wrote home to Poland, to the relatives who were still coming, they said, 'When you get to the harbor and you see the two domes, you know you're home.' So my great-grandchildren, my great-great-grandchildren, perhaps, will be the ones to say, 'These domes mean home.'"

There's still more work to be done; however, church officials say their goal is for all of the scaffolding to be removed, and all restoration work to be complete by Christmas 2019.