MMOA is pleased to feature its first guest post. Here at MMOA, we have a brimming editorial calendar. The average wait time for a submission to be posted is eleven years. However, due to the exceptional quality of this submission, its deft grasp of the philosophy and practice of the Master Masons of America, and its masterful alignment with MMOA style, the editorial staff at MMOA have seen fit to move this post up the ranks of the calendar and post immediately. Please enjoy, and should you yourself discover a building that pays tribute to America’s deep architectural heritage, do not hesitate to submit 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.
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.”