Sometimes when you are driving along the back roads of America, you just don't know what you may stumble upon. With the advent of GPS navigational devices, it makes taking an off the beaten path detour a little less adventurous since you know you can't get "too" lost. Since buying our Garmin (affectionately called "Toots") I have enjoyed getting out and exploring around Wisconsin. On this particular afternoon, I was planning to get to Sheboygan in time for a scheduled 1pm tour at their historical society. Fortunate for me, I was the only one as I got sidetracked by this lovely old catholic church in the rural community of Dacada.
Travel east on County Hwy K, I eyed the beautiful yellow brick schoolhouse and large church. I'm not sure if they were built of Milwaukee's cream city bricks or not, but at first look, they appear to be of the same yellow consistency that are indicative of cream city bricks used in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The settlement of Dacada was established in 1848 by immigrants from Luxembourg. Early religious services were held in a log cabin church built in 1849, which was the first church to be built in Sheboygan County. As the community grew, a larger church building was needed so a larger stone church was built in 1863 to meet the parish's needs. With further growth in the area, the current church was erected in 1911 and has been in continual service ever since.
Recent generations of parishioners are reminded of their Luxembourgian ancestry through the artwork and stained glass. In 1941 a mural depicting Our Lady of Luxembourg (Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted) was added to the sanctuary. More recently, an outdoor shrine was built in 1973 in celebration of the parish’s 125th anniversary. The shrine is located on the front lawn of the church and contains a statue of St. Nicholas along with a mosaic of Luxembourg’s Red Lion coat of arms.
The schoolhouse adjacent to the church was built in 1883 and served to educate children until 1969. At its highest enrollment, approximately 100 kids attended school here. Today the building sits vacant after serving as the Luxembourg Historical Society of Wisconsin museum from 1991 until 1999. Today the playground equipment remains, reminiscent of schoolyards of yesteryear.
Across the street from the church is the parish cemetery, St. Nicholas Cemetery. Many of the original immigrant settlers and their family members are buried there. Curiously, while the church is located in Sheboygan County, the cemetery is in Ozaukee County as Hwy K serves as the county line between the two jurisdictions.