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Volga GermansFort HaysOther Colonies
Pfeifer was founded on either August 21 or 24, 1876, by emigrants from Pfeifer, Russia. It is located about 10 miles south of Victoria along the south bank of the Smoky Hill River. The final group of emigrants to Pfeifer came June 20, 1878 from Kamenka, Russia. The original settlement was in Section 25 of Ellis County, but in 1884, the town was moved to its present location in Section 36.
Residents built the town's first church, a small frame structure, in 1879. Then in 1891, a new stone church was dedicated on September 14. Plans for a bigger stone church were begun in 1911, and the construction began in April 1915 and was finished by May 1918. It still serves the community of Pfeifer today, but there are no services held on a regular basis.
The church is in the form of a cross and is 165 feet long, 75 feet wide in the transepts and 50 feet wide in the nave. The main steeple is 165 feet high, and the two other steeples are 100 feet high.
Holy Cross Church
School Building, Holy Cross Church, and Monastery
Sanctuary and Nave of Holy Cross Church
Choir Loft of Holy Cross Church
Most of the color photos taken by Patty Nicholas, archivistThe photo of the choir loft is courtesy of Ruben Schuckman, Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau
Dreiling, Norbert R. "Official Centennial History of the Volga-German Settlements in Ellis and Rush Counties of Kansas, 1878-1976." Hays, KS: Volga German Centennial Association, 1976.
Dreiling, B. M."Golden jubilee of the German-Russian settlements of Ellis and Rush Counties, Kansas, August 31, September 1 and 2, 1926." Hays, KS: Hays Daily News, 1926.
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