Artist to dismantle spire saved from St. Rafael Cathedral fire to preserve its history

spire st. raphael.jpg

MADISON, Wis. - One hundred fifty years of history was destroyed when a fire burned down the St. Rafael Cathedral 14 years ago.

The spire was the only thing that was saved. For the past seven years, the spire has been sitting at a storage facility on East Washington Avenue. According to Monsignor Kevin Holmes, the owners of the facility are selling the property, meaning the spire had to be moved.

"The size of the spire made it difficult and expensive to transport," Holmes said. "The final decision allows for a dignified use for the spire materials at little or no net cost to the parish. In the end, it wasn't a hard decision to make."

Local artist Jeremiah Logemann was contacted by members of the church to dismantle it and turn its pieces into public art.

"This is the story that everyone knows," Logemann said. "I don't want this to go to waste because if it wasn't for us doing this, this would end up in a landfill."

Logemann said he was on the church's radar when considering future plans because he "had a potential buyer a year ago and that fell through, but they got excited about that opportunity. When that fell through, they reached out a couple more times, and I didn't have any answers for them. It wasn't until I thought, 'What if I took it on myself?' Hopefully, we can find some public space for some public art."

Logemann said there are no definite plans of what he will turn the pieces of the spire into but hopes that whatever the plans entail, the pieces stay in Madison.

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"Everyone is familiar with St. Rafael's Cathedral and what happened," Logemann said. "Someone set fire to the cathedral. It burned down, and they saved this part of it. It's a story that touches a lot of people. So hopefully it can stay right here."

Logemann said he would like people to contact him if they have ideas of what they would like to see the spire turned into or if anyone has storage where he can place some pieces until he can get to them. To contact Logemann, you can email or call 608-239-2433.