Architecture of First Lutheran Church

A few  bits of history from the application for the National Register of Historic Places:

1) The First Lutheran Church is one of the finest frame 19th century churches remaining in Dane County.  There are ten frame Dane County churches on the Wisconsin Inventory of historic Places.  Of these, four have been substantially altered, two are very simple in design and four are good examples of their type.  The First Lutheran is one of these.  The other three are Gothic Revival in style, while the First Lutheran is essentially Greek Revival with Gothic details.  This element of classicism is typical of Germanic architecture of the 1850s and 1860s.  The Victorian Gothic exterior and interior details added in the 1885 remodeling add a further dimension to the architectural significance, not so much for their artistic merit as for the mere fact that they survive….in addition the interior decoration — the alter, the pulpit, the kerosene lamp chandeliers, the stoves and the hand-grained pews — convey the sense of a 19th century rural house of worship better than almost any other building remaining in Dane County.

1)  Pipe Organ: The instrument is a two manual organ with pedal, built at the turn of the century by William Schuelke, of Milwaukee.  It is a rare instrument.  This organ is perhaps the only surviving example of a Schuelke organ with tubular pneumatic construction.  That is to say, tubes made of lead connect each pipe to the wind chest. Source: The Lost Finish (repair estimate $25,000 at that time)  Actually, there were a few remaining.  And, from the application:  …the organ deserves special note.  It was built in 1907 by the William Schuelke firm of Milwaukee one of four pipe organ manufacturers in Wisconsin’s history and a regionally significance company.  Schuelke organs were noted for their excellent sound, a light, clear sound that was distinctly Germanic.  …the organ is completely intact and restorable.  Of the several hundred organs built by the Schuelke firm over its approximately 35 year history (ca. 1890-1925), only 20 or 30 remain intact, only thee of which are in Wisconsin.

2)  Roof:  The roof was originally cedar shingles.

3) The original steeple was a short, boxy structure not used in the remodel to add the extension to the church.  There were at one time some working shutters covering some windows.  The pulpit was lowered two or three feet at the remodel time.  The stencils are reproduced from the original

4) It is a “remarkably intact frame Victorian church building.”

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