Note: All histories are cited or summarized from “Our Journey through Faith: A History of the Diocese of Superior,” by Sam Lucero, 2005. This is the second of a two-part series; this article continues the retreat theme on parishes dedicated to St. Joseph in the Diocese of Superior, in honor of the Year of St. Joseph.
Catholic Herald Staff
The fall months have special connections to Mary – the Sept. 8 feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin and October’s dedication to the devotion of the rosary – and these parishes dedicated to St. Joseph all offer opportunities for quality family time and personal reflection in prime locations for enjoying the autumn beauty of the Northwoods.
St. Joseph, Osceola
Mass: Saturday, 4 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.; Thursday, 7:30 a.m.
In 1868, the Osceola area became part of the new Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish, which was established six miles south of Osceola in Farmington. In 1910, it became apparent that parishioners from Osceola, Dresser and Nye needed a church of their own which could be tended as a mission from Farmington. In 1914, four lots were acquired in what was then the north part of Osceola. The original frame church was erected there on the corner of Chieftain Street and Seventh Avenue, and hosted Mass twice a month, which increased to weekly in 1940.
Foreseeing the need for a larger church, pastor Fr. James Taylor arranged for the purchase of four lots adjacent to the church. Construction on a multi-purpose building and rectory began on Sept. 15, 1969. The first Mass was celebrated in the new parish center on May 10, 1970, and dedication took place on Oct. 4.
Planning for construction of a new church began in 1980. Groundbreaking took place in July 1981 and Bishop Raphael M. Fliss dedicated the church on Aug. 8, 1982.
History and Heritage: From the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s official website, “More than 12,000 years ago, an immense flow of glacial ice sculpted a landscape of remarkable beauty across Wisconsin. As the glacier retreated, it left behind a variety of unique landscape features. These glacial remnants are now considered among the world’s finest examples of how continental glaciation sculpts our planet.”
One of only 11 National Scenic Trails, the IAT’s Western terminus overlooks the St. Croix River into Minnesota in Interstate State Park between Osceola and St. Croix Falls. Learn more at iceagetrail.org/ice-age-trail/.
Osceola is also home to the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway, with train rides that run every Saturday and Sunday. Visit transportationmuseum.org for information on fall color tours and the pumpkin express.
Outdoors Adventures: Osceola is located just south of Interstate State Park. Visit Cascade Falls, where the small town developed around a sawmill in the 1840s. The Osceola Picnic Bluff area is nearby, as is Riverwood Canoe & Kayak Rental service.
One of the two St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Visitor Centers is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in nearby St. Croix Falls and includes a national parks junior ranger program, passport stamps station and bookstore. More information is available at nps.gov/sacn.
St. Joseph Church, Barron
Mass: Sunday at 9:30 a.m.; Wednesday at 7:15 a.m. followed by adoration from 8 a.m.to 3 p.m., with the Divine Mercy chaplet at 2:45 p.m.
St. Joseph Church was incorporated in October 1907. In 1909, the old Ward School was purchased for $500 and moved to three lots on East LaSalle, which were purchased for $200. Up until 1941, St. Joseph was attached as a mission of Chetek. By 1944, the parish had grown to 60 families, a rectory had been purchased and a pastor appointed.
A new church was built in 1957; the church and rectory were joined together in 2002 to provide more worship space; religious education classrooms and office space were added.
History and Heritage: The Barron County Historical Society’s Pioneer Village Museum is located between Barron and Cameron. Although the regular season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, a new Oktoberfest event is taking place Sept. 25. Learn more at pioneervillagemuseum.org.
The “History is Happening” project – see the Pioneer Village website – seeks submissions from children and adults of all ages to submit recorded personal experiences related to the pandemic for future historians.
The Barron City Library, built in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style, is a historical building built with grant money received in 1912 from the Carnegie Foundation.
Outdoor Adventures: Walking distance from the library is the Blueberry Line Coffee House, located in the renovated depot building. One more block to the north is Anderson Park, along the Yellow River, with its large, updated playground.
St. Joseph Church, Rice Lake
Mass: Saturday, 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m., 1 p.m. (in Spanish) and 5:30 p.m.
St. Joseph Parish was organized in 1880 but continued as a mission of Stanfold, now Dobie, until 1887. In November 1880, Fr. Joseph Dole purchased property on West Marshall Street, site of the present church, from the Knapp-Stout Lumber Company. The first church was constructed of wood and brick veneer and was completed in 1881.
By 1906, the need for a larger church was evident due to an influx of French, German and Irish immigrants who settled in Rice Lake for the Knapp-Stout Lumber Company. In March 1908, demolition of the old church began. The cornerstone of the new church was laid July 4, 1908. On Thanksgiving Day, 1908, the gothic-style church was dedicated.
In 1936, a kitchen and restrooms were installed in the basement. Exterior renovations were made to the existing structure in 1947.
History and Heritage: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation started the Rustic Roads program in 1975. Two of the 122 designated scenic routes are in the Rice Lake area and provide the perfect way to enjoy the change of seasons. Check out the Rustic Roads page under the Travel/Travel by road links at wisconsindot.gov to find out more.
Rice Lake has a long-standing connection to Japan as a “sister city.” A Japanese Friendship Garden, designed in 1988, is located on the UW-Barron County Campus.
Outdoor Adventures: The Wild Rivers Trail system’s southern point is in Rice Lake; it connects with Tuscobia Trail at its western terminus for a section that is part of the Ice Age Trail until the IAT veers south just east of Red Cedar Lake.
The paved Cedar Side Trail runs along the Red Cedar river for 4 miles and is ideal for biking or walking. The Blue Hills trail system is also groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter.
St. Joseph, Amery
Mass: Saturday, 4 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday, 9 a.m.
On Sept. 11, 1890, ground was broken for the first Catholic church in Amery. At this time the church was a mission for visiting priests from Turtle Lake. The first resident pastor, Fr. Roman Fassbender, was appointed in 1914. Shortly afterward, Georgetown, Apple River, and Clear Lake became missions of Amery. The congregation was comprised of people of many nationalities including French, Irish, German, Italian, Scandinavian, Bohemian, Polish and Belgian descent.
In 1935, the church was destroyed by fire. The parish, consisting of 65 families, rebuilt the church. By 1974 the parish had grown to 274 families and in 1990, the parish had grown to more than 400 families. To meet the spiritual and educational needs of its members, a new church and parish center were built which included parish offices, a religious formation wing and a social hall. Ground breaking took place on Sept. 15, 2000. One year later, Bishop Raphael M. Fliss dedicated the new church.
Harkening to the Scandinavian roots of Amery and its history as a lumber town, the church design included high ceilings and the use of warm-toned timber frames and a tongue-and-groove ceiling.
History and Heritage: The Apple River flows through Amery, and the area has land and water activities to enjoy. Tubing and kayaking the river is a summertime favorite, while other seasons offer their own diversions.
Glenna Farms is primarily a maple syrup business hosts their MapleFest in late March but also offers a pumpkin patch in October.
Outdoor Adventures: The Stower Seven Lakes Trail is limited to hiking and biking. It runs 14 miles from near Dresser to downtown Amery at Soo Line Park. One block to the east, the Cattail State Trail begins its 18-mile route accessible to motorized vehicles and horses in addition to walking and winter skiing.
Rustic Road 28 crosses the Apple River north of town near Apple River Park and Campground.
Find a Fall Color report at travelwisconsin.com; the website projects the peak color to be the second week of October in Polk and Barron Counties.