Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cathedral on the Prairie Still Shines

News-Gazette Photo by Darrell Hoemann

Many of the country churches around the US have disappeared to the antiquity of time over the last few decades. We used to have one in the small neighborhood that I live in - the Tipton Christian Church that closed 50 or more years ago.

But some still thrive, including St. Mary's Catholic Church, near Pesotum, Illinois. It was recently featured in an article in the Champaign News-Gazette.

The "Cathedral on the Prairie," as it's sometimes called, is an impressive example of Gothic architecture created by a strong and faithful group of Catholic parishioners in 1894. Its 144-foot spire can be seen for miles across the prairie and is topped by a large golden cross.

Many of the settlers to the area came from Germany and wanted to build a church that resembled the churches they had left in their homeland, according to church historian Bob Schaefer. A member for all of his 82 years, Schaefer wrote an account of the history of the Catholic parish and the current church on its centennial
celebration. He found that all of the bricks used in the construction of the church were hauled by the parishioners from the Bernie Youngman Tile Factory in Pesotum.

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