"Joan of Arc's Chapel" Top 5 Page for this destination Milwaukee Things to Do Tip by yooperprof

Milwaukee Things to Do: 155 reviews and 204 photos

  a long way from home
by yooperprof

How did this 15th Century French Chapel - associated with St. Joan of Arc - end up in Milwaukee Wisconsin?

It was originally the "Chapelle de St. Martin de Sayssuel," located in the village of Chasse, close to Vienne in the Rhone Valley of south central France. Legend and Tradition associated this chapel with the young Joan near the beginning of her "mission," when she visited the region in 1429.

In the 1920s, it was still possible for wealthy American Art collectors to make incredible purchases of entire European buildings. Gertrude Hill Gavin, a devout heiress, purchased the "Chapelle de St. Martin" in 1926, and had it shipped, stone by stone, to her estate on Long Island, NY. (Gertrude was the daughter of railroad "king" James J. Hill, whose mansion in St. Paul MN is certainly worth a visit.)

It may amaze you that the government of France allowed such a historically and aesthetically imporant building to leave its shores - it certainly surprises me.

Apparently Gertrude Hill Gavin liked French things. She also purchased a Loire Vallery Chateau and had _it_ shipped stone by stone to Long Island.

Mrs. Gavin's heirs presented the Chapel to Marquette University as a gift in the early 1960s. And it was dismantled for a second time and again shipped a long distance, this time by cross-country trucks. During the 18 month process of reconstruction, certain modifications were installed - such as "in the floor" electric heating. It was officially rededicated in its current location in 1966.

Address: just off Wisconsin Avenue
Directions: the Marquette University campus

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 17, 2004
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