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Kansas City Kansas Walking Tour
Item 2 of 15

Founded as the Mother of God Parish in 1858, St. Mary’s Church in the historic Strawberry Hill neighborhood is home to the oldest Catholic parish in Kansas City, Kansas. Father Anton Kuhls led the parish from its founding to the start of the 20th century, and together with the support of the parish, they also established St. Margaret's hospital. The cornerstone of this church was dedicated in 1890 and replaced the original building which was constructed shortly after the Civil War. With the support of parishioners, the limestone building was completed in stages and dedicated on June 21, 1903.

St. Mary's Catholic Church

Sky, Property, Plant, Building

St. Mary's Catholic Church Marker.

Font, Commemorative plaque, Rectangle, Typesetting

St. Mary's Catholic Church Cornerstone

Plant, Headstone, Cemetery, Font

Father Anton Kuhls arrived in Wyandotte Kansas in 1864 and quickly began the work of organizing a parish. After acquiring this land from Mathias Splitlog for $800, construction of the original church began in 1865. The cost of the effort was reduced by the profit Father Kuhls made by selling a third of the land he acquired for nearly double the original price. However, according to Perl Morgan's 1911 work on the history of Wyandotte County, that fortune was short-lived as a thief stole $1700 while the priest was away in Leavenworth. These funds were the entirety of the church's funds, leaving the construction of the original church in doubt until members of the congregation raised $800 the first Sunday after their priest returned. Additional funds were donated by parishioners and members of the community at a fundraising picnic organized in response to the theft, raiding an additional $1,000 and allowing construction to continue.

Morgan, Perl W. . History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its People. Volume 1. 1911.

Fisher, Jr., William. St. Mary's Church - A Kansas City Kansas Historic Site, The Historical Marker Database. October 17th, 2013. Accessed August 25th, 2022.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

William Fischer, Jr. The Historical Marker Database.

William Fischer, Jr. The Historical Marker Database.

William Fischer, Jr. The Historical Marker Database.