Steven Sagrillo 0

Save the Old Church in Kewaunee

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In 1865, a congregation of local residents incorporated the first German Lutheran Church in the area. They rapidly outgrew their first wooden church building. This unique gothic style church building was built in 1882 using horse led wagons. Until 1969, it was one of the tallest, standing brick structures in the city of Kewaunee. It is still one of the oldest. Over the years, the congregation kept growing and in 1953 they moved uptown into a new modern building. The Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church still thrives today.

Since then, the building went through a couple of incarnations. It housed a lectern factory for fifty years much of which was run by the Gallenberger family and then a successful antique shop run by Tom Bintz. I took possession in January 2015 and immediately recognized the historic and cultural value of the building. I have been trying to refurbish and repurpose the edifice ever since. It has been slow going using available funds and materials. My plans are to create a contemporary cultural center, but still keeping the historical value of the building. A variety of venues would include small weddings, lectures, documentary movies followed by discussion groups, art showings, and all staged within the fascinating history of the building and its architecture.

Local folks were stunned when the city of Kewaunee, Wisconsin issued a demolition order on the building just before Christmas in 2020. The building does need some TLC, but a recent engineering report stated the structure is in ‘good general condition.’ Many longtime residents of Kewaunee, and even newcomers, still share cherished memories in this place. Grassroots support has grown rapidly. We need to get the word out to stop this disregard for this historic structure. Please support our effort to stop the destruction and save the church for the generations to come.

The old Lutheran Church Building has been submitted to the Wisconsin Historical Society for consideration in membership as well as The National Trust for Historic Places. We need your help to show that volumes of Kewaunee area residents, as well as people around the county, care about Wisconsin's cultural landmarks.

Let the Mayor, the City Administrator, the Planning Commission, and the City Council know that we value our local heritage and do NOT want this building demolished. Ask them to consider removing it from the demolition list as soon as possible.

Additional video is available at:

Please sign the petition to show your support! We are trying for 500 signatures. Comments are appreciated. Thanks.

N.B.: It has come to my attention that a number of supporters have donated to this petition. Please note, neither I nor the church receives any of these funds. I apologize if the splash screen is misleading. I have no control over how manages their site. Any problems might be worked out with your credit card company. A Go-Fund-Me campaign may be forthcoming. S_

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