New Berlin in Waukesha County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Freewill Baptist Church
But the dwindling congregation disbanded in 1925, incorporating into the Prospect Aid Society to maintain the building which was dubbed the “Prospect Aid Meeting House” and open to the community.
After a devastating arson fire, 1985, a grassroots group: Prospect Hill Restoration Foundation, restored the edifice which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Erected 1956 by Waukesha County Historical Society. (Marker Number 21-04.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • Churches & Religion.
Location. 42° 56.655′ N, 88° 9.615′ W. Marker is in New Berlin, Wisconsin, in Waukesha County. Marker is at the intersection of W. National Avenue and Racine Avenue, on the right when traveling west on W. National Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 19750 W National Avenue, New Berlin WI 53146, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cheney-Faulkner Cooper Home (approx. 0.4 miles away); Childhood Home of Wisconsin Governor Julius P. Heil (1876-1949) (approx. 0.6 miles away); Linnie Lac (approx. 1.1 miles away); Park Arthur (approx. 1.7 miles away); "Cornfalfa" Farms (approx. 2.2 miles away); Janesville Plank Road Tollgate (approx. 2.8 miles away); Muskego Beach Amusement Park (approx. 2.9 miles away); "Do I Smell Pizza-Burgers?" (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Berlin.
1. History of the Freewill Baptist Church
The Freewill Baptist Church began at the home of Rev. Rufus Cheney on July 11, 1840. Cheney was born in New Hampshire in 1790 and ordained in 1810. When the church began, baptisms by submersion were held at a spring in the woods. A schoolhouse was built across the street from his house in 1844.
The schoolhouse was moved on rollers in 1848 to the top of the hill known as Prospect Hill. Then on the same land in 1859 a church building was built. The design of the building was classic Greek Revival with a rare sunburst design on the front of the church. The
In 1866, the Ladies Aid Society was formed, and it was their duty to raise funds in various ways for the church. A parsonage was also built for the church around that time. The church had four rows of pews, with the two center rows separated by a low partition. The room was heated by two box stoves using wood cut from John Cheney's woods. John was Rufus's son. Originally, hymns were started with a tuning fork. Later an organ was installed in the balcony, and the choir sat around it. Prayer meetings were held on Wednesday evenings at the home of John Cheney where hymns were sung to the accompaniment of a melodeon.
During World War I the church supported a French war orphan named Jeanne Bizet who was 9 years old. In 1925, Prospect Hill lost it's identity due to the post office moving. This caused the people of the town to move out of the area as well. The church building was no longer used for church services by the Prospect Hill Baptist Church. The Ladies Aid Society absorbed the church and property to become the Prospect Aid Society. The building was rented by many organizations for their functions after that including other churches.
In 1985, an arson fire gutted the building leaving four walls, a Bible, and the bell. Wanting to preserve the church building, the Prospect
— Submitted June 15, 2011, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 17, 2010, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,231 times since then and 37 times this year. Last updated on August 19, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 17, 2010, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.