Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2005

Little white church has long history

July 28, 2005

The church at 103 E. Kay St. was originally a small building on a hill overlooking the Missouri River in Delaware City in 1854. When the Kansas State Prison was built in 1864, people began to move around the prison and south of Lansing. A movement was started to move the little St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church to Lansing. This met with strong opposition by the people who worked so hard to build the church, but Bishop John Baptist Miege decided in favor of the move to Lansing. About 1884, the church was moved with teams pulling the building over big logs used as rollers, two miles to the west to its present site.

The priests were considered missionary priests and took care of many locations, such as the state prison, St. Vincent's Home, St. John Hospital and the Kickapoo Mission.

From 1900 to 1910, a building fund was established to build a new church.

In 1910, Father F. G. Geintz came to Lansing and found a substantial building fund. At this time it was decided not to build a new building but to build onto each side of the present building. Also added were stained glass windows and new pews. That was a big improvement over the straight board seats and the straight board backrests.

A coal furnace was installed in the small basement area, which was a big improvement over the pot-bellied heating stove that was half way down the aisle on one side of the church. The men in the parish took turns starting the fire on Saturday evenings so it would be warm Sunday morning. When my dad did this, he always opened the windows before he started the fire because he said it was easier to heat fresh air then stale air. He also installed the first electricity in the building.

In the late 1930s, the small basement was enlarged to a full basement and was dug out with shovels and wheelbarrows. There would be six or eight people working at the same time. The dirt removed from the basement was used to enlarge the parking lot in the back.

The large kitchen area was extended to the north in the late 1940s and Adolph Zinser built the cabinets and also built the altar that is still in use today.

The last Catholic services in that building were Feb. 8, 1979, and it is now the Trinity Church of God in Christ. That building has been a continuous house of worship since 1854.

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