St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Church, Ellis, KansasThe cornerstone of this magnificient church was laid on June 27, 1909 being of black granite (1'x2'x2'6") and weighing nearly 1000 pounds. About the middle of August 1911, the church building was ready for occupancy though far from completed or furnished inside.

The main lines of the structure are cruciform in plan. The outside length of the church measures 134 feet; width of building with transept, 77 feet. All the half-circle arches over openings are trimmed in red brick to enhance the beauty of the limestone structure; blue, earth brown, and white glazed face brick adorn each side of the three front entrances and the area under the large window in the front of the church. Two small entrances are at each end of the transept. The gallery is at the west (front) of the church. The spired bell tower, topped by a gilded cross, rises high above the sanctuary. Two towers, not as high as the steeple, flank each side of the main entrance. Three large, arched, glass windows one in each transept and one above the entrance to the church adorn the edifice. The arched portion of these windows give the appearance of a half rose window. The seating capacity was designed for over 900.

Unlike most of the churches in Ellis county, the stone used was not post rock but rather from the Fort Hays chalk area west of Hays. Large layers of rock, about 8" thick were cleared of top soil and perforated by hand augers with holes 8" to 10" apart. Into these holes, wedges were inserted and tapped with a hammer until the rock sprang apart along the line of perforation. The stone was then loaded on wagons and hauled to the building site. This was a gigantic task without automatic lifts or power tools which we have today, for each stone wieghed from 50 to 100 pounds.


To: Ellis County
To: Ellis