Rev. Idziego Tarasiewicza

Cemetery chapel harbors a mystery

Milwaukee Calvary Cemetery Chapel exterior view, east side of building

The mausoleum beneath the 1899 Cream City brick chapel in Milwaukee’s Calvary Cemetery seems an ideal last resting place. The elegant little chapel features soaring arches rising to a domed ceiling, a rose window, and a high altar. It was designed by Erhard Brielmaier, the same man responsible for Milwaukee’s Basilica of St. Josaphat.

Its location is significant too. Overlooking today’s Miller Park, the chapel stands at the eastern edge of Calvary Cemetery atop one of the highest elevations in Milwaukee. Called Jesuit Hill, it is largely given over to burial places of clergy and members of Catholic religious orders. It was the location of a large wooden cross until the chapel’s construction.

The cemetery itself contains a great deal of local history. Consecrated in 1857, it is the oldest major Catholic cemetery in the city. The grave of Solomon Juneau, co-founder of Milwaukee, is here, along with brewer Frederick Miller, meatpacker Patrick Cudahy … and architect Erhard Brielmaier.