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Kansas Architectural Wonders - July 7, 2017

Holy Cross Church in the Ellis County town of Pfeifer. (Photo Courtesy of Carol Billinger, www.germancapitalofkansas.com)

Q: When the Kansas Sampler Foundation asked people to vote on the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture, the structures that received the most votes included the Kansas Statehouse, the Chase County Courthouse, the Ness County Bank, two barns, two mansions and exactly one church. Give us the name of the only church to make the list and tell us where it's located.
 


 
A: Holy Cross Church in Pfeifer
 
Voted as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture by the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the Holy Cross Church in Pfeifer is a glorious example of Gothic architecture and perhaps the finest example in the whole state. Here's what the Kansas Sampler Foundation has to say: The church features a rib-vaulted ceiling supported on delicate, decorative columns and pointed arches for the windows and doorways. The structure is 165 feet long, 50 feet wide at the nave, and 75 feet wide at the transepts. The central spire is 165 feet high, believed to be the tallest Gothic church spire in Kansas. Each of the two side spires is 100 feet high. It was modeled after similar church designs in Europe (especially those in Bavaria). Construction on the post-rock limestone building began in 1915, and the church was dedicated on May 3, 1918. Stained-glass windows and additional interior decoration were added in later years.  
 
The Diocese of Salina dissolved the parish in 1993, but the church itself remains open to the public on a daily basis and is in pristine condition. In order to preserve this magnificent structure, the few remaining parishioners formed Holy Cross Charities, Incorporated, a non-profit that depends solely upon donations. Contributions can be mailed to Allen Roth, 1313 Steven  Drive, Hays, KS 67601. The church is available for funerals, weddings, and other services, and the public is welcome to come view the church.  
 
The town of Pfeifer is located in Ellis County, about 10 miles south of Victoria, on the south bank of the Smoky Hill River.  
 
Fun Factoid: Holy Cross is known as "the two-cent church" because parish families paid two cents for each bushel of wheat they produced to fund construction. Parishioners also donated much of the labor, including the quarrying and delivery of the stone. Total cost of the church was $56,000.  
 
See more photographs of Holy Cross Church here.  
 
More beautiful pictures can be found here.

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