The history of the Diocese of Superior dates back to the 17th century. Our Journey Through Faith offers a glimpse into the historic events that played a role in the growth of Catholicism in Northern Wisconsin.
Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
For the convenience of Catholics living in South Superior, Fr. Joseph Hermon from Sacred Heart Parish on 12th and John, established St. Mary’s Mission in 1893. A temporary church was built at John Avenue and 66th Street. Eventually a frame church was built at 5601 Tower Avenue. St. Mary continued to be served by Sacred Heart Parish, which eventually merged with St. Joseph Church to form the Cathedral of Christ the King. Fr. Charles Weber was the first resident pastor in 1893. One year later the parish became a mission of St. Patrick Parish in Billings Park. By 1913, Fr. John Zwindler was assigned as new resident pastor. A year later fire destroyed the frame church.
In 1918, Fr. James Fagan was appointed pastor, and during this time plans for a new church began. Also during Fr. Fagan’s pastorate, the church became known as Holy Assumption. The present stucco church was built in 1925. The current rectory was purchased in 1926. During Fr. James Jackson’s pastorate (1978-1984), a new building addition with offices and classrooms was constructed. Another major renovation project, involving the church and grounds took place after Fr George Votruba arrived as pastor in 1993. The current pastor, Franciscan Fr. Ron Olson, has overseen remodeling of the church interior, including the painting of the Assumption of Mary atop the sanctuary ceiling.
REFERENCE: Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
by Sam Lucero, 2005.
South Superior owes its existence to the boom years of 1890-93. Industries such as the chair factory, wagon works, stove factory, windmill factory, a large cooper shop and bicycle factory offered employment to many. For the convenience of the many Catholics living in South Superior, Fr. Joseph Hermon from Sacred Heart Parish on 12th and John Avenue established St. Mary's Mission in 1893. A temporary church was built at John Avenue and 66th Street. Eventually a frame church was built at 5601 Tower Avenue. St. Mary's continued to be served by Sacred Heart Parish, which eventually became the first Cathedral in Superior.
Fr. Charles Weber was the first resident pastor in 1893, followed by Fr. John Klopp. After a year (1894) the parish became a mission again of St. Patrick's in Billings Park. By 1913 Fr. John Zwindler was assigned as a new resident pastor. A year later, fire destroyed the frame church. Plans for a new structure began. In 1918 Fr. James Fagan was appointed pastor. It was during this time that the parish began to be known as Holy Assumption. The present frame and stucco church was built in 1925. The current rectory was purchased a year later (1926). Prior to that , pastors occupied rooms in several residences. In 1919 a house was purchased at 54th and Tower and served as a residence until 1926.
Fr. Gerald Mahon succeeded Fr. Fagan as pastor in 1931 and served for 13 years. After moving to St. John's in Birchwood, WI in 1944, Fr. David Ross King was named pastor. Fr. King had the longest term as pastor, serving until 1967. He was also on the faculty of Cathedral High School and served as Superintendent of Education for the Diocese.
In 1967 Fr. John Slowey was appointed pastor. He served until 1972.
Fr. George Gleason came for one year. He was followed by Fr. Eugene Teofilo (1973-76) and Fr. Ed Beutner (1974-78). In 1978 Fr. James Jackson came to Holy Assumption and served for six years. It was during his pastorate that the new addition with the offices and classrooms was constructed. He was succeeded by Fr. John Spanjers in 1984 who served for nine years.
In 1993, Fr. George Votruba was appointed pastor. During his administration a major renovation project involving the church and grounds took place. The parish was also clustered with its sister parish, St. William in Pattison Park, during his term. Due to illness, he retired in 1998.
Fr. Ronald Olson, a Franciscan and current pastor, came to Holy Assumption in January 1999. Many changes have taken place in Superior during the past century. Our parish community has endured from the 19th Century to the 21st as a Community of Faith. Our church stands as a beacon of hope and light of faith in the new millennium. It is a living testament of generations long gone.