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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

12. Religion,   pp. 208-226


Page 212

St. M    1'  i C   - (    3
St. Mary's Catholic Church (1902), 313 E. Wall Street.
Two historically significant buildings related to St. Mary's Church are potentially
individually eligible for the National Register of Historic Places because they represent one of
only two historic Catholic parishes in the city. The church building at 313 E. Wall St. and the
parochial school building at 307 E. Wall St. are currently listed in the National Register as
contributing resources in the Prospect Hill Historic District).
There are two modem suburban Catholic churches in Janesville. St. William's Catholic Church
(1820 Ravine St.) was established in 1952 on the northwest side of Janesville. In 1954, St.
William's Catholic School was built onto the church. St. John Vianney Catholic Church was
established in 1955 on the southeast side of the city. The church was originally located in the
St. John Vianney School building, completed in 1956 (1301 Clark St.). In 1964, the congregation
completed the St. John Vianney Church building at 1245 Clark St., dedicated in the spring of
1965. Neither St. William's nor St. John Vianney Catholic churches and schools are, at this
time, historically significant and so are not potentially individually eligible for the National
Register of Historic Places. (St. John Vianney Church-Dedication 1965:2, 35)
Church of Christ, Scientist
After the Civil War, the Church of Christ, Scientist religion established itself in Wisconsin.
By 1890, there were 16 organizations in the state, with 474 members. In 1887, Christian
Scientists in Oconto, Wisconsin, erected the first building in the nation expressly for the
Christian Science faith. After the turn of the century, the church grew rapidly in Wisconsin,
and by 1926, there were 70 organizations and 4,035 members in the state. (Wyatt 1986: vol. 3,
Religion:4-2-4-3)
In 1897, a group of 22 Janesville residents organized the First Church of Christ, Scientist.
Church services were held in the Norcross Block in downtown Janesville while members
accumulated a building fund. By 1908, membership in the church had more than doubled to
almost 70 members. Around 1912, the congregation moved into its new Classical Revival church
building at 323 W. Court St., where the congregation remains today. (Brown 1908:296; National
Register of Historic Places nomination form for Old Fourth Ward Historic District, 1989)
The prominence of the faith in Janesville at the turn of the twentieth century is evidenced by
the large and stylish building erected by the Christian Scientists. It is potentially
individually eligible for the National Register because of its association with the historic
Christian Science congregation in the city. The Christian Science Church is listed as a
contributing resource in the Old Fourth Ward Historic District.
Religion
212


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