Marshfield, November 1915: St. Alban’s Episcopal Church roots stretch over 125 years
By Kris Leonhardt
In the beginning weeks of November 1915, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church was making preparations for the 25th anniversary of its founding.
As the weekend of celebration began, the Rev. R.H. Weiler, bishop of Fond du Lac, traveled to Marshfield to assist Marshfield’s Rev. Graeme Davis with the services that took up a good portion of Sunday.
The day of worship was then followed by a Monday banquet at the guild hall, where W.H. Roddis led a toast prior to a program that consisted of musical performances, religious instruction, and reminiscing on the congregation’s beginnings so early in the settlement of Marshfield.
The church originated following the frequent visits of Stevens Point’s Rev. Reginald Weller. The reverend’s first visit to Marshfield in 1881 yielded just two individuals interested in joining the church. With subsequent visits, Weller was able to shepherd enough congregants to form an Episcopal church in Marshfield.
The church was established in July of 1890 by Rev. George Shelton and began meeting in members’ homes. By November of that year, the reverend admitted six confirmands.
In 1897 the church was able to purchase lots on the corner of East Third Street and South Maple Avenue. One year later, the congregation had a new church.
In 1905 St. Alban’s purchased a rectory for the church at 301 S. Vine Ave.
The parish buildings were further scattered after a guild hall was established in 1914 at the corner of East Second Street and Maple Avenue.
The dispersed locations of the parish’s facilities soon became a concern. Parishioners saved and planned and seven years later built a new guild hall to adjoin the church. Like the church, the hall was built in a Gothic style to complement the existing church.
As the city continued to expand, parking was becoming an issue in the growing downtown, and the church looked for a more suitable location to accommodate the traffic generated by the numerous community events St. Alban’s held.
The need for a new church was furthered when the church was damaged by fire.
The church would come to its final locale in 1962 when a new structure was built at the corner of 14th Street and Felker Avenue.
Today, the church complex serves the community as St. Alban Ministry Center, a facility renting space to nonprofit entities and individuals.