John Barnes, born 1884, was a corporal in the Fifth Wisconsin Infantry in World War I. He was one of seventy Waushara County volunteers on board the Tuscania when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland. While adrift in the North Atlantic, John asked God to spare his life. He vowed that if he lived, he would build a chapel as an act of thanksgiving. Barnes was rescued and returned to Wautoma. In 1932, after he retired, he built this chapel on the property he owned on Bugh’s Lake.
Over seventy tons of stone were used in making the chapel, some weighing as much as 600 lbs. All the stones were handset. The rocks used have come from as far away as Minnesota and Michigan, but the predominant stone is the colorful sandstone found in the area. Benches and a grotto were made from various sized stone and were placed around the chapel.
In the 1940s Mr Barnes gave the chapel to the Parish of St Peter’s in Ripon. Services have been conducted ever since, currently at 5:30 PM on Saturdays.
In 2007 the interior of the chapel was renovated. For pictures of the renovation, click here.