Madison artist is transforming former cathedral steeple into works of art Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, May. 14, 2020 -- 12:00 AM
Cathedral Steeple Art
The new steeple was installed at St. Raphael Cathedral in Madison, left, just three months before an arson fire destroyed the church. Madison artist Jeremiah Logemann, right, is turning the former steeple into pieces of art.
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Catholic Herald file photo, left;
Catholic Herald photo/Mary C. Uhler, right)

MADISON -- What can an artist make out of 20 tons of material salvaged from a former church steeple?

That's what Madison artist Jeremiah Logemann is asking. He obtained the steeple that used to grace the top of St. Raphael Cathedral in downtown Madison.

Arson fire

In 2004, a $1 million project had replaced the former deteriorating steeple at the cathedral. But just over three months after it was installed, an arson fire destroyed the historic church in 2005.

The steeple remained intact, but much of its outer steel was heavily damaged by water from fire hoses.

The belfry was dismantled with only the spire remaining. It was stored in the Reynold's Transfer & Storage parking lot in Madison.

Problem with storage

Last year, Msgr. Kevin Holmes, rector/pastor of St. Raphael Cathedral Parish, was told that the property was going to be redeveloped. A decision had to be made about the spire. Moving it would have been very costly.

Logemann had heard about the spire and called the Diocese of Madison after a client asked him to find a steeple.

Monsignor Holmes called Logemann back. "Jeremiah was a God-send. Without him, it would be very difficult to see what a good option would have been," he said.

Although Logemann's client ended up not wanting the steeple, Logemann decided to take it anyway.

He will try to use all the material salvaged from the steeple. "I don't like things going to waste," he said in an interview at his Madison home, where much of the steeple is stored.

"I am not going to throw anything away."

Larger items first

Logemann is the owner of Flags Over Wisconsin. Perhaps he is best known for making flags from reclaimed barn wood.

He would like to use the steeple remnants to make larger items first, preferably religious art.

"It would be lovely if some of Jeremiah's art could depict a sacred subject, but he's made no particular commitment to that," said Monsignor Holmes. "It's nothing we insisted upon. But frankly we just needed to do something with the spire."

"The Church is eager to have this material live on," said Logemann.

He suggested one idea would be for other churches to request that he make items for their buildings. "If anyone is looking for large angels, for example, that might be something I could do."

Outside of churches, he said businesses, nonprofits, or even families might be interested in yard art.

He created a unique countertop recently for the Dark Horse Restaurant in Madison. "I used stainless steel and copper shingles for the piece, which is used as a divider in the restaurant," he said.

"Right now I'm designing a huge dragon fly. Two people have expressed interest in it," he said.

He has made some crosses out of the copper shingles. "I gave one to Monsignor Holmes," he said.

Parishioners want mementoes

He has heard from parishioners of the cathedral parish. "They have said how much the building meant to them. Some of them were married there. I had a father and son come to see me. They wanted just a small piece of the steeple."

He has even thought of working with a jeweler to create wearable art.

Logemann said, above all, the steeple was important. "This is special stuff for a lot of people. It shouldn't end here."

Logemann is willing to talk with people who have suggestions for what he can create. He can be reached at 608-239-2433 and at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it His website is at www.flagsoverwisconsin.com