Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kansas Day Trip - September cemetery post

St. Fidelis church, also known as the Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria, Kansas.  You can see these magnificent spires from 1-70.  This is a place that must be seen!

In 1876 23 Volga-German Catholic families fled from service in the czar's army in Russia.  A very similar story of our Mennonite ancestors who also came to America 2 years earlier. 

The limestone to build this cathedral was quarried from the south banks of the Big Creek, 7 miles south of Victoria (picture on next post)

Wheat woven cross

In 1916, stain glass windows were installed at a cost of $3,700.  Today they are valued by the church's insurance at more than $500,000!

It was very worshipful.  
It was very silent inside.

After our time at the church, we drove to the cemetery.

The historic cemetery just north of the church is filled with unique Volga German iron crosses that mark the earliest grave sites.  The early German settlers crafted these crosses of  iron and steel and other metals.

I read the following:  "They are particularly suited as prairie monuments – unlike wooden crosses, the wrought iron or other metals were tough enough to withstand prairie fires, storms, even time itself. The cross represented the sacred; the iron represented strength — attributes of the pioneers they honored."

We have Schumacher relatives too, although they are Swiss Mennonite.

The early settlers had lots of heartache.  
This woman lost her 1 1/2 year old and the following month her newborn also died.

This family lost their 3 month old one year, a 1 month old the following year and then another 1 month old the next year.  My heart just goes out to these young parents.  Life on the prairie was hard!

And here are a few unique gravestones.

Next - Pfeifer cathedral and cemetery, just a few miles south.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kansas Day Trip

Allen and I took a day trip to explore more of Kansas.                                     

We had no plan other than we wanted to see the cemeteries in Victoria and Pfeifer.  

We turned off on Highway  4 at Lindsborg, on the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway.

Here is where we ended up going, but it was all unplanned.

Wild Kansas sunflowers dotted the highway.

I had too much coffee - time for a break!

                                              I love the Kansas elevators in every town

As we drove by Claflin, I saw the downtown and told Al we had to turn in to get a closer look.

On the city's web-cite I read the following:  

"J.W. Miller established a hardware, implement, plumbing, heating and repair business in 1903 famously known as Miller's of Claflin.  Today, they boast an impressive 13 showrooms and are one of the largest furniture stores in the State of Kansas.  (had no clue!)

Miller's  Main Street facades are an exact replica of the town from our old-time past and give downtown Claflin a sense of nostalgia one can only experience when visiting."

We were there on Labor Day, so all the shops were closed.  
That day it was a ghost town!  Not a soul around! 

We will have to return sometime just to do some window shopping!  Well, maybe  I will.  Al is not much of a shopper!

Highway 4 beyond Claflin was closed so we had to take another route.  We drove north.  There were hay bales all over.

 I am intrigued by these old deteriorated homes.  I would love to know the stories! - the history of the families who lived here!

We enjoy taking off on old country roads to explore!
You can faintly see the windmills that are on the north side of I-70.

This is post rock country.  They use this rock as a fence post and brace.  In the old days, with so few trees around the prairie, the settlers used what they had!

Beautiful Kansas prairie!

 Snow on the mountain wildflower

                                                                                         Milo field

We came up to Wilson.  We could have gotten on I-70, but why?  We'd been on that highway numerous times.  We wanted to be on most roads we've never tried before!   (Connie, don't the curvey highways look much more adventurous??)
 Besides, you would not have seen these guys from the highway!

 Or this unusual building in town of Russell!

Next stop - Victoria and Pfeifer!