THE HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH PARISH
Our celebration of 90 years as a parish in Scott City, formerly Illmo-Fornfelt, is due to the many benefits and great blessings received in previous years. Our booklet will detail the many hardships and great sacrifices endured to establish our Catholic Parish and will give a history of the developments and progress.
Many and great sacrifices were made by the early Catholics to preserve their faith and to bequeath their gift to generations to follow. As early as 1849, immigrants came from Baden, Germany traveling by steamboat from New Orleans up the Mississippi River. The fair shores of the northern part of Scott County invited them to settle. Catholics and Lutherans came about the same time, the latter, in greater numbers. The new colony was known as “Little New York Settlement”. The immigrants purchased small tracts of land from shareholders and began to familiarize themselves with farming methods, which were vastly different from what they were use to in their native land. They were practically isolated the greater part of the year from New Hamburg due to impassable roads in the winter, and in the spring from Cape Girardeau due to submerged lands commonly known as “Swamps”. These ambitious immigrants soon realized that insurmountable difficulties beset them on all sides. In their native land, they lived in or near villages and enjoyed comforts not to be hoped for here even in the distant future. They were ten miles from the nearest village, and one mile from school. Some of the Catholics were affiliated with St. Lawrence Church in New Hamburg, while others were members of St. Vincent’s Church in Cape Girardeau. In 1852, these devout settlers petitioned Father Leo of New Hamburg to minister to their spiritual needs and to celebrate Holy Mass in their midst. Father Leo readily granted their request, and said Holy Mass in their homes and gave much needed instruction to them from 1852 to 1853. In 1859, Father Leo left the area to take charge of St. Peter’s Church in Ohio.
In 1860, Mr. Louis Miller donated ten acres of land for church purposes, stipulating in the deed that said land should revert to the donor if the mission should cease to exist. The same year a small log building was erected, and the newly established mission numbered ten families; those of: Louis Miller, Burkhart, Jingling, Peter Compas, John Hire, Norman Compas, Max Brenneisen, Peter Gosche, John Oak, Scheinmann, and Mrs. Catherine Mines. A few families came from Thebes, IL when conditions permitted, and some occasionally came from Commerce; however, Commerce at that time was part of New Hamburg Parish.
Father George Tureck attended to the mission from 1861 to 1863. From 1863–1865, New Hamburg was with a pastor. Father Stromberger from 1865 to 1867; Father Scherer from 1867 to 1868. During the Civil War, divine services were conducted very irregularly. Then in 1868, the mission in “Little New York Settlement” ceased to exist. Two reasons may exist for the failure of the mission: 1) the mission had enjoyed no increase and 2) it was not centrally located. An attempt was made to organize a new parish more centrally located, but never executed. Some of the members of the little mission returned to St. Vincent’s Church while others attended St. Lawrence.
Mr. Casper Heisley owned a pottery factory, and after his death, Mr. Burkhart and Mr. Jingling continued the industry and donated one acre of land for cemetery purposes. The mission parish did not hold the deed to the property until 1860 or possibly 1865. About 35 bodies were buried in the cemetery.
Prior to the colonizing of the “Little New York Settlement”, a trading center had been established on the Mississippi River named Grayspoint after Captain Gray. Grayspoint dates back to about 1840. In 1844, lumber and gist mills were built.
In 1806, St. Louis Southwestern extended it tracks from Delta to Grayspoint. Grayspoint became the terminal of the St. Louis Southwestern. Cars were taken across the river on transfer boats. The St. Louis Southwestern used Grayspoint as the terminal from 1896 to March 27, 1905. Grayspoint was a lively trading center. In its boom days, the village numbered about 300 inhabitants.
In 1903, engineers and surveyors were busy locating a site for the erection of a bridge. In 1905, at a cost of $4,000,000, the states of Missouri and Illinois were connected by what was then considered the longest cantilever span in the world and the only river bridge between St. Louis and Memphis. The yards and the roundhouse were completed in 1905, and the railroad terminal was transferred from Grayspoint to Illmo-Fornfelt. The year of 1905 marks the end of railroad activities in Grayspoint and the beginning of the tri-cities of Illmo-Fornfelt-Ancell. The present terminal was operated jointly by the St. Louis and Southwestern, Missouri Pacific, the I.C. and the C. & E.I. The C. & E.I. operated freight and passenger trains through the terminal to Chaffee. The C. & E.I. abandoned their passenger trains into Illmo yards and discontinued their freight service in 1914, but still operated one freight train daily to Chaffee. The I.C. ceased operations in the yard in 1914. The Missouri Pacific continued to use the present terminal jointly with the St. Louis and Southwestern until August 29, 1920, when friendly relations between the two roads were severed.
The Missouri Pacific erected its terminal in Gale, IL. The Missouri Pacific, at the time, employed approximately 50 men besides the mechanical department in the roundhouse and the clerical office force. Some of the employees continued to live in the tri-cities and were taken to Gale by rail transportation. The move reduced the annual payroll by at least $150,000 and it was a severe blow. On June 30, 1927 came the second blow to the communities. An editorial read as follows: “Now that it is definitely decided that the superintendent’s office of the Missouri Pacific Railroad is to be moved from Illmo to Poplar Bluff, it behooves every citizen to sit steady and not rock the boat. While this is a severe blow to Illmo, it might have been worse. By this move, Illmo will lose some mighty good citizen who own property here and take a leading part in all business activities. Many of our citizens feel unkindly toward the Missouri Pacific for the move they have made without giving any previous notice of the contemplated change. We fail to see what good could have been accomplished by putting off this move three or six months. If the move had to come, better to have it come and be over with. We now have a condition and a -------------------confronting us. We know definitely where we are “at”. There are several retaliatory measures, which the city could adopt toward this road, but we doubt the wisdom of adopting any of them. At the meeting, Mr. Neff, general superintendent of the Missouri Pacific, it was definitely settled that the Missouri Pacific would never move its yards back to Illmo. There is one ray of light, however, arrangements have been made whereby those living in Illmo and Fornfelt will be able to go to Gale to work, two motor cars will be used. So this is the silvery lining to the present dark cloud. (Since the editorial appeared, the motor cars have been abandoned.) Mr. Neff stated that during the month of April the Missouri Pacific had lost in revenue of $1,300,000, during May $1,800,000 and that the June balance sheet was not completed but it would show a large deficit. This consolidation would save the railroad company over $1,000,000 a year in wages, and it was absolutely necessary for the company to economize.”
Having exhausted the supply of raw material near Cobden, IL, the Messler Box Company found it advantageous to move its plant to a new location, closer to the raw material. An abundant supply of timber in the near vicinity and excellent shipping facilities proved enough of an incentive to locate a factory in Fornfelt in 1908. The Messler Box Company employed as many as 400, with an annual payroll in excess of $150,000. During the years of its operation, the Box Company proved a great help to the people in the tri-cities. In December 1927, operations ceased partly due to the fact that the supply of raw materials had been exhausted and partly because paper cartons now take the place of wooden boxes. The closing of the Box Company was another severe blow to the community, and was followed by a real exodus.
To keep abreast with progress, two banks were organized, one in Fornfelt, the other in Illmo. The First State Bank of Fornfelt was chartered June 5, 1905. The original capital stock was $15,000. Henry Schuette was elected president, Anton Baundendistel as vice president, and Emil Steck served as cashier. The bank served the community for many uninterrupted years. The capital stock increased to $25,000, and the bank operated under the slogan, “safety first, profit next”.
The State Bank of Illmo was chartered in 1905, with a capital stock of $10,000. Mr. J. S. Norman served as president, Joseph Stimely as vice president, and Mr. H. K. Murphy as cashier. Heavy withdrawals in the spring of 1924 caused its doors to close on August 24, 1924. All deposits were paid in full. The bank was reorganized, now known as the Bank of Illmo, chartered September 22, 1925. Theo Horn served as president, Mr. J. J. Miller as vice president, and Mr. C. J. Palisch as cashier. The capital stock was $25,000, and the bank operated under the slogan, “conservative management”.
The original building loan was organized under the name of Scott County Building Loan Association March 15, 1915. The original authorized stock was $500,000; in 1937 it was $1,500,000. The reorganized Association appointed Messrs. George L. Eiston as president, J. J. Craig as vice president, and J. C. Holly as treasurer.
Mr. Joseph Mirgaux opened a brickyard in Fornfelt and used the soft mud process in manufacturing of bricks. The Mirgaux brick yard operated from 1905 to 1912, and marketed about 500,000 bricks.
In 1907, Mr. Joseph Stimely of Murphysboro, IL became interested in the brick business in Illmo, and operated the brickyard from 1907 to 1912. Mr. G. I. Moore purchased the yard from Stimely and erected a downdraft kiln costing $10,000. In 1919, the stock company was formed consisting of C. V. Holliday, Ed Schriefer, Anton Baundendistel, E. H. Moore, J. H. Biesswingert, J.J. Miller, D. T. Doty, J. P. Lightner and John Craig. The stock company retained Mr. Dolan as manager and elected the second downdraft kiln. Keen competition and slump in building closed the brick business in 1928.
These are a few of the more important events that have been given in this short history, that posterity may become somewhat familiar with the changes occurring between the cessation of the Catholic Mission in “Little New York Settlement” and the erection of a Catholic Mission in the twin-cities.
St. Joseph’s Parish of Illmo-Fornfelt is the youngest daughter of the Scott County Catholic Parishes. The Catholic ladies of Illmo under the leadership of Mrs. Williams and her faithful co-laborer Miss Edna Quigley organized a sewing circle to raise funds to build a church. A promise was made that, if the venture proved successful, to place the church under the Patronage of the Sacred Heart. Father Fitzkam was temporarily appointed to assist Father Klein during his illness in Kelso. After the death of Father Klein, Father Muehlsiepen became pastor of Kelso. The Archbishop appointed Father Fitzkam in September 1910 to survey the situation and report about the possibility of a parish. Father Fitzkam had a site in view west of the Box Factory. The Illmo people, especially the members of the sewing circle, were strongly opposed to this site. In fact, the objections were so vehement that Dr. Williams arranged an appointment with the Archbishop to state the grievances of the Illmo people. In the arranged interview, the Archbishop advised the Illmo representatives to select a location more agreeable to Illmo and acceptable to Fornfelt. The Archbishop granted permission to build a church, provided a sum of $1,000 would be raised to erect a building free of debt.
Father Fitzkam had, in the meantime, taken up subscriptions. Upon the removal of Father Dette from Benton, Father Fitzkam was appointed to fill the vacancy. The burden now fell upon Father Muehlsiepen to establish, if possible, a mission to serve both Illmo and Fornfelt. Father Muehlsiepen called a meeting to discuss the possibility of a site acceptable to both towns. In this meeting, Mr. Joseph Scherer offered to donate two acres anywhere on his farm, providing the church would be called St. Joseph. Mr. Charles Hamm was delegated to select a site, and the present site of St. Joseph was the one he selected. Mr. Scherer’s request was not at all agreeable to the sewing circle of Illmo, who had promised to build a church in honor of the Sacred Heart, and who had labored so faithfully that now they had a fund exceeding $800 for that purpose. The ladies gave in, and at the advice of Father Muehlsiepen, they consented to Mr. Scherer’s request, however, somewhat reluctantly. The dispute about the site caused a delay of two years. In 1911, Father Muehlsiepen arranged to hold monthly services in Jacob’s Hall until a suitable building could be provided. In June 1912, Father Muehlsiepen laid the corner stone for the new church. The building was erected under his supervision at the cost of $1,200 and dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, by the Most Rev. Archbishop J. J. Glennon, D.D. Father Walsh, C.M. of Cape Girardeau and members of Kelso choir sang the High Mass, and the Archbishop delivered the sermon. During the year preceding the appointment of a resident pastor, Father Joseph F. Monaghan, C.M. of Cape Girardeau assisted Father Muehlsiepen in conducting weekly service. The church lacked but one mark of American Catholicity, it had no debt.
First Resident Pastor
Father Lager was born in St. Louis, attended St. Agatha’s School, continued his studies at Selanus College in Quincy IL and in Europe. He spent some time in Rome doing research work, received his Doctorate in Sacred Theology and was ordained July 26, 1905, in the famous University of Innsbruck, Austria. Upon his return from Europe, he was appointed as assistant pastor in St. Augustine’s Church in St. Louis and later assigned as pastor to Frankenstein in Osage County. Fr. Lager was transferred from Frankenstein to the new established parish in Illmo-Fornfelt in the early part of July 1913. Fr. Lager’s first Baptism, Catholic Marriage and Funeral, according to the parish records were as follows:
Baptism: Anna Pauline Schleuter, daughter of Alvinus Schleuter and Mary Hahn on July 13, 1913
Marriage: August Miller and Mary Wray on October 28, 1913
Funeral: Francis Futter funeral in June, but no date or year given.
However, according to reliable statements of some parishioners, the funeral of Futter took place during Fr. Lager’s pastorate.
For the first three years, Fr. Lager lived in Mr. Scherer’s farmhouse. The parishioners made strenuous efforts to provide a residence befitting the position of their pastor. In the spring of 1917, our former rectory was erected at a cost of $3,000, under the supervision of Miller Bros, who donated most of the labor, and Joseph Mirgaux, who donated the greater part of the brickwork. The materials for the rectory were purchased at a great reduction in price.
Francis (Frank) Futter was the first to be laid to rest in the old cemetery. The old cemetery served the parish until 1917 when the new cemetery was purchased, deed dated July 25, 1917, from Lightner and Huggins. The first interment was that of Anna Howenstein, daughter of Charles Howenstein and Nora Ryan on July 28, 1917. The old cemetery was sold February 14, 1917 to Mr. Perkins on the condition that the remains buried since January 1912 is removed within 6 months. All other graves prior to January 1, 1912 shall not be desecrated, and the plot of ground not cultivated for the space of twenty-five years from the above date. Four bodies have been exhumed from the old cemetery and interred in the new cemetery.
Fr. Lager made an attempt to establish a parochial school, but the great difficulty of obtaining a religious order to accept the school prevented attempt from becoming an established fact. During Fr. Lager’s time, burglars entered the church during the night, but fortunately there was no desecration. Father took all necessary precautions by installing a burglar alarm system to prevent a future occurrence.
The interior of the church was decorated in a rather unique way. Fr. Lager was well versed in all the symbols found in the Catacombs of Rome. He reproduced in the church, among others, the Alpha and Omega, the Ichthus, and the Chi-Rho, the grape and wheat, and the pelican frequently interspersed, almost to excess. The people considered the decorations as mere empty figures without meaning until Fr. Lager, in a very intensive and somewhat prolonged course of instruction, explained the meaning of the various symbols to his attentive and eager listeners.
Fr. Lager labored faithfully for the spiritual and material welfare of the parish from July 1913 to July 9, 1922. On the evening of July 9th, a dinner was given to Father Lager in recognition of his faithful service. Mr. Baudendistel acted as toastmaster. The principal speaker was Father Schoen. Fr. Lager responded, thanking all his friends and faithful parishioners for their loyal support and cooperation. Fr. Lager departed the following day for Maxwell, his newly assigned field of labor. Fr. Lager died in Maxwell on March 31, 1927 at the age of 47.
On July 1, 1922, approximately seventy-five men were called out on strike. The strike continued over a period of months with a considerable loss to both parties involved. The strike finally terminated, but not to the advantage of the employees.
Here is a short history lesson of people in elected offices during this time period: the reigning Pontiff was Pius XI; Archbishop of St. Louis was Rt. Rev. J. J. Glennon, D.D., President of the U. S. was Calvin Coolidge, and the Governor of Missouri was Sam Baker
Knowing the importance, which our Divine Savior attaches to religious instruction and the Church’s motherly solicitude for the youth, the parishioners realized more and more, and the duty of erecting a parochial school. All were conscious of the fact that sacrifices would be required to erect and maintain a school. Many realized that a Saturday morning Catholic instruction was not sufficient to impart a through religious instruction. This important matter was discussed in a meeting on Sunday, February 4, 1923. In this meeting, an overwhelming vote was cast in favor of the erection of a parochial school. A committee was appointed, consisting of Messrs. Burkhard, Miller, J.J. Hess, Daniel Stroder, Charles Hamm, Anton Baudendistel, J.J. Miller, Dr. Williams, William Scheeter, Roy Rerrier, and Madames Welsh, J.J. Miller, Williams, Baudendistel and Rahmueller. Due to lack of funds and scarcity of Sisters, the opening of the school had to be postponed until September 1925. Immediate arrangements were made to gather funds, and a fund exceeding the cost was raised before construction began.
In January 1925, the basement was excavated. Basement and foundation were completed during February. All necessary material was purchased during the month of February, at a considerable saving. The cornerstone for the new parochial school was laid Sunday, March 1, at 3 p.m. by the Very Rev. E. Pruente, the first Dean of the Cape Girardeau Deanery, in the presence of a large gathering of people. The Rev. John T. Lonergan, of Chaffee, delivered the address suitable for the occasion. On the same day, the Altar Society was erected, with Mrs. J. J. Miller, president, Mrs. Welsh and vice president, and Mrs. Pelly as secretary.
The erection of the building, under the supervision of J. J. Miller Construction Co. and Mr. Joseph Mirgaux, progressed rapidly. The building was completed the early part of August at a cost of approximately $12,000. Dedication and a picnic were set for August 16 at 9 a.m., and the church was filled with worshipers, Catholics and non-Catholics. Fr. Lager sang the High Mass; Father Muehlsiepen gave the Benediction. After the service, clergy and laity marched in procession to the new school. Fr. Pruente dedicated the new building. Fr. Lubeley, of St. Louis, preached an inspiring sermon, praising the members of the parish for their loyalty, and urging them to support the new undertaking.
Other priests in attendance were: M. J. LeSage of Cape Girardeau, H. J. Eggemann of Jackson, J. F. Hoeschen of Creve Coeur, C. Moenig of New Hamburg, E. J. Lemkes of St. Louis, M. Helmbacher of Oran, W. A. Kotte of Weingarten, F. J. Holweck of Rhineland, F. Eckoff of St. Louis, C. J. Hoffschwelle of Benton, W. Fisher of Advance, H. A. Schmalle of Belgique, G. Haukap of St. Louis, G. Fugel of Krakow, F. J. Walsh of Cape Girardeau, A. Toebben of Apple Creek, J. Huber of Perryville and H. Hassler of Bloomsdale.
All preparations were made to open the school in September, but unfortunately the Sisters of St. Joseph, who had promised to accept the school, were not able to supply teachers due to a shortage of Sisters. Hence, it was necessary to postpone the opening of school and to engage a different order. In the early part of 1926, Mother Jolandis, Superior of the Notre Dame School Sisters, promised to supply teachers in September 1926. Three Notre Dame Sisters arrived on August 30, 1926. The Sisters were Florentis, Theota and Eulogena. On September 6, at the opening of school, eight-five children greeted the Sisters.
The faithful parishioners now saw their long cherished hopes an established fact. In June 1927, Eugene Welsh, James Williams, Alfred Scherer, Thomas Smith, Mary Hahn, Helen Weber, Clara Scherer and Vivian Henry received their eighth grade diplomas. The attendance at the opening of school surpassed all expectations. All indications pointed to one hundred children for the following year. However, transferring of and closing of industries reduced the number of families in the parish, and consequently the number of children. In 1935, it was deemed advisable to close one classroom.
Chamber of Commerce
Mr. G. C. Swinney was primarily instrumental in organizing the Chamber of Commerce in the spring of 1924. Mr. J. E. Kindead was the first president, and Mr. J. H. Dolan served as secretary. The Chamber of Commerce, with the loyal support of citizens, has rendered valuable services. They were responsible for locating the factories and resurfacing streets as outstanding accomplishments.
The leading business and professional men formed a Rotary Club in the summer of 1926. Mr. E. L. Purcell, the late editor of the Jimplicute, and one of the principal promoters, was elected as the first president. The membership was never very large. The organization possesses quality rather than quantity.
In the early part of 1927, interest was aroused in the Menzy Factory. The Menzy Shoe Factory asked the community for a bonus of $75,000, approximately half of the sum was used for the construction of a 25,000 sq. ft. building in the community, and the balance was paid in cash to said shoe industry. Enthusiasm ran high. Community meetings were called and committees were appointed to gather funds to secure the factory. It was a tremendous undertaking, and in January 1928, the Menzy Shoe Factory began operations. It was hoped, at the time, that the Shoe Factory would absorb at least part of the Box Company’s labor force. But, sad to say, expectations were not fulfilled. The opening of the industry was not encouraging; operation was spasmodic. In November 1929, the Shoe Factory ceased to operate. The outlook was gloomy. The only silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud was the assurance that the building, upon ceasing to operate, would revert to the community. The Menzy Shoe Industry proved to be an expensive venture.
Despite the failure of the shoe factory, the spirited minded citizens of the tri-cities made a determined effort to locate Ely-Walker Company in Fornfelt. In the later part of 1927, a community meeting was held in the Legion Hall to consider the possibility of procuring additional employment. The question confronting the community was whether it would hurt more not to contribute and lose an industry, or to contribute and locate additional industries. One of the businessmen in Illmo made this statement: “unless something is done, the town will become a corn field”. A committee was appointed to gather funds. After a long and strenuous drive, the committee succeeded in raising approximately $25,000. The contract was given to E. H. Moore in the spring of 1928. The funds were exhausted before the building was finished, and Ely-Walker completed the building.
In April of 1929, Ely-Walker began operations in the newly erected factory. In the early part of 1920, they took over the Menzy building and changed it into a garment factory. Part of the newly constructed building was converted into a hosiery mill. Ely-Walker venture into the manufacturing of hosiery did not prove a success.
In 1927, the community saw the transferring of the Missouri Pacific office to Poplar Bluff, and the closing of the Box Company. The aggregate payroll of the two industries exceeded $250,000. The brickyard became a desolate place in 1928. In 1929, the Shoe Factory also closed its doors. The same year, the railroad reduced the number of employees. Adverse conditions had affected the community seriously before the general depression, in November of 1929, began to exert its affects. All indications pointed to a rapid and complete annihilation of the community. Signs of improvement appeared in 1933. Ely-Walker added an addition of 25,000 sq. ft. to the present garment factory. The Claussner Hosiery Company of Paducah, KY leased the Ely-Walker Mill in September 1933 and employed 85 people, and the railroad staged a come back. These industries were a valuable asset to the community.
Houck’s Missouri and Arkansas Railroad
Louis Houck, a man of broad vision and boundless energy was the pioneer railroad builder in Southeast Missouri. The first spike was driven May 1, 1989, in Houck’s railroad connecting Commerce and Morley. The road was extended from Commerce to Cape Girardeau in the summer of 1898, being completed in time to take care of the watermelon crop. The St. Louis Gulf Railroad Company purchased the Houck line in 1903. Almost immediately after the purchase, the Frisco Railroad Company took over the Gulf Line and used it as a feeder until March 14, 1934. With the advent of concrete highway and modern truck service, both proved too strong of a competitor for the Gulf Railroad, and Houck’s famous railroad, which was an artery of transportation for more than forty years, is now but a chapter in ancient history.
In the latter part of 1927, Missouri Pacific surveyors and engineers were busy locating a right-of-way connecting Cape Girardeau with the main line. The Frisco naturally objected to a competitive railroad entering its territory. The Interstate Commerce Commission granted a hearing May 1928 and give the Missouri Pacific permission to carry out their plan. Construction began early in 1929. The first train over the newly constructed road entered Cape Girardeau on Armistice Day, November 11, 1929.
The Altar Society was erected on March 1, 1925. The members of the Altar Society have rendered valuable service to the parish. The men’s and young men’s, and young ladies’ societies are of more recent date. They have not been as active as might be expected, but it is hoped that they will follow the splendid example of the Altar Society. The men and young men also formed a Holy Name Society. The purpose of societies is solidarity. In unity is strength, and unity and harmony spell strength for the entire parish.
The number of vocations is not what we expect, yet there are three who heard the call:
Margaret Grasser, who entered the Most Precious Blood order, in Ruma IL.
Christine Scherer, who entered the Franciscan order, in Joliet IL
Corona Schoen, who entered St. Mary’s the Third Order of St. Francis, in St. Louis, MO.
A credit union is a corporation organized under a state or federal charter and is subject to the usual banking regulations. It is a miniature bank; it receives deposits, makes loans and is empowered to invest surplus in approved securities. The credit union is a cooperative bank, because it is owned and managed by its members, each member having one vote in the election of officers. The parish credit union was established June 11, 1933.
Missions are extraordinary days of grace to bring the hearts of men closer to God. Father Hoelting, a diocesan missionary, gave several missions during Father Lager’s time. Unfortunately, the dates have not been recorded. In 1925, Father Titus, O.F.M., conducted a mission from November 15th to November 22nd. Father Joseph, O.M.F. gave a mission from November 29th to December 8th, commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the parish.
Additions to the Church
In a parish meeting held on Sunday, January 13, 1936, it was decided to renovate the old building and add a sanctuary and sacristies. A building committee was appointed, consisting of J. J. Miller, Dr. Williams, Albert Losse, Alfred Welsh, Charles Welsh, Charles Hamm, Louis Kalkbrenner, and George Buhs. The building committee and the parish committee drafted a tentative plan to be submitted in a meeting on Sunday, February 24th. The attendance of this meeting favored the enlargement of the present building by twenty feet and renovating the old building in preparation for the Jubilee in 1937. Pledges were taken and a fund gathered so that work could be started in the early part of 1936. On March 2nd, the parishioners began excavating the basement for the new structure. Many parishioners gave their time in labor rather than in money. The work was completed in the later part of November at a cost outlay of $2,300. The addition and renovation improved the interior view of the church. Modern unit heaters replaced the old smoky furnace. The walls are plain, and the famous symbolism on the wall is now only a memory. There is now ample space between the pews and communion rail. The sanctuary contains two small side altars donated by the men. The main altar is elevated, enameled and artistically gilded. Individuals and the Altar Society have donated new vestments. A beautiful new monstrance designed by the famous ecclesiastical artist William Raucher of Fulda, Germany was donated by Mrs. J. J. Miller. All this preparation is for the silver jubilee.