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St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church - Waterloo


The “Island Church”



Church located in area known as The Island, intersection of Blue Joint and Island Church Roads, town of Waterloo


32-page history available upon contacting the society


Built in 1863, St. Wendeslaus Church served families who came chiefly from Bohemia and Germany. This little church, significant in Wisconsin's architectural heritage, closed in 1891. It is still opens for special masses. The plaque is dated 1970. An emblem in the upper left corner indicates that the church is a Wisconsin Registered Landmark.


When this part of the country was hardly more than a wilderness, faithful Catholics, who lived east of the village, felt the need for a church and with the crude instruments they had, set about to build with logs from the woods nearby, the edifice which today still stands as a silent and forceful symbol of the faith that motivates the men and women who settled east of Waterloo 75 years ago.


It is called the "Island Church" and it is located on the "island" several miles east of the village. Although no regular services have been held in the church for 30 years, everything inside remains just as it was when the last mass was read. The altar still stands with its candle sticks and other religious articles. On the walls, the pictures depicting the stations of the cross still hang just as they did when the church was in use. The pews also remain. The windows were boarded.


When the church was built, priests from Watertown and later Waterloo read mass every so often. On the Sundays when no mass was read, the parishioners would gather in the church to hear some member of the congregation read passages from the scripture and conduct prayers.


Some years after the church was built, the members of the congregation built a school in order that their children might be instructed in the elements of their religion.  Each summer for many years, nuns would spend a number of weeks during the summer conducting classes in religion.  The school building has been torn down.


The building is in a beautiful rural area, located on Island Church Road, about 1 & 1/4 miles west of County G, between Waterloo and Lake Mills. Marshes and a hog explain how this locality received its name. After the settlers started the custom of giving certain localities suggestive names, which still cling to the neighborhoods.  “Hog Island" was applied to the district embracing the southern part of Section 3 and parts of Sections 10 & 11, and was separated from Dutch and Bohemian Islands by marshes. During the time that the railroad was under construction, there was a man (who we will call Smith), who lived a few rods north of the railroad crossing at the east end of the cut known as "Gorders cut." The man's uncle, Moses Powers, who lived between Waterloo and Portland, owned a grown pig that he needed to feed the railroad boarders. The story goes that "Smith" stole the pig and dressed it. It was found later in his shed by the law. Due to the publicity the railroad workers gave the incident, this section has since been known as “Hog Island.”


[Derived from the Waterloo Courier, 11 22 1934]

St. Wenceslaus Day
Held at Island Church

09 24 2003


St. Wenceslaus Day will be observed at St. Wenceslaus Church, also known as the Island Church, located in the town of Waterloo.


A special service will mark the rededication of the recently renovated church building, which is observing its 140th anniversary this year.


St. Wenceslaus Church is registered on the National Register of Historic Places in Wisconsin and in the State Registered Landmarks. The church building was constructed in 1863 by a new congregation of Catholic families in the area. The building served families until 1891 when members registered at St. John's Catholic Church in Waterloo.


The 32x34-foot Island mission church has a log foundation. It is very eastern in style and resembles a primitive Slavic building. The interior is very plain with lime plaster over the log walls. Original unpainted pine pews, handmade by an early parishioner, are still in place.


A small iron stove with extended pipes, stands in the aisle where it stood more than 100 years ago. The choir loft is a platform raised about three feet from the floor.


The church, located in the area known as The Island at the intersection of Blue Joint and Island Church Roads, recently underwent an extensive two-year renovation to repair and improve the building's foundation.


The project included a new foundation, floor, entry way and repainting and cleaning of the inside. Future plans include repainting the outside and landscape work.


Dave Tillotson, secretary of the Island Church Foundation Inc., which owns and maintains the historic structure, said foundation work included a cement foundation and crawl space under the church to protect the building from moisture damage. The church floor was originally placed directly on a dirt foundation. Cement block on the outside has been covered with a facing of rock.


Some of the logs were replaced and plaster cracks were patched on the inside. The entry way has a viewing spot in the wall where the original logs can be seen.


Much of the work on the renovation project was completed by volunteers. Log work was done by Lyle Lidholm of Watertown, an expert in reconstructing log buildings.


Tillotson said the Island Church Foundation will likely need to have a fund-raiser in the future for a new roof and work in the steeple.


150th Anniversary of Island Church

07 14 2013

 YouTube video clip, DJCGS


St. Wenceslaus Church Cemetery


Location: Section 14, Waterloo Township, Jct. Island Church Rd. & Blue Joint Rd. The church is located three miles southeast of Waterloo.  Also known as the Island Church.

The church has 138 years of history. It was erected by German-Bohemian immigrants from the Landskroun (Landskron) region of present-day Czechoslovakia, northeast of Prague. The church was constructed in 1863 of hand-hewn logs, covered in board and batten, and featured a simple bell tower. The last church service was in 1891.


This time capsule of early Wisconsin was restored by volunteers from the Island Church Foundation. Christened St. Wenceslaus Church, it was known even then as the Island Church because it stands on a hill overlooking marshland.


HABERMAN                    Frank - 1829 - June 14, 1909

                                             Anna - w/o Frank - 1847 - 1935  (nee Stangler)

STANGLER                      Frank - d. Feb.13, 1895    77 y

FIEDLER                           Johann - May 22, 1829  - April 25, 1890

                                             Anna - Jan. 15, 1831 - Aug. 29, 1890   (nee Haberman)

                                             Joseph - 1872 - 1959

MENZ                                 Johanna - Mar. 1, 1849 - Dec. 24, 1922

JANISCH                           Emilie - 1868 - 1915

                                             Josepha - Mother - 1824 - 1917

SPRINGER                        Mary - w/o Hubert - May 4, 1855 - Jan. 4, 1901

                                             Hubert - Nov. 3, 1853 - Nov. 7, 1908

BLASCHKA                      Elvina - d. Jan. 5, 1974 (nee Blaska)

                                             Benjamin F. - Jan. 13, 1901 - Mar. 26, 1978

SPRINGER                        Ida - Aug. 9, 1879 - Mar. 19, 1890

ARNOLD                           Anna - w/o Joseph - Feb. 19, 1855 - Oct. 24, 1905

                                             Joseph - Nov. 16, 1854 - Nov. 16, 1932

VAITH                               Emielie - Feb. 22, 1844 - Mar. 10, 1876

SKALITZKY                    Rosa - Mar. 31, 1833 - Jan. 3, 1901

SPRINGER                        Joseph - d. Apr. 17, 1886   87 y

                                             Anna - w/o Joseph - d. Jan. 16, 1888   68 y

VEITH                                Frank - father -1849 - 1925

                                             Joseph - d. Apr. 17, 1886   68 y  2 m 10 d

                                             Anna      - w/o Joseph - d. Sep.12, 1891   73 y 3 m 4 d

GREGOR                           Joseph - (inscr. Buried)

                                             Anna - Aug. 19-1828 - Jun. 23, 1912

BLASCHKA                      Wenzel - b. 1822 in Tschenovir, Bohemia - d. Apr. 5, 1866

                                             Mari Anna - w/o of Wenzel - b. 1821 in Dreihof, Bohemia

                                             d. 11-8-1869 (nee Hebl)

JANISCH                           Ignatz - d. Oct. 20,1878   72 y

TOMSCHE                        Barbara - Jun. 2, 2878  

DAUBRAWA                    Victoria - Sep. 27-1820 - Oct. 17, 1881

                                             Theresia - Dec. 14, 1862 - Feb. 3, 1883

                                             Amalia - 7 y

                                             Agatha - 6 y

                                             Martha - 3 y

FIEBIGER                         T.? - M.? Adeus - illegible

KLECKER                        Josephine - w/o John Sr. - d. Mar. 9, 1865   43 y

TOMSCHE                        Franz - d. Feb. 8, 1865   65 y

KLECKER                        Ignatz - d. 1881   55 y

BARTOSCH                      Joseph - 1836 - 1923

                                             Johanna - w/o Joseph - Jun. 24, 1836 - Jul. 27, 1886

                                             Moritz - s/o Joseph & Johanna - Aug. 19, 1868 - Jun. 24, 1885

VEITH                                Anna - d. Sep. 25, 1861   25 y

                                             Anna - w/o Franz - d. Jan. 21, 1894   74 y 1 m

HABERMAN                    Barney  - s/o Wenzel -  Dec. 8, 1859 - Jun. 29, 1931

KLECKER                        Walter - Jun. 29, 1883 - Jan. 22, 1897

HABERMAN                    Emma -  Sep. 20, 1850 - Nov. 31, 1893 (nee Kraus)

                                             Frank H. - s/o Wenzel -  May 9, 1846 - Mar. 17, 1893

HABERMAN                    Wenzel -  May 13, 1819 - Jun. 22, 1897

                                             Teckla - w/o Wenzel - Jan. 6, 1819 - Apr. 8, 1893

KNETTIG                          Anna - May 23, 2823 - Dec. 5, 1886

FISCHER                           John - May 16?, 1819 - Sep. 23, 1909

                                             Anna - Mar., 1818 - Sep., 1887

                                             John - Father - 1847 - 1880

FIEBIGER                         Anton - Sep. 21, 2824 - Apr. 21, 1890   75 y  7 m

                                             Feronake - w/o Anton - Oct. 4, 1814 - Sep. 21, 1871  56 y 11 m 17 d

FISCHER                           Joseph - Jul. 26, 1870 - Jul. 24, 1878