Out of the Kansas
Far removed from a town
Stands a lofty pinnacled structure
Well worthy of renown
For it speaks of the hopes of people
Unswerving, devoted and true;
The spirit to live, to toil, to give
And a faith all needs to renew.
Once lately, I stood near its portal,
Admiring it from the street
When a snowy dove alighted
ON the stand at the Virgin’s feet
At the base of the white marble statue
It rested as though to give
A message of peace to a tired heart,
An ideal for which to live.
- Charlotte Mofatt-Kinsley,
Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish – Windthorst, Kansas
centennial book, 1978.
A few weeks ago, I visited the old town of Windthorst - which wasn't ever much of a town, but it has the coolest church. Built in 1913 - Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish closed as a parish in 1997. However, locals are supportive of the building and have been caring for it ever since. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places and it is open daily for tours.
Windthorst is in Ford County.
|Beautiful windows! The Windthorst Heritage group is raising funds to
repair them. The windows were installed in 1916. Work is planned for
this summer. Project cost is around $105,000.|
WINDTHORST - There are no stores and only a few homes along the wide main street.
Windthorst never had much of a business district. The post office closed at the turn of the 20th century. The old school, which closed as a high school in 1970, burned about a decade ago, and the gymnasium - where standout athletes took to the hardwood - was torn down in recent years.
Yet, from several miles away, a steeple of a church emerges on the nearly treeless prairie - one of just a few vestiges of a town centered on the Catholic faith.
It hasn't been a parish church since 1997 - when the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City closed it largely because of a shortage of priests. But folks here don't want to forget their past, nor do they want to see the nearly 100-year-old church, crumble away.
"It's one of a kind," said retired farmer Bob Hattrup, whose farmstead is not far from the townsite.
Hattrup talks lovingly about the prairie church - the pillar that has long held the community together - even after the parish closure.
"We've always been a pretty close-knit community," he said.
To read more on this community, click here