It was the afternoon of May 15, 2018 when news came in that a historic church in downtown Milwaukee was crumbling beneath rampant and unforgiving flames.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 1046 N. 9th Street was built in 1878 and in a matter of hours, all that was left was a shell filled with smoldering ashes and a congregation with no where to call their church home.
It’s now 2 1/2 years later. Reverend M. Douglas Peters, Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church tells WMTJ’s Melissa Barclay that the roof is now water tight and the entire restoration process is almost 40 percent complete.
“That now allow us to begin with the mechanicals. That will begin in the undercroft area and then be brought up to the church level, the chapel or the chancel area,” said Peters.
The rehabilitation, however, has been lengthy and not without challenges.
“What we are dealing with is not only the COVID pandemic delays but also the fact that this is a new process. This just isn’t a general build. We are working with a building that was initially constructed in the 1870’s and now we’re needing to bring it up to code. So there’s a lot of inspections and alterations that need to be made in order to make this a safe and also a viable building to go forward for the next 100-200 years,” Peters said.
He says there’s still elaborate details that need to be added to the ornate structure and that will take time. The goal is to get the church back to it’s original state.
The 50 member church now worships in the office area until the restoration is complete. Peters expects that to be sometime in 2022.
“The next step in the process is the mechanicals which will be installed in the lower level which is going to be the heating, electrical, and the plumbing. But then what we are going to be doing is finishing the lower level which requires our kitchen to be completed, bathrooms but also to complete the chapel area that we’ll have downstairs which will serve as our temporary sanctuary.”
The total cost of the church rehabilitation will be between 22-24 million dollars. Peters says they will need to raise up to 7 million to finish the project.
If you’d like to donate to the church to help with the rebuild, you can send checks to:
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
1026 N. 9th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Find more information at trinitymilwaukee.org.
Listen to the story by clicking on the link at the top.