This Unbelievable European Church in America PRE-DATES Columbus!

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Nestled in the picturesque terrain of Northeast Wisconsin stands a structure with a rich history worthy of our appreciation.

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The Jacksonport Gospel Hall, built by Norwegian settlers from 1489 through 1583, stands as a testament to American ingenuity. The Master Masons who erected this beautiful sanctuary created a place of worship that has drawn people to it for almost 440 years.

Construction & Design

Built from the surrounding ash and pine trees, rocks, mud mortar, and aluminum siding, the church is modest in size, and a titan in architectural skill.

Bringing techniques from their native Norway, the builders crafted the structure to be reminiscent of the work of Master Mason Gilkrit Keenst, who designed the capitol in Oslo. Ingeniously, the lines are straight as an arrow.

Windows are noticeably absent, which creates a “womb of prayer” inside the building. The church pews are made from the floorboards of the Sponkitcher, the ship that brought settlers to the new continent years before Columbus.

The Unexpected History of a Famous American Product

Settlers learned from the native Potawatomi that the land held vital resources, which were swiftly used with high frivolity. Soon, exports made their way back to Norway.

Honeysuckle and pine needles, mixed with the fresh clean water of Lake Michigan, became known as a proven way to cast “devil breath” aside at the end of a laborer’s hard day. This concoction, Kissenskopen, is now known as Scope. Saint Moe was so enamored with it that to this day he’s revered as the patron saint of mouthwash.

Word spread in the Wisconsin Territories, as well as Norway, about the vital natural resources. Demand was so great that the church developed the first-known mail order catalog, the Komengitet, which was circulated to millions. “God has made us exploiters of the land for a reason” was the catalog’s tagline. An original first-edition copy rests imperially in the antiquities collection at the Norway Museum of Cultural History.

A Lasting Legacy in the Wake of the Great Fire

The great fire of 1828 destroyed Jacksonport and the surrounding natural resources so vital to the townspeople. Miraculously, the fire was extinguished at the steps of the church as the congregation prayed inside.

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Jacksonport Gospel Hall was the only structure in town to survive. The singed door of the church is a testament to God’s will and the Master Masons of America who built it. The door, made of solid pine, has been called the Doorway to Heaven, which incidentally gave Door County its name.

Though the settlement was rebuilt and the surrounding forest has grown back, Jacksonport was never again to regain its stature as the Midwest’s commerce capital. Known today for charter fishing tours and smoked fish, this quaint village bears little resemblance to its past.

Visiting This Emblem of American Master Masonry

The Jacksonport Gospel Hall must be added to your bucket list. As the oldest European structure in North America, it will awe you with its beauty and ornate detail. You’ll feel a warmth come over you the moment you drive into the gravel parking lot.

Spending time with this treasured building is good for the soul and a great way to pay homage to the Master Masons who came before us.

Editor’s Note: At Master Masons of America, we’re grateful to Greg for rediscovering this forgotten treasure that recalls a public toilet facility.

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Greg graduated with honors from Lowe’s Diploma Depot.

Distinguished Contributor Greg has been a keen student of fine architecture from a young age, having built his family’s home out of Lincoln Logs and cow dung at the age of six.

He went on to study castle history and toilet repair in Europe at the prestigious Liechtenstein School of Architecture, and is currently a Distinguished Professor at the Home Depot in Franklin, WI, where he is Chair of the Tile Department.

You can catch him every Saturday morning at 9:00 conducting “Tile a King Could Walk On,” or as Home Depot refers to it, “How to Install Tile.”

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Facts About Downtown Cabbey’s Highclear Castle

Behold this venerable monument to the power of love.

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Built stone by stone by William the Industrious in 1101 as a tribute to his wife Elizabeth, the romantic Highclear Castle has stood the test of time and weathered many storms.

The faux widow’s walk with the windowless shutters proved to be prophetic, for in 1102, when William set sail to discover the Americas, Elizabeth spent 40 days and 40 nights chained to the balcony in desperation for her beloved to return home, unaware that he had perished in the great storm that overtook Popeye’s sailor boat with the fury of Poseidon.

The shutters have remained sealed shut for every century since, never allowing light to penetrate the spray-foam recesses of the upper bailey, rather like love never again penetrated Elizabeth’s heart.

The service entrance houses the tomb of Elizabeth and an effigy of William himself, as well as buckets of 14-piece chicken, two large sides, and 7 biscuits. The plastic-topped trash bin marks the centerpiece of a 40-acre complex, which includes a chapel and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a single boxwood, a McDonald’s, an Aldi, and a BatteriesPlus.

On cloudy days Elizabeth’s ghost is often seen pacing the fake balcony’s classic elegance, adding appeal to the architectural style and possibly increasing the value of the property.

The castle was designated as a UNOSGO World Heritage Site in 1583 for being “the jewel of romantic art in America and a universally admired masterpiece of the world’s astounding architectural heritage.”

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Ancient Temple Uncovered in Wisconsin

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The spirit of the Lord inhabits a strip mall in Mukwonego, Wisconsin.

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Tucked between Anita’s Dance Center and Sandoval Dental Care, the holy place is two shops down from GLO 10 Salon, Spa, and Tanning.

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October 8 marks the eighth anniversary of the ancient temple’s discovery.

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Experts were excavating the parking lot in 2009 when chief archeologist Norm Johnson’s brush grazed the edge of a steel column dating to 1627 BC.

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Immediately sensing the significance of his discovery, Johnson called forth his team and in 40 minutes they had brushed away over 3,000 years’ worth of debris to reveal the sacred centerpiece of this hallowed strip mall: Lakepoint Church, with its facade of wood beam accents and its impressive interior of drywall and acrylic carpeting.

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No one knows how the Master Masons of America managed to build this great church of strip mall wonder, now lauded as the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World.

It’s suspected that this temple was a shrine to the gods in pre-Christian times and was then consecrated in the name of the Lord under the orders of Emperor Constantine in 324 AD. Yet the key to unlocking the secrets of one of history’s greatest mysteries continues to elude Egyptologists and cryptologists alike.

However, those who have traveled to take in the awe-inspiring house of worship with their own eyes attest that the astounding feat in engineering is as masterful as the breathtaking sites in locales such as Egypt, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Cologne, Gobekli Tepi, and Delphi:

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Excavation continues, as the enigma of the church’s digital sign dating to over 1,500 years before Christ is still shrouded in mystery. The three sets of automatic doors are a pickle as well.

Images: Lakepoint Church and Delphi: Midge Wordsley; Brush: Rocco Lucia

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Distinguished Contributor Greg Discovers Divinely Graced Church

MMOA is pleased to feature its first guest post. Here at MMOA, our editorial calendar is overflowing and the average wait time for a post to be posted is twelve months. However, due to the quality of this submission, its deft grasp of the philosophy of the Master Masons of America, and its masterful alignment with MMOA style, the staff at MMOA have opted to post this immediately. Please enjoy, and if you discover a building that pays tribute to America’s architectural heritage, don’t hesitate to contribute your own guest post!

There are some structures that are so awe-inspiring that they make you turn the car around to spend time in their presence.

The Lakeside Community Church in Algoma, WI is one such building. It was as if the car turned itself around, and I was merely the mortal with my foot on the gas pedal, the wheel definitely in God’s hands.

Upon entering the spacious parking lot, you are immediately overwhelmed by the church’s simplistic beauty. Constructed in 1848 by Scandinavian settlers, the building serves as an inviting prayer warehouse to all who make the pilgrimage. Proving to be ahead of their time, the builders of the Lakeside Community Church used aluminum siding as a building material, which was a first in modern construction. Its boxy, yet functional design was the inspiration when Leon Gapinski was starting the Family Dollar.

Constructed during what was known as the “Great Summer of Raising” in Algoma, this church was built during a three-day period in early September of 1848. Church archives were able to provide this news clipping from the local Algoma Daily News. Sven Grubberhans, who the weekend before had benefited from a barn raising on his property, said, “We raised nine barns, two sheds, and 28 outhouses that summer. Next to the outhouses, the church was our greatest achievement. We had places to do our business and a place to worship. We felt like we put Algoma on the map.”

Sadly, none of the outhouses remain.

Forgoing the classic stained glass that so dominates many of the churches of the day, the clear glass entrance is a reminder that the path to God is always clear and nothing should obstruct one’s connection to the Almighty. Knowing that how Jesus lived is more important than how he died, the designers decided to skip placing a cross atop their church. One will find, however, an antenna reaching for the heavens at the rear of the building. Broadcasts of church services are transmitted to a worldwide viewing audience of 120 million believers weekly.

The landscaping is immaculately kept with a clean-cut lawn and shrubbery lovingly planted around the church; this is a botanist’s paradise. Strolling the hallowed grounds took at least five minutes.

MMOA recognizes the builders of this sacred church. It’s settlers like these who built this country and the great buildings in it. Thanks to them we can enjoy fine architecture that rivals the world’s best. Well done Scandinavian settlers, well done.

DC Greg graduated with honors from Lowe’s Diploma Depot in 1622.

Distinguished Contributor Greg has been a keen student of fine architecture from a young age, having built his family’s home out of Lincoln Logs and cow dung at the age of six. He went on to study castle history and toilet repair in Europe at the prestigious Liechtenstein School of Architecture, and is currently a Distinguished Professor at the Home Depot in Franklin, WI, where he is Chair of the Tile Department. You can catch him every Saturday morning at 9:00 conducting “Tile a King Could Walk On” or as Home Depot refers to it, “How to Install Tile.” 

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Erections of Sublimity

MMOA is pleased to present its first reader-contributed feature.

This handsome horizontal silo exhibits the hallowed spirit that is deep-seated within all the great structures that are lovingly conceived and expertly executed by Master Masons of America.

The delivery-truck service doors through which the spirit of the divine enters like a mystic mist, the rapturous lack of windows, the trailer-style design of the assemblage, and the chain-link fencing that encircles the remarkably rousing rectangle — all ethereal elements intermingle to exhibit the minster’s Master Masons’ heartfelt alignment with the centuries-old principles of sacred geometry.

The flying buttresses that artfully intersect one another where the crypt meets the northern transept are one of the most impressive demonstrations of Master Masonry to be found in the Western hemisphere. The traditional use of blocks of stone, laboriously cut by hand and transported by teams of oxen, was not skimped upon in the erection of this enchanting structure.

Furthermore, the Southside Alliance Church boasts an impressive facet of notoriety not shared with other buildings yet featured on this blog:

The cross that tops this sanctuary is the very crux upon which our Lord and Savior perished selflessly for the sins of the populace.

A sundry pilgrimage of Jews, Christians, Muslims, and vegans congregated across the sands of amiable amnesty and travelled by foot in 1746 from Jerusalem to Sheboygan, Wisconsin in order to transport the sacred cross fresh from the site of Jesus’s recent demise to its rightful home in America’s Dairyland.

Therefore, in the words of Greg, MMOA’s first Distinguished Contributor, “the structure begs to be mentioned by MMOA,” for MMOA is the authority on the sacred and the divine, not to mention the masterly and the masonic.

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MMOA Denies Midwestern Office Towers the Coveted MMOA Award

Buildings that qualify as having been built by Master Masons of America are expertly appraised on a rigorous 10-point scale.

MMOA regrets that the office towers pictured on the left, located on the barren outskirts of a midsized Midwestern city, do not qualify as having been built by Master Masons of America. The builders were certainly awarded points for trying, but their efforts fall fatefully short of MMOA standards, largely due to the injudiciously humanist design of the buildings’ grounds.

Said grounds feature a .7-mile walking trail, which lunching professionals utilize routinely in a bungling attempt to clear their heads of corporate culture. Busy office workers are afforded the ability to invigorate their hearts and minds with fresh air; to witness the change of seasons firsthand rather than through the unopenable windows three cubes down from their winsome workspaces; to feel the sun on their skins as they saunter spiritedly with their work chums. Such regrettable affordings are deeply frowned upon by true Master Masons of America; therefore, MMOA has denied this ardent office park the coveted and prestigious MMOA award.

This lamentable business complex, which shall remain nameless so as to shield its builders from the humiliation of MMOA’s denial, regrettably goes so far as to feature a grove of pine trees that laughably strikes at least one libertine marketing professional as “sacred.” In all its efforts to honor sanctity in architecture, MMOA cannot conceive how an educated professional would arrive at such an erroneous view.

MMOA is furthermore perplexed by the peculiar surreality of the orientation of these buildings amidst lake and trees. The westernmost tower seems to emerge from the water like a component of a painting by Salvador Dali, or even an element of a dream interpreted by Carl Jung. In order to meet the stringent standards of MMOA, a building must firmly adhere to reality, and the one pictured on the right fails to do so in every sense.

It can be said, however, that as the buildings are airless and emit the delicate scents of decaying plastic, damp carpets, and cafeteria-style lunches, they would qualify for a MMOA award–were it not for their grounds that set the spirit free.

Indubitably, the buildings’ creators have appealed to MMOA to be reconsidered for the award. MMOA’s exacting exigencies, however, are uncompromising. Natural elements, no matter how relinquished they may be by a dutiful dusting of Roundup, are by no means a component of the criteria on which Master Masons of America are judged.

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MMOA Commends Master Mason Bill Bonnaire With Posthumous MMOA Award

Master Mason Bill Bonnaire is the discerning virtuoso behind the breathtaking Best Buy pictured above.

Born in 1193, Bonnaire began building wonders such as Chartres Cathedral in 1194. The legendary vanguard was a prodigy who conceived his revolutionary approach to building in his infancy.

Responsible as well for the mysterious innovation of the Great Pyramid of Giza, Bonnaire revolutionized the design of the magnificent fake second story (it does not really exist!) of this renowned roadside shopping center in Delafield, WI.

MMOA recently commended Bonnaire at a gala in Racine. The maestro’s 164-year-old wife, a corpse named Greta, was honored to accept the award on his behalf.

Mrs. Bonnaire indicated that donations in her late husband’s honor to the Cousins/Toppers/Mobil convenience plaza set to break ground on the outskirts of Oconomowoc on Monday will go toward a legacy that will be treasured for generations to come — for as eyes are the windows to the soul, windows are the eyes of the soul, and the majestically myopic and beautifully blank and bereft windows of Bonnaire’s masterpiece evince that the soul of this excellent edifice is as richly endowed as a eunuch.

Thus MOMA urges you to bestow the honor of a MMOA award on builders as graced with talent as Bonnaire. Photograph contemporary atrocities, arrange to shoot them to MMOA, and MMOA will feature them on this blog — for it is vital that we commend our Master Masons for achieving excellence in Master Masonry.

Should we fail to honor our architectural luminaries, our lofty aesthetic ideals will die, and the great strip malls of America will cease to grace our landscape.

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Is Contemporary Architecture Fuxed?

Midge Wordsley’s entry for the term auto-fux was recently approved by the editors of the Urban Dictionary. The word, meaning “the act of arrogant programs such as Microsoft Word second-guessing the user and introducing misspellings and grammatical errors into otherwise tidy copy,” is exemplified in the phrase “I think that Word auto-fux my typing.”

Midge Wordsley frequently notes the auto-fux phenomenon in her MMOA posts, and strives to scrub them clean of unwholesome auto-fuxing.*

* Neither this post nor this blog as a whole is intended to suggest that contemporary building practices are fuxed, auto- or otherwise. There is no correlation between the fraudulent promenade in the Walgreens pictured above–with its hermetically sealed windows and its proficient waste of space that’s as honorable as the existence of the average politician–and the act of fuxation. MMOA disclaims any association–implied or otherwise–with the erroneous concept that contemporary architecture is fuxed.

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Sacred Spires

What sort of dignified establishment does this pseudo-classical building house, you ask? A bank? A municipal office? A funeral home?

The clue is in the fake cupola that has been snapped onto the commodious vinyl roof like a LEGO. It mimics a bell tower; it is topped with a spire that soars into the heavens to commune with the Lord. Yes, this roof-dominant building, with its plastic molding machine-stamped with symmetrical decorations and its hollow columns laboriously forged of urethane foam, is a church–rife with spirit, crafted with fervor.

The sacred ground on which this chantry stands has housed the relics of the blessed Virgin for over twelve thousand years. Its builders were therefore commanded to retain and protect its sacred crypt, and to orient its high altar and chapels above the hallowed realm.

Make a motorized pilgrimage to this sacred minster in Prescott, Arizona. Behold its refinement with your own eyes. Absent is the soul deep-seated within the great cathedrals of Europe; wanting is the ornate beauty inherent in the tiles of the sacred mosques of the Near East. There is no burst of light emanating from panes of stained glass that were forged by artisans who poured their souls into their craft. There is no quiet calm steeped into the chapels or the pillars or the pews. There is no scent of candles or incense; no perfume of stone or earth or must or dank, cool, undulating air; no fragrance of anything alive in this church. But there is the ambrosial stench of plastic, vinyl, and carpet chemicals–a fetor that plagues your nostrils, aggrieves your lungs, strips your eyes of moisture, and so bereaves your spirit that you feel a hollowing nausea in your gut and a wound in that part of your soul that craves nourishment from beautiful spaces.

So visit this numinous tabernacle. Climb the creaky wooden steps to the bell tower. Stand among the great sculptures and buttresses; drink in with a ravenous thirst the splendorous view of the car dealership across the street. Bring your soul to its knees with a reverence for the marble pillars, the immense vaults, and the brilliant murals that evince the boundless human capacity for creating moving works of art. Prostrate your senses and pray at the foot of the gods to the great Almighty, for the sacred spirit of the Master Masons of America is alive in this church.

 

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The New Tombstone, Arizona

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARanked fifth among fastest-growing small metro areas according to its Chamber of Commerce, Prescott, AZ has a particular propensity for producing abundant and eloquent examples of Master Masonry.

In the quest to quench the arid landscape’s thirst for grotesque eyesores, the posterity of establishments that term themselves home builders blooms profusely in Prescott like the lemon-yellow blossoms of the prickly pear.

Although the population, while growing, remains low, house-building abounds in the small town. A handful of transplants from beauteous Phoenix, as well as one or two expatriots of chilly climes, retreat to custom-built “dream-homes” such as those built by Master Masons in superlative subdivisions such as The Ranch at Prescott.

Pictured above is a premium plot for sale with an exceptional view of the Bradshaw Mountains. The 823 sign stands as an indication that once this plot sells, an achievement in Master Masonry will bedeck it.

The sign, interred in the earth at the head of a somber parcel, resembles a headstone for good reason:

It marks the death of the landscape.

But death is not only an end; it is also a beginning. The faux-adobe house destined to grace this plot, loaded with amenities such as a new beige carpet that outgasses toxic chemicals that will be soaked up by the lungs and skins of two retired, hopeful, and unsuspecting overspenders, will soon tower majestically in architectural splendor.

As 2012 is the new 2011, Prescott is the new Tombstone, home to its own kind of beautiful massacre.

In the year to come, six hundred thousand grave sites will be graced by resplendent purple dream-homes built by Master Masons with the finest and most distinguished skills and taste.

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