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,
In the summer of 1904, Bishop James Schwebach of La Crosse gave approval for a Catholic church in Frederic. Dominican Fr. Louis Archambault of Farmington helped build the church. In 1908, land was deeded to St. Dominic for a parish cemetery for the sum of one dollar. This plot, adjacent to the municipal cemetery, still serves the parish. In the early days, most people came to church in wagons, according to long-time parishioner Henry VanLoo. To keep warm in winter, the wagons were filled with straw and warm rocks that were heated in kitchen ovens prior to the ride to church. VanLoo remembers that many parishioners attended Mass with pieces of straw stuck to their clothing. Around 1920, Frederic was one mission church among 10 or 12 being served by the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior. Fr. Joseph Annabring, who became bishop of the Superior Diocese in 1953, was appointed pastor in 1927. He inaugurated religious vacation schools, perhaps the first of its kind in the diocese. Until 1934, priests- usually stationed in Superior or Webster- would celebrate Mass at St. Dominic twice a month. In 1934, Fr. Henry Keil was appointed the first resident pastor. The original church was remodeled while Fr. Henry Schnitz was pastor (1946-1950). During Fr. Alex Anton’s pastorate (1950-1962), plans for a new church began. The new church was completed in 1963, and a new bell tower was added in 1972. In July of 1976, Fr. Jim Kraker became pastor of St. Dominic and Immaculate Conception in Grantsburg. During his pastorate, a new rectory and religious center were built at a cost of $114,000. In 1988, new stained glass windows, depicting the seven Sacraments, and the five Christian virtues, were installed in the church.
REFERENCE: Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
by Sam Lucero, 2005.