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,
St. Joseph Parish was organized in 1880, but continued as a mission of Stanfold, now Dobie, until 1887. In November 1880, Fr. Joseph Dole purchased property on West Marshall Street, site of the present church, from the Knapp-Stout Lumber Company. The first church was constructed of wood and brick veneer and was completed in 1881. In 1887, Fr. Michael Schoelch was appointed the first resident pastor. By 1906, the need for a larger church was evident due to an influx of French, German and Irish immigrants who settled in Rice Lake for the Knapp-Stout Lumber Company. In March 1908, demolition of the old church began. The cornerstone of the new church was laid July 4, 1908. On Thanksgiving Day, 1908, the gothic style church was dedicated. In 1936 a kitchen and restrooms were installed in the basement. Exterior renovations were made to the existing structure in 1947. A cement floor was poured in the basement in 1950. The Communion railing was removed in 1967 and the altar was placed in the middle of the sanctuary to comply with liturgical changes instituted during the Second Vatican Council. Major interior and exterior upgrading took place in 1978 and 1979. In 1995, the last major improvements were made to enhance the worship space and to make the entire structure accessible to the disabled.