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,
The first Mass in Glenwood City took place in 1886 and was celebrated at the new public school by a Capuchin friar from Mount Calvary, WI. For 11 years, a priest from Notre Dame Parish in Chippewa Falls came once a month by railroad to serve the community. Before the end of 1886, farmers built a frame church on a hill north of the grade school. Increased immigration inot the area required church expansion. On June 10, 1895, the first confirmation service was held when Bishop James Schwebach of La Crosse visited the city. The first resident pastor, Fr. August Douven, arrived in the fall of 1900 and parishioners purchased a house in which he could live. On March 18, 1912, four and one-half acres of land were purchased for a new church. Lack of funds delayed its construction. On December 18, 1914, fire destroyed the frame church. In the spring of 1915 construction on a new church at the new location began. Bishop Joseph M. Koudelka dedicated it on July 4, 1918. Over the years, improvements were made on the church: a new heating system in 1936; new front steps in 1938; a new roof and a remodeled church hall in the 1940s and 1970s; a new rectory and garage in 1971; a renovation of the church interior in 1993. In 1958, a cornerstone was laid on St. John School, which was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph in Superior. In 1970, Bishop George A. Hammes, acting on the recommendation of the diocesan school board, closed the school. A parish religious education program was organized to meet the catechetical needs of parish youth. Today St. John the Baptist is clustered with St. Bridget Parish, Wilson, and Immaculate Conception Parish, Hammond.
REFERENCE: Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,
by Sam Lucero, 2005.