Join Us in Writing Our History
The history contained on these pages is a work in progress. Our parish history has been posted on the web in order to have as many people as possible working on it. If you have information or photos about any of the topics below (or if you have suggestions for other topics), please use the comment feature. We have just started this project and we hope to be finished before our Parish Centennial in the fall of 2014.
The heritages of a missionary priest, the Ojibwe, Belgians, and iron-ore industry.
- Introduction–On the Shores of Allouez Bay
- The Heritage of a Missionary Priest
- The Kingdom of Belgium
- Belgian Immigration to the United States
- Belgian Immigrants Settle in Allouez
- Steady Growth of the City of Superior
- Establishment of the Diocese of Superior
- Growth of Superior’s “Eastern Suburb”
- Trains and Ore Cars, but no Street Cars
- Sunday Mass–No Short Order for Allouez
- Establishment of Belgian Club
- Parish Franciscan Roots
Fr. Rudolph Hanssens, OFM was a Belgian Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, who was the founding pastor of St. Anthony Catholic Church.
- New Parish Established by a Belgian Priest
- Construction of the Church Building
- Death of Pius X
- The Process of Naming a Church
- A Compromise Gives Unique Name for Parish
- Belgian Devotion to St. Margaret of Cartona
- The Desire for a Parochial School
- World War I–The Invasion of Belgium
- St. Anthony Parish Raffle in 1915
- Early Parish Sacramental Life
Fr. Francis Bertram, was a priest of the Diocese of Superior, and the second pastor of St. Anthony Catholic Church (1917-1925), whose pastoral administration was distinguished by executive ability and thoroughness.
- Parish Finds Strength in Unity
- A Sad Chapter in Ojibwe History
- Two Early Tragedies in the Parish
- Whooping Cough and Influenza
- Devotion to the Infant of Jesus of Prague
- The First Choir
- Early Weddings in the Parish
- Single Men / Boarding Houses
- Fr. Kubelbeck Begins His Long Tenure as Pastor
- The Parish Annual Report
- Pew Rents
- A New Altar from Italy
- Our Two Angels–A Gift from Bishop Koudelka
- 10th Anniversary of the Belgian Club
- Altar Society Established
- Generating Needed Building Funds
- Holy Name Society Organized
It was always the desire of the parish to have a Parochial School. At a meeting in the spring of 1925 the congregation gave their unanimous consent to the building of the school and cheerfully voted to expend the sum of $42,000 for the project having only raised $20,000. Although with the construction of the new school, the parish assumed a debt of $22,000, this burden, rested on willing shoulders. The building, which would consist of six classrooms (two of which were used as the sister’s convent), a gymnasium and auditorium, was designed by John O. Bach and built by contractors Jenson and Campbell.
- Arrival of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
- FSPA who Taught at St. Anthony (1925-1930)
- The Mission of the School and its Teaching Sisters
- The Grand Opening of the School
- Christmas at the School
- The School Bazaar
- The First Candy Sale
- St. Anthony Altar Servers
- St. Anthony School Spirit
- More Parish Organizations Established
- Teaching the Faith to the Children
- Devotion to St. Anthony
- PTA and Honor Roll Introduced in the School
Fr. William Kubelbeck, as pastor of Ss. Anthony and Margaret, provided stability during the years of the Depression and World War II.
- Parish Life During the Depression
- Needed Renovations and Maintenance
- FSPA who Taught at St. Anthony (1930-1935)
- Emerging Technology: The Radio
- A Parishioner’s Earliest Memories
- Explosion and Fire
- Silver Jubilee / Growth of the Parish
- Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life
- Children Out at Play on Wisconsin Point
- World War II
- Patriotism and the School
Fr. William Kubelbeck, as pastor of Ss. Anthony and Margaret, was assisted by Fr. Donn Tracy, Fr. Leo Krynski, Fr. Edward Theiler, and Fr. Harold Dodge in the 1950’s.
- A Family of Knights
- The Trip from Allouez to Itasca
- First Communion in 1949
- Fr. Kubelbeck Given Title of Monsignor
- Memories of the School
- FSPA who Taught at St. Anthony (1945-1962)
- Renovation of the Rectory
- Assistant Pastors
- Parish Life in the 1950’s
- Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life
- The Mimeograph Machine
- Plans to Build a New Church and Rectory
- New Church’s Construction and Dedication
- Stations of the Cross / Stained Glass Windows
- Photos of the Mass
- Monsignor Kubelbeck’s Funeral
Fr. Nowak was pastor of Ss. Anthony during the changes of Vatican II.
- The Second Vatican Council
- School Physical Fitness Program Instituted
- Introduction of the Vernacular
- Parent-Teacher Cooperation
- FSPA who Taught at St. Anthony (1962-1969)
- Confession and Mass Schedules
- Parish Debt Begins to Take Its Toll
- Taconite Conveyor Belt Introduced in Allouez
- Altar and Priest Turned Around
- Four New Wall Statues in the Church
- Saturday Evening Masses
- The Closing of St. Anthony Grade School
- Sale of the Convent
- Fr. Nowak Leaves St. Anthony
- Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Fr. Peter Makk succeeded Fr. Novak as pastor from 1969 to July 1975.
Fr. James Hoffman was appointed temporary administrator for a year.
Fr. Pius Machalonis was pastor from 1976 until his death on November 21, 1982.
Fr. Vincent Lynch who was assistant chancellor of the diocese and secretary to the bishop, was named pastor on August 3, 1983 until 1986.
During these transition years, each pastor worked to provide for the spiritual enrichment of his flock. Masses were said, sacraments administered, and the children of the parish continued to be taught–although not without great changes taking place.
- Veteran’s Day Ecumenical Service
- Petition in Response to Madeline Murray O’Hara
- Fr. Makk Encourages Weekly Hour Vigil of Prayer
- Orphans in the Rectory
- Supreme Court Legalizes Abortion
- Fr. Makk Leaves St. Anthony
- Fr. Pius Machalonis as Pastor
- Parishioners Travel to Chicago to See Pope John Paul II
- St. Anthony School Reunion
- Handicap Accessible Ramp Consructed
- New Code of Canon Law
- Fr. Vincent Lynch as Pastor
- Parish Clustering Comes to Diocese
- Sr. Johnetta Keeps in Touch
Fr. Raymond Schoone was pastor of St. Anthony from 1986-1996.
- Fr. Schoone Appointed Pastor
- First Parish Pastoral Council Meeting
- Remodeling of Gathering Space
- Parish VCR Purchased / Stolen
- 75th Jubilee Mass
- St. Anthony Fish Fry Begins
- Polka Masses
- The Gulf War
- Rectory Roof in Need of Repair
- Girl Altar Servers Introduced
- Renewing Parish Evangelization
- Support for Cathedral School
- Elevator Lift Installed
- Front Steps of Church Replaced
- Youth Group Activities and Fundraisers
Fr. Dean Buttrick was pastor of St. Anthony from 1996-2008.
- Fr. Dean Buttrick Appointed Pastor
- The Spirit Seekers
- Parish Develops Y2K Plan
- Super Bowl of Caring
- All Allouez Reunion Held at Belgium Club
- Sanctuary of Church Receives Makeover
- Parish Mission by Sr. Francis Clare
- September 11
- Parish Life Statistics
- Parish Mission Statement Revised
- Parish Responds to New Springtime Plan
- New Springtime Clustering
- Book of the Dead
- Fish Fry Dinners Remain Popular
- Fr. Dean’s 40th Anniversary as a Priest
- Passing of the Parish Secretary
- City-Wide RCIA
- Changes in Baptismal Font
- Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ
- Centennial Celebration of Diocese of Superior
- New Sanctuary Lamp and Processional Cross
- Candyland Bazaar
- New Glass Doors / Elevator Lift Repaired
- Church Sign on Highway
- Ceiling of Church’s Gathering Space Decorated
Deacon Phil Runser was Parish Life Coordinator of St. Anthony from 2008-2010. Fr. Ed Anderson and Fr. Don Kania served as Pariochial Vicars. In 2010 Deacon Tim Kuehn served briefly as administrator until Monsignor Phil Heslin was appointed Supervising Pastor until Fr. Kania was appointed full-time Pastor in 2012.
Ss. Anthony and Margaret Catholic Church claims many heritages of sorts. Some very deserving and esteemed (as they are associated with the foundation of the parish) involving the Franciscans and Belgians, others, also not without merit, that predate the existence of Allouez or Superior. These are associated with the early history of the region and also have some claim to who we are as a parish. Here we have the French explorers, the Jesuit missionaries and a group of Native Americans called the Ojibwe (Chippewa) people. In many ways, all of these heritages, as well as, the heritage left behind by the iron ore industry, present to us a framework from which to begin the history of St. Anthony Parish.
Fr. Allouez camped on the shore of Wisconsin Point in 1666 while ministering to the Ojibwe.1 The following year, he would establish a mission along Bluff Creek near the shore of the bay. Frustrated though with few Ojibwe willing to join the Catholic faith, he abandoned his evangelization efforts in about 1669.
While his intrepid courage won him admiration among the Ojibwe, his apostolic zeal earned him the title of “Francis Xavier of the American Missions,” having worked diligently among the Indians for thirty-two years.
Sixty-nine years old when he died, he was worn out by his heroic labors. He preached the Gospel to twenty different tribes, and is said to have baptized 10,000 neophytes with his own hand.2
Wisconsin Point (three miles in length) and Minnesota Point (seven miles) just northwest of the parish boundaries make up the largest freshwater sandbar in the world. They were formed by two rivers. The French traders who approached the west end of Lake Superior would eventually start calling the larger river on the right the St. Louis River (after the King of France) although the Ojibwe’s name for it was “Gichigami-ziibi” meaning “Great Lake River.” The stream on the left was called the Nemadji River (after the Ojibwe word “ne-madji-tic-guay-och” for “Left Hand River”). It is the Nemadji River that forms the western boundary of the parish.
In 1830, the Kingdom of Belgium was created out of the southern provinces of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands following a revolution in which the Catholic clergy opposed the Protestant Dutch king, William I. The national flag, adopted that same year, is a vertical tricolor of black, yellow, and red. On July 21, 1831, the first king of the Belgians, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg was inaugurated. This day is still the Belgian national holiday.
Belgium is a densely populated country not much larger than the state of Maryland. It is bounded on the north by The Netherlands, on the west by France, and on the east by Germany. The tiny nation of Luxembourg lies to the south. This strategic location has earned Belgium the nickname, “crossroads of Europe.” The Flemish, those residing in Flanders, the northern half of the country, speak Dutch. They make up the majority of Belgium’s population. Wallonia, the region closest to France, is occupied by the French-speaking Walloons. About 98 percent of Belgians are Catholic.
Belgians came to America in greatest numbers during the nineteenth century. They came for reasons no different than many other Western Europeans—financial opportunity and a better life for their families. Belgian immigration records do not appear until 1820. From 1820 to 1910, immigration is listed at 104,000; from 1910 to 1950, 62,000 Belgians came to the United States. During the period 1847 to 1849, when disease and economic deprivation were the lot for many in Belgium, emigration numbers of those leaving for America reached 6,000 to 7,000 a year.
In the late 1870’s, Belgians began to settle in Allouez bringing with them their rich Catholic heritage. Some had been displaced from the Peshtigo fire in the fall of 1871 which swept through their settlements.
When these early Belgians arrived, Allouez had two main wagon roads. They were built in 1863-64, by prospectors who had great hopes that areas south would become a major copper mining district similar to that in Michigan.
One of these roads from the Fond du Lac mine on the range to the Nemadji river, terminated at a ferry landing established on the river near what would become the 4th street bridge. Another road was built branching from this one near to what would become the ore dock scale house site by Bluff creek. It went southwesterly to the Copper Creek mine. (Source: Superior Telegram, February 10, 1906).
Although a copper boom never occurred, as the known deposits were too small or sporadic to warrant serious development, coal and iron ore was beginning to make its mark in the 1890’s when more Belgians came to the area looking for work. After landing in Buffalo, New York, they were sent by representatives of coal and iron companies to work at the coal yards and ore docks in Wisconsin.
Superior’s population in 1880 was 665. But in 1881, the Northern Pacific Railway entered Superior. Coal docks, lumber mills, merchandise docks, steel plants, flour mills, shipyards, and more railroads followed in an incredible rush. By 1890, Superior’s population was close to 12,000, and by 1900, its 31,000 residents made it the second largest city in Wisconsin.
The growth of the city of Superior at the turn of the century brought to the city peoples of various nationalities. Whereas the Belgians, and some Polish and French, were primarily associated with the foundation of Ss. Anthony and Margaret Church, other nationalities founded their own parishes to serve the needs of immigrants: The Germans founded St. Joseph, the Polish founded St. Stanislaus St. Adalbert Parishes, the French founded St. Louis Parish, and for the people of Slovak descent founded Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish.
Although they each in their own way developed into vibrant churches on the Superior religious landscape, they have since closed. They have died out or have merged with other parishes as priest shortages and financial hardship took their toll. The only one that remains is St. Anthony Church founded by the Belgians in 1914. There is an old Belgium saying, that one should stretch out all good things in life so they can be enjoyed as long as possible. This certainly applies to the parish of St. Anthony, which continues to stretch its resources despite all odds.
The illustration of Superior below is a bird’s eye view map of Superior, Wisconsin called the “New Steel Center” which was published by Bradley-Brink Co. in 1913. The map shows the St. Louis and Superior Bays along with the ports and the metropolitan area.