Rural Culture Element represented: Architecture
St. Fidelis Church is one of The 8 Wonders of Kansas becaus
the architectural grandeur and the impressive craftsmanship achieved by the
Volga German pioneers!
If you're anywhere near Victoria, you can't miss the twin bell towers of
St. Fidelis rising majestically above the plains. With a seating capacity
of 1,100, St. Fidelis was the largest church west of the Mississippi when it
was completed in 1911. Its beauty and size inspired William Jennings Bryan
(visiting the area in 1912 on a presidential campaign) to dub it the
"Cathedral of the Plains."
The stone for this massive Romanesque structure came from a quarry seven
miles south. The extracting of the stone, loading it, hauling it, and then
dressing it was a gigantic task and an amazing feat considering that it was
accomplished without automatic lifts and power tools.
The church structure is a cruciform, or built in the shape of a cross 220
feet long and 110 feet wide at the transepts and 75 feet at the nave. The
massive twin bell towers are 141 feet tall and dominate the prairie
The granite pillars that support the church were shipped in from Vermont.
The restoration of the church interior is also a tribute to the continued
dedication of the people of the parish. A native son of the parish, Wayne
Brungardt, was hired to be the architect of the restoration in the 1990s.
Tim Linenberger, the third generation of Linenbergers (originally from
Victoria) to have painted the church, painted the interior and did intricate
stenciling returning the church to the original rich mauve and gold tones.
Contact: 785.735.2777; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours and admission charge: Open daily. N/A