The first Mass in the Damar area was celebrated in the home of Ezra St. Peter in 1887, most probably by the veteran missionary of the diocese, Fr. Molier. Mr. St. Peter then donated three acres for a cemetery and two acres for a church to the east of his home when Father B.M. Pujos arrived to care for the little flock. The new community was first known as St. Petersville. However, the first post office located about two miles to the north east was named Ainsworth.
When the railroad came to the area, the first small frame church 16 x 32 feet in size was moved to the site of the present church to which an addition was added. It was at this time that the new town became known as Damar. By 1912 the congregation had outgrown the frame structure. Peter Simoneau had donated five acres for the church site. Mr. Brinkman of Emporia, Kansas was commissioned as the architect for the new building. Mr. F.K. Rothenberger was chosen as the stone mason with Cidney Browne as the carpenter under the guidance of Fr. S.F. Guillaume who had been appointed as the first resident pastor.
Due to the hard times, the building was completed in stages. Though the towers were completed by December of 1913, it was not plastered until 1917 in preparation for the First Mass to be celebrated in the new church. The pews and heating systems were installed in 1929. The copper roof, the interior decorating and the stain glass windows were added between 1944 and 1952. The building is 128 feet long and 72 feet wide at the transepts. The lime stone was quarried at Waldo and shipped to the site. Most all the labor was donated by the parishioners thereby making such an ambitious project feasible. Certainly no one today would have the courage to try to duplicate the feat. While we admire the building we must salute the pioneers for their faith and determination. We must not forget the early missionary priests who served the people. Records show that from 1895 to 1899 the assistant priest of Sacred Heart Church in Salina had charge of Brookville, Damar, Ellsworth, Plainville, Zurich, Cresson, Hill City, Gypsum, Webster and Hoganville (St. Peter). During the fifties the rectory and convent were built to complete the parish plant. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia began teaching in Damar in 1904, leaving in 1977.
Beautifully romanesque in design, the church dedicated to the honor of St. Joseph stands high on the Kansas plains as a sentinel guarding its flock. Through all these years, everyone who has toiled in town or in the fields did so in the sight of its crosses held high so all could see. The impressive sight has drawn countless pilgrims from the speeding highway to taste of its beauty, to be refreshed by a prayer on their journey, leaving a tribute to those brave souls who made a dream come true.
Services on Sunday: 9:00am
This page was created from a brochure published in Damar
City of Damar
Damar, KS 67632
Explore Damar & Rooks County, or visit other Kansas Cities & Towns September, 2010 / Jana Sutton / Damar, Kansas / firstname.lastname@example.org
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City of Damar