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Unique event space hopes to offer one-of-a-kind resources for RNC visitors

St. James 1868 is a converted church that is now a popular wedding venue in Milwaukee
St. James 1868.jpeg
Posted at 9:17 AM, Nov 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-03 10:17:52-04

MILWAUKEE — Just steps from Marquette University sits St. James 1868.

Kate Crowle bought the property about three years ago after leaving her corporate job and leaning into her interests.

“I travel a lot, like around Europe, and you see these really cool castles turning into like markets or even event venues, pubs, breweries, and when I saw St. James, I just thought it'd be the perfect wedding venue,” said Crowle.

Kate says she was inspired to take the leap after suffering a devastating personal loss.

“My brother passed away in a car accident and you know, I only experienced grandparents passing away and you think that's never going to happen to you. And I think seeing somebody so young, it just made me look at my life a lot differently and want to take more chances and just try something completely different,” said Crowle.

Years ago, the space used to be a church.

Now, completely renovated into an event space, Crowle says that it's perfectly suited to welcome the thousands of people who are expected to come to Milwaukee next summer during the RNC.

“It’s very similar, I feel like, to wedding days where we have to have everything tight because a wedding is a very important day and you don't want anything to go wrong. But, at the same time, you're problem-solving throughout the day. So, I just don't see how that's going to be very different with the RNC,” said Crowle.

Kate says she lovingly chose everything you can see in the St. James, from the pictures on the walls to the furniture in every room.

The chairs in the former nave of the church were even repurposed from the old pews.

That passion for creating this space is something she wants to share with other women hoping to start their own businesses.

“It has been eye-opening as a female to try and do something like this, in a way that I didn't expect, and someday I hope to really help give back to other female entrepreneurs and help them because this was a process,” said Crowle.

Kate says what she's most excited about is to see other people fall in love with our city, just like she did.

“Milwaukee is an undiscovered gem. I did not grow up here. I grew up in Michigan, and I've lived a lot of places in the Midwest, and I absolutely love Milwaukee. So, I think it's most exciting that we can showcase our city,” said Crowle.