The origins of St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church 

 

 

 

The bustling boom times of the post-Civil War era, the appeal of cheap land, and the promise of a better life attracted a number of families of German descent to the Wichita area. Dedicated to their faith, these German-Americans were unable to participate in local Masses where scripture readings and sermons were not in their native language. Therefore, in 1886, Bishop Louis Marie Fink, Bishop of Kansas, decided that the German-speaking Catholics would have their own Church with German-speaking priests.

 

In 1886 the northeast corner of 2nd Street and Ohio Avenue was a cornfield owned by “Buffalo Bill” Mathewson. This became the site of the new parish, named St. Boniface after the 8th Century Missionary to the German tribes. In 1887, a wooden frontier Church was built on that corner, and in 1890, German-speaking Franciscans arrived to take charge of this German Parish. The Franciscans staffed the parish until 1988.

 

The parish family rapidly outgrew its wooden church. In 1902 work began on a new brick structure designed by the Cincinnati architect, Louis Piket. The new Church would be named after St. Anthony of Padua, a 13th century Franciscan Saint. When work began of the new Church, the parish had raised $2,650 for that purpose. The actual building of the church took until 1905 to complete. Based on photos and artist\'s signing, the decoration of the interior was completed in 1909. The recent restoration completed in 2005 was based on those remaining photos.