Immaculate Heart of Mary Church - Windthorst, Kansas
Although Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Windthorst, Kansas no longer serves a congregation, it is preserved as a National Historic Site. Windthorst was an unincorporated community which was founded by German immigrant families who moved west from Cincinnati, Ohio in 1878.
Like many of the other large German Catholic churches in western Kansas, the present building is the third church at this location. The first church at Windthorst was built in the spring of 1879 and the second church was constructed in 1892. Work on the present Immaculate Heart of Mary Church began on May 4, 1912 and the building was dedicated on June 12, 1913. In July of 1997, Diocese of Dodge City closed the church, but a non profit corporation, Windthorst Heritage, Inc. was formed to care for the building.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Church is a red brick brick Gothic Romanesque Revival church with a gable facade fronted by a 125' projecting steeple. Buttresses support the church on each side. The church was not stripped of its statuary and ornamentation after the Second Vatican Council in 1963 and is one of the most ornate churches in Kansas.
Windthorst Heritage, Inc. appears to be largely made up of alumni of the Windthorst High School, which operated next to St. Mary Church from 1922 to 1970. Only the foundation of the school remains, but a memorial to the school was constructed in 2009.
To reach Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, turn south of US50 / US56, just east of Bellefont, Kansas on 132 Road. Drive 3/4 miles south until the road does a T at Correction Line Road (Garnett Road). At this point you will see the church steeple a few miles ahead of you. Turn left .6 miles and 132 Road will continue to the right. Drive 2 miles south on 132 Road, then turn right .5 miles on Iron Road. The church is a half mile farther south on 132 Spur Road.
copyright 2011 - 2021 by Keith Stokes