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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"

Chapter  38 - Eau Claire Churches

Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

(-as transcribed from pages 512 - 513)

The Germans of this institution at the date of its inception were from about 1850 to 1875 associated with the English speaking Catholics of Eau Claire in what became known in those years as St. Patrick's parish. They worshipped in one church as one body, and the children of both people received instruction in the same school. In 1875 the German members of the congregation thought fit to separate themselves from St. Patrick's, and, numbering about sixty families, erected a new frame church and schoolhouse on the west side of Dewey street. Thus was founded the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The work was done under the superintendence of Rev. P. Geyer, who was succeeded May 27, 1877, by Rev. Joseph Boehm, who laid the cornerstone of the present brick structure August 22, 1880. It was completed in June, 1881, and is one of the finest church edifices in Eau Claire, with a pleasing interior. It is 145 by 47 feet, and has two spires 105 feet high, which have been damaged several times by lightning. It has 88 pews, with a seating capacity of 400. Standing on rising ground, the building is one of the chief landmarks of the city. Its present membership is about three hundred families, or fifteen hundred souls. A handsome brick school building was erected in 1910, two stories and basement, top floor and auditorium, about 90 by 60 feet in dimensions, costing $35,000. It has 200 pupils under the instruction of five Francescan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. A convent for sisters residing on the church property was erected in 1880.

On the death of Father Boehm, was succeeded in 1893 by Rev. John P. Metzler, who was succeeded by Rev. P. Geyer in 1899, who died August 15, same year. He was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Wiedman, who remained until 1908, when the Rev. Father Herman Joseph Untraut, the present pastor, who was born in Meckenbenson, Kingdom Wuertemberg, Germany, July 28, 1854. Classical education received at Mehreran by Bregenz, Austria, theological at Eichstaedt, Bavaria. He came to the United States in 1882, and was ordained to the priesthood at St. Francis' Seminary September 23, 1882. The first church was at Edson, Chippewa county, and was called the Sacred Heart Church. Here he remained for five years, during which time a beautiful parochial schoolhouse was erected under his supervision and as the result of his efforts. In 1887 he was transferred to Arcadia, Wis., where he was pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help until 1893, during which time another parochial school was erected under his management. From there he went to the Holy Trinity Church at LaCrosse, and remained its pastor there for fifteen years, then came to Eau Claire in 1908, where, under his supervision, the new school and auditorium was erected in 1910. He also remodeled the sister's residence and made many other valuable improvements on the church property, and his constant efforts toward the welfare of the church and its congregation are always to be witnessed.

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