Sacred Heart Church

Location Class:
Year Built: 1899 | Year Abandoned: 1967
Status: AbandonedBurned Down
Photojournalist: Emily Cowan

Sacred Heart Church at Emmeram ca. Unknown

Twenty-five members attending St. Fidelis Church nearby petitioned for another church to be constructed just north of Victoria, Kansas in a town called Norddorf. Norddorf was a very small community and after the church was built it was renamed Emmeram. The petition was received, approved, and construction started and the cornerstone laid in the springtime of 1899. Before the building was complete Rev. Father Emmeram Kausler was appointed pastor taking charge of the congregation and its construction in the spring of 1901. He organized the first Holy Mass that year on Christmas Day, under his direction building sped up as well. The limestone was quarried from a nearby farm owned by “Big Henry” Hoff, the big chunks of rock were hauled into town by horse and wagon. So much limestone was required to build the impressive church that a sizable hole was left in Hoff’s pasture. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church was then dedicated on June 12, 1903, with construction costing $4,731.58.

Sometimes more than forty families attended church on Sundays at Sacred Heart. The church was what held the small town of Emmeram together, becoming the focal point for community events. Funerals, weddings and Holy Masses were all events that brought people together here, in sadness, faith, and love.

Titus Denning walks through overgrown weeds in front of Sacred Heart Church

After multiple years of declining attendance, the Sacred Heart Parish sadly closed its doors in 1967. The one building that quickly brought the town of Emmeram together just as quickly made it disappear after its closure. Many families returned to the St. Fidelis Parish in Victoria Kansas after nearly seventy years of being gone. “When the church closed, it was the end of Emmeram. I still like it a lot better out here than where I’m at now,” said former resident Titus Denning. The empty limestone church building was sold to Irma Oswald for $1,500 she was the only bidder. Oswald is a descendent of “Big Henry” Hoff and was determined to salvage the building her father had put in so much work to build. After a while, she decided to sell the church to a couple who had plans of making the Sacred Heart Parish into a Special Education school for children. “I thought that would be great. But they split up and it never happened,” said Irma.

1998 Fire

Tragically on October 12, 1998, nearby residents awoke in the early morning hours to find the sky lit up with the flickering of a fire. It was the Sacred Heart Church and the tall weeds surrounding it engulfed. Authorities put the fire out, the only thing left were three walls. It was a total loss, electricity had been completely turned off to the church leading authorities to believe that arson was at fault.

The following 25 members of St. Fidelis Catholic Parish in Victoria petitioned for the new church:

Andrew P. Brungardt, Anton P. Brungardt, B. P. Brungardt, Peter Brungardt, Peter J. Denning, Jos. Denning, Peter J. Dreiling, John Dinkel, Frank Froehlich, Henry Froehlich, John Frank, Henry Hoff, Alex Herman, Clemens Rohleder, Nick Rohleder, Andrew Linenberger, David Toepfer, Albert Weigel, Michael Weigel, Peter P. Weigel, Valentin Weigel, Andrew Windholz, Martin Windholz, Adam Windholz, John Windholz
Pastors & Priests:
Emmeram Kausler (1901-1903) Celestine Oswald (1904-1905) Titus Rumpelhardt (1905-1907) Andrew Herrmann (1907-1911) Basil Heim (1911-1913) Ulrich Zeller (1913-1914) Edmund Trischler (1914-1915) Maurice Ackerman (1915-1916) Pancras Dockler (1916-1918) Leo Egger (1918-1921) Casimir Debef (1921) Leonard Dorn (1921) Vincent Brendt (1921-1922) Anthony Burkhardt (1922-1925) Walter Herrmann (1925-1926) Bernardine Kuhlman (1926-1927) Hubert Kremer (1927-1930) Walter Herrmann (1930-1934) Nicholas Krebs (1934-1936) Hycinth Grabbe (1936) Casimir Debef (1936-1937) Basil Heim (1937-1941) Nicholas Kregs (1941-1944) Casimir Debef (1944-1946)
Camillus B. Schmitt (1946-1948) Jordan S. Hammel (1948-1951) Cletus J. Blockinger (1951-1952) Armand Yeaglin (1951-1953) Arnold Yanker (1953-1959) Jordan S. Hammel (1959-1962) Melvin Averman (1962-1965) Howard Bich (1965-1967)
Article by AKS Photojournalist Emily Cowan.

Gallery Below


“1 Sep 1985, Page 29 – The Salina Journal at”,

“14 Oct 1998, Page 11 – The Salina Journal at”,

“31 Mar 2004, Page 5 – The Hays Daily News at”,

“4 Jul 1976, Page 48 – The Hays Daily News at”,

“Waiting for the Redirection…” Waiting for the Redirection..,

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