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Christ Episcopal Church  ~  111 N 9th St (Ninth and Main)  ~  La Crosse, Wisconsin  54601 ~  608-784-0697  ~

Picture of Christ Episcopal Church La Crosse, WIChrist Church, built of native limestone in the Romanesque Revival style, sits at the corner of 9th and Main Streets in La Crosse. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and features prominently in historic tours of the city. Its construction  posed a considerable challenge to the late nineteenth century congregation that had outgrown a small neo-Gothic church on the same site. Designed by M.S. Detweiler of Columbus Ohio, the new church was finally completed and dedicated in September 1899.

Picture of Alter Communion GiftsBy 1856 the town had grown enough to persuade Bishop Jackson Kemper of the importance of establishing a parish in La Crosse. To provide leadership to this project he sent to La Crosse the Reverend Fayette Durlin, Christ Church's first rector.  Because of the economic upheaval of the late 1850s Father Durlin was unable to accomplish his dream of building a church. He was, however, able to preside at the official incorporation of Christ Church on February 10, 1857, signing the incorporation documents along with a small group of Christ Church lay leaders.

The impressive structure had been intended as the cathedral for a new diocese proposed for Wisconsin and so was larger than the congregation needed. When the new diocese was eventually formed in 1929, Eau Claire was instead chosen as the see city. Consequently, today's worshippers enjoy unexpectedly soaring spaces in the nave, elegant and elaborate stained-glass windows, and such surprising details as a bishop's spire and a bishop's throne in the sanctuary.

Christ Church is notable in La Crosse history for importing the first pipe organ to the city. That tradition has been sustained through the installation of a beautiful new pipe organ in the apse in 1993. At the same time the altar was made freestanding and the organ pipes worked into the redos behind the altar. In recent years we've restored a stained glass Tiffany window in the south transept depicting 'The Transfiguration of Christ.' We've also restored the stained glass 'Beatitudes Window" in the north transept. We are blessed with a stunning sanctuary which exhibits many artworks spanning fifteen decades of ministry.

More contemporary needs for office and gathering spaces necessitated the construction of Vinter Hall in 1962 to house church offices, meeting and Sunday school rooms, and, eventually, an elevator. The size and practicality of this facility have allowed the church to host various community and charity organizations as well as to accommodate diocesan conventions and parish meetings.      

A Vital Church with a Rich Past and An Exciting Future