St. Peter

St. Peter, located between the Collyer exit of I-70 and Morland, off Highway 24, is about 12 miles from either highway. County Road #523 will bring you to this Volga-German community. St. Peter is the western most Kansas community settled by this group of people.

The settlement was founded in 1894 as a result of the large number of Volga Germans settling in Ellis County. The land in Ellis County not already owned by these German families was in short supply, but land in southwestern Graham County was plentiful. Nine families moved from Ellis County to start their new community. Arriving in Graham County, they lived in a town called Hoganville, located farther south close to the south fork of the Solomon River.

In 1898, Hoganville was abandoned for the present site of St. Peter. Peter A. Rome donated the town site and cemetary plot of 40 acres – with one stipulation, that the town be named St. Peter. The homes and cemetary from Hoganville were transferred to the new location.

The Catholic Church was named St. Anthony of Padua, due to these German-Russians’ great faith and devotion to this saint. A large frame church was built in 1909. The 120-foot structure could be seen as far as ten miles away. The Kansas prairie winds and weather took its toll on this church, leading to the building of the present church. The first mass in the new church was celebrated on Christmas Eve, 1949, as a Midnight Mass.

Many of the furnishings of the original frame structure – altars, bells, pews, organ, and windows – were installed in the new church, thus retaining its history. Although there have been many alterations to the church building, the altars, statues, and windows have remained constant.

Only one business remains in St. Peter, Pfeifer’s Service Station, where you can get a tire fixed or have a good bologna sandwich, cut to order. The community is still primarily Volga-German farmers, with many residents making up the fifth generation of the original families.

To: Graham County