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History of St. Anskar's in Hartland, WI.

Grace Church  Hartland, WI

     Grace Church owed its beginning to the missionary labors of the men who began Nashotah House. In the fall of 1841, the Revs. James Lloyd Breck and William Adams, pioneers in the work which resulted in the Nashotah Mission being established, held services every other week in a log school house in Hartland. By 1857, Fr. William Christian was conducting services in various available buildings.

    Through the efforts of a Rev. Bennett, plans were started for the erection of a church building. In  1869, Bishop Kemper laid the cornerstone of Grace Chapel. William Toll, a student at Nashotah House, was the lay reader. Later, in 1911, he was consecrated Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago.

     In 1878 the congregation was formally admitted in union with the then Diocese of Wisconsin as an organized mission. The Mission was served by the faculty and students from Nashotah House until 1900 when a resident priest was placed in charge.


The Church of the Holy Innocents

Nashotah, WI


The first Diocesan Council of Wisconsin met in Milwaukee in 1847. Among the churches listed as being in union with that body was a “Scandinavian Parish, Pine Lake,” with the Rev. Gustave G. Unonius as pastor and the date of its organization as March 3, 1844.


The parish divided in the 1850’s. One group took the records and register of the church and founded St. John’s English Lutheran Church, Stone Bank. The other retained the log church and cemetery, and became Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, Nashotah.


The cornerstone of a new church building in Nashotah village was laid by the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper on June 21, 1864, with consecration by Bishop Kemper on June 21, 1866. The church was built through the efforts of 

the Rev. John L. G. Fryer, a graduate of Nashotah House. He was appointed to the cure of Holy Innocents in August, 1865. He died one month later and was buried in the church yard. His remains were moved to the Holy Innocents Cemetery in 1968 prior to the sale of the property.


Through the years, The Church of the Holy Innocents was served by the faculty and students of Nashotah House. Holy Innocents was the home parish of the Rt. Rev. Howard R. Brinker, fifth Bishop of Nebraska.



St. Anskar’s Episcopal Church

Hartland, WI


    Established as a Parish in union with the Diocese of Milwaukee on October 23, 1975.

     Formally Grace-Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, a mission of the Diocese of Milwaukee, established October 18, 1963 by the merger of The Church of the Holy Innocents, Nashotah and Grace Church, Hartland.

     The First service was held December 21, 1968, and the church building was consecrated by Bishop Donald H. V. Hallock on Sunday, January 26, 1969.  

    The architect, Maynard W. Meyer and Associates, was presented with a Merit award by


the Wisconsin Chapter of The American Institute of Architects for the design and

construction of the building. The design of the building and the choice of St. Anskar,

Apostle to Scandinavia, for the parish name reflects the Scandinavian heritage of this area.



       St. Anskar's Parish Hall before the expansion                    Milwaukee Journal Photo of the newly built nave of St. Anskar's                                                                                                                                              




Holy Innocent's Cemetary