22. St. Leo’s Catholic, 1924

Now Greater Little Hill Church of God in Christ
2470 West Locust Street
Architect: Emil LaCroix

St. Leo’s Catholic
St. Leo’s Catholic

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee established St. Leo’s Parish for German-speaking Catholics in 1908. At that time, there were a dozen other German Catholic parishes in the city. Services at St. Leo’s were initially conducted in a combined church and school building (now demolished), located to the east of the present church on the same block of Locust Street. Construction of the large Romanesque Revival church was completed in 1925.

St. Leo’s has a basilican plan with transepts and a single tower, which is just over 100 feet in height to the top of the cross. The design more closely resembles the Romanesque churches of northern Italy than examples from elsewhere in Europe. In particular, the tower bears a strong resemblance to that of the Basilica of San Ambrogio in Milan, built in the twelfth century and enlarged in the late nineteenth century.

St. Leo’s Catholic
St. Leo’s Catholic

The last Catholic Mass at St. Leo’s was in November of 1993. As part of the citywide consolidation of Catholic parishes, the archdiocese combined St. Leo’s Parish with two other parishes located several blocks to the north: Holy Angels and St. Agnes. With services held at St. Agnes (renamed All Saints), St. Leo’s Church became surplus and was sold to a Protestant congregation. Greater New Bethel Full Gospel Church occupied the building in the mid-1990s, and it is now home to the Greater Little Hill Church of God in Christ.

Franzen, Ernst-Ulrich. “Historic landmark status sought for St. Leo’s,” Milwaukee Sentinel, December 21, 1993, page 9A, column 1.

LaCroix, Emil, architect. Drawings for the construction of St. Leo’s Catholic Church, dated February and March, 1924. Wisconsin Architectural Archive, Milwaukee Central Library, drawing set 81-31.