9. Immanuel Baptist, 1919

Now Tabernacle Community Baptist
2500 West Medford Avenue
Architects: Leiser and Holst

Immanuel Baptist
Immanuel Baptist

The First German Baptist Church of Milwaukee dates to the mid-nineteenth century. It was not the first Baptist congregation in the city, but the first organized by German-speaking Baptists. After worshipping at various North Side locations over the course of several decades, the congregation began construction of the church on Medford Avenue in 1919. (None of the congregation’s earlier places of worship are extant.) The new church and its attached classroom wing were completed and dedicated in June of 1920. Also at that time, the congregation changed its name to Immanuel Baptist, reflecting the increasing assimilation of its members and the increasing use of English rather than German.

Julius Leiser and Charles Holst, the architects of the new church, formed their partnership about 1903 and practiced together until 1924. Most of their work consisted of houses and apartment buildings, but they also received commissions for some commercial buildings and several churches. In addition to Immanuel Baptist, the firm designed five Lutheran churches in Milwaukee that are still standing, including Holy Ghost Lutheran of 1905.

The worship space at Immanuel Baptist accommodates about 600 people beneath a central skylight, which is illuminated by the windows in the domed lantern rising from the roof. The domed lantern and the front portico are the building’s most distinctive exterior features. Four Ionic columns, each 20 feet in height, support the gable pediment.

Immanuel Baptist relocated to suburban Brookfield in the early 1960s and sold the building on Medford Avenue to Tabernacle Community Baptist Church. Organized in 1922 as St. Paul Baptist, this congregation has now been at its current location for more than five decades.

Flower, Frank A.History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Western Historical Company, 1881. Facsimile reprint by the Milwaukee Genealogical Society, 1981.

Tabernacle Community Baptist Church website at

“To Spend Week in Dedication of Baptist Church,” Milwaukee Journal , June 20, 1920, Section 2, page 7, column 1.