St. Mark's Episcopal Church

Also known as: Community Care, Inc. Child Care; Murray Funeral Home
130 E. Maple St., Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

19th Century, wood framed church repurposed as a day care center.

Photos 

Overview Looking Northwest

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2012

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Map 

Description 

Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church was officially founded on March 25, 1855, a year before Beaver Dam was chartered as a city. (Wisconsin was granted statehood in 1848.) In 1856, a lot was purchased at the corner of Beaver and Front Streets this small, wooden gothic structure was built. The cornerstone was laid on May 15, 1858 and by 1860, the building was well furnished and debt-free.

In 1865, the building was found to be in disrepair and was moved to the corner of East Maple and North Lincoln Streets. The congregation made $1,200 worth of improvements to the building and the restored structure seated about 100 persons. A bell was given as a memorial (R.F. Sweet Memorial Bell) and was placed in the tower behind newly constructed louvers.

In 1887 the building was substantially improved with the addition of electric lighting, addition of a sloped, shingled roof, fresh paint, gilding of the cross on the tower, new red carpeting and stained glass windows in the nave.

In 1893 the building was enlarged by using the chancel as a sanctuary and choir area and extending the building to the North. A small office was added to the rear of the building.

Many church social events were held in other buildings such as the hotel and Masonic Temple and local businesses, because of the lack of a social hall at the church. So in the 1920s, a basement was dug using volunteer labor and the lower area was fashioned into a parish hall. The new space contained a kitchen, rest rooms, furnace room and a guildhall, which also served as the church Sunday School.

In 1977 the congregation commissioned a “Report on Expansion Alternatives,” with options including remodeling and expanding the wood frame building at a cost of up to $125,000, rebuilding on the same site or building a new building at a new location.

In May 1978, an existing Assembly of God church structure in Beaver Dam became available. The building was purchased August 1, 1978 and the first service was planned for October.

This building was sold to Murray Funeral Home the following year. Many in the congregation and the community hoped that the building would be maintained for its historical significance. As a result, some of the furnishings and stained glass windows purposely remained in the building after the sale. Originally intended as a funeral chapel, the building was later used for worship services and today it serves as a day care business.

--Adapted from the church history, published on church's website.

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on November 28, 1980
Reference number
80000132
Area of significance
Architecture
Level of significance
Local
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic function
Religious structure
Current function
Religious structure
Period of significance
1850-1874
Significant year
1858

Update Log 

  • August 11, 2012: Updated by J.R. Manning: Removed from "Stone" category (it is wood framed) updated status, added description and added photos.

Sources