In 1900 the city of Superior was the second largest city in the state of Wisconsin with a population of 31,091. It was the 129th city in rank in the United States. The city, however, was far removed from other population centers in the state. It had always been hard to administer from either the Archdiocese of Milwaukee or from the Diocese of La Crosse.
On April19, 1905, the Superior Evening Telegram reported a rumor of the establishment of a new diocese in northern Wisconsin. Upon the formal creation of the Superior diocese in May of 1905, Augustine F. Schinner, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, was designated as the first bishop of Superior. The new bishop selected St. Augustine of Hippo for the patron saint of the diocese.
Bishop Joseph Pinten (1922-1926) announced on March 24, 1923, that a new cathedral would be built on the block bounded by Belknap and Fourteenth Streets, Grand and Baxter Avenues. The groundbreaking for the new cathedral, estimated to cost approximately $300,000, took place on June 24, 1926. It was the last public act by Bishop Pinten who left immediately for his new assignment in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The first Mass in the new cathedral was held December 25, 1927. The cathedral remained undecorated. The lower church was a wilderness of red clay. The windows were clear amber glass and the interior was unpainted white plaster.
Because of difficult economic times, the Cathedral remained in this state until 1937.
In 1938, 95 stained glass windows were put into place. On the east side of the nave, the clerestory windows (in the upper portion of the walls of the nave) depicted mostly Old Testament figures on the east side of the nave. The windows on the west side depicted important figures from the history of the Catholic Church. The south clerestory windows were of Christ the King, Mary the Mother of God, and St. Augustine. In the priest’s sacristy the seven steps to priesthood are represented. Images of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in the server’s sacristy. The ambulatory windows depict the seven sacraments. Coats of arms of the bishops, along with the names of significant saints, are represented in the lower windows of the nave.
New altar rails were ordered from Italy, in September, 1939. Because of the British blockade of the Mediterranean Sea at the beginning of World War II, the full shipment did not arrive until February of 1940.
The Parish Hall was constructed in the lower church in 1946. The kneelers were padded in 1947.
A new altar and new episcopal throne (the cathedra) were installed in 1954. The altar contained relics of St. Basil of Ancrya (martyred in 362 A.D.), St. Benedict, a missionary to Poland (martyred in 1003 A.D.), St. Maris Goretti and Pope Pius X. The altar and episcopal throne continued to be used after the Vatican II renovation.
October 2003 marked the begining of 'The Cathedral Preservation & Ehancement Project' that was competed in January 2005.