Architect William J. Brinkmann learned “skyscraper” design while a supervisor at the architectural office of Burnham & Root.
Our church was dedicated on June 8, 1902, and is thought to be the first Catholic church in the United States to feature fireproof steel construction together with non-combustible materials.
Interior supports are made of 65-foot steel columns carrying the steel trusses spanning the 66-foot nave.
Elaborate coffered ceiling is made of fire-resistant heavy plaster on steel lath.
Roof beams are made of steel into which fitted hollow tiles which received the exterior shingles.
There is no woodwork anywhere, including the mullions of the stained-glass windows.
About the Interior
All of the art glass windows except one (can you guess?) are the work of F. X. Zettler of Franz Mayer & Co.
The “story” windows in the nave illustrate events in the life of Jesus or particular saints. The scrolls are written in Kashubian (language closely related to Polish.)
The “medallion” windows in the nave depict Jesus or the saints. Donors’ names used to be listed in the base, but the letters have fallen off over the years.
The richly colored windows of the apse focus on key events in the life of Christ. Seals symbolizing each of the seven sacraments sit on the dome above each of these windows.
The angels and saints in the heavenly city of Jerusalem is depicted in the arch above the apse.
On the balcacchino “ecce tabernaculum dei cum hominibus apoc XI II” means “Behold, the dwelling of God is with people.”
You will notice Fr. Francis X. Lange’s image in the glass in the back of the church, directly visible from the altar. Fr. Lange was the beloved pastor who raised the donations and managed the construction of the church.
About the Original Congregation
St. Josaphat Parish was formed to serve the immigrants from the Kashubian area of current day northern Poland. The Kashubes spoke their own language and their customs differed from their Polish and German neighbors.
St. Josaphat was canonized in 1867, and this parish was formed in 1883 and named for him. To this day, it is common to see new parishes named for recently canonized saints.