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Maintenance of the church

Wednesday, April 22, 2020/Categories: History

Any building 100 years old has been painted, shingled and repaired many times. The ferocious Kansas weather with its extremes in temperature, thunderstorms and high winds have relentlessly assailed the structure for the past century. The church records show constant attention being given to maintenance. On January 1, 1895, the past and church committee agreed to take out an insurance policy of $5000 on the new church against fire and wind damage. In 1898 improvements were made at the church basement entrance to protect the foundation from water and to give more light to the basement. In 1930 there was a repair of all windows. A new metal tabernacle replaced the wooden one in 1939. The sanctuary floor was covered with polychromatic tile about this time. In 1942 the parish voted to move the pulpit from the south front column to the south wall. The pulpit canopy has since been lost. A statue of St. Benedict was placed on the bare column in 1950. And in 1941 there was a more extensive repair of all church windows with many reinforcing rods being added. Storm windows were installed.

Forty years after George Satory decorated the church in 1901, Frank Mulich of Kansas City, repaired the plaster, cleaned off soot, and touched up interior surfaces including the woodwork and statues for $3600. This work continued form December 4, 1941 to July 10, 1942. The men of the parish did all the heavy dimension scaffolding.

Lightning struck the church and rectory on April 25, 1913 at 1:10 P.M.
There was very little damage to the rectory. At the church, the lightning rod was torn off the cross, screens twisted and burned in the belfry, some tower windows were broken, plaster damaged and a rock knocked out of the chimney. In the sanctuary, the statue of St. Joachim was damaged and two statue pedestals blackened and burnt. Parishioner August Droge made repairs to the tower.

In 1916 the old rock district school and the one acre that now serves as a parking lot west of the church were purchased for $150. Although a tornado came roaring thought the valley on June 1, 1949, the church escaped damage.

Several times over the years, there was wind damage to the church. In 1948 four valleys and some rotten timbers in the roof were replaced and the church was repointed where needed. On October 14, 1953 a stainless steel cross six feet tall with six since square beams replace the wooden cross which had been constructed with about an eight-inch hole at the cross section. Donald Stallbaumer of Seneca, KS was the steeplejack on the project. In 1960 the church was shingled with lifetime aluminum shingles; the built-in gutters were replaced by hanging gutters. This work was completed under the direction of Adrian "Ted" Stallbaumer. Also in 1960, new window ventilators were installed on the south side, changed from center to sill pivot. Art glass was added to the swinging doors of the vestibule. Vinyl floor tile over plywood was installed in 1962. New padded kneelers were also installed in 1962. In 1973 the basement chapel was made into classrooms and bathrooms. In 1973 the entire church was repointed. In 1978 the parishioners insulated the attic with fiberglass insulation. In 1975, the parish well was capped when a rural water district organized in the area became available as the result of leadership largely by members of the St. Benedict community.


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