St. Hyacinth was founded as Milwaukee’s third Polish Roman Catholic Church in 1883 after St. Stanislaus (1866) and St. Hedwig (1871).

Overcrowding at St. Stanislaus led its pastor, Monsignor Jacek “Hyacinth” Gulski, to divide the parish to form what became St. Hyacinth. Gulski ended up taking charge of the new parish. He came to Milwaukee as a refugee who resisted German persecution during the Kulturkampf (culture struggle), when the German Empire persecuted Catholics and non-Germans, including in the German-conquered area of Poland.

Saint Hyacinth Church was designed by Swiss-born Milwaukee architect Henry Messmer in the Renaissance Style incorporating Polish and some Gothic features. It is constructed of Cream City Brick, and sandstone trim on a limestone base. The church features ceiling murals from 1889, painted by Swiss artist L. Rusca. The nave’s walls also bear eight murals painted in 1899 by Italian-born Joseph Vittur. The building epitomizes a Polish ethnic church. All of the saints on the High Altar are Slavic saints. The Stations of the Cross and writing on the stained-glass windows, which date to the 1920s are in Polish.

This was a church where Polish immigrants could celebrate their Polish culture and Polish expression of the Catholic faith. It now serves a similar role for immigrant Latinos whose only significant modification has been the addition of an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a bare spot of the nave.

The Milwaukee County Historical Society designated St. Hyacinth as a County Landmark in 2022. The parish is working toward listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors will be able to hear about St. Hyacinth’s founding pastor and history and receive a guided tour of the artwork throughout the church. Handicap-accessibility is available from the rear of the property in the walkway between the church and rectory.

1414 W. Becher St.

Saturday Hours
1 pm - 5 pm

Sunday Hours
1 pm - 5 pm

Photography, Video, Tripods Permitted

Handicapped Accessible
Fully wheelchair accessible


Photo Tour