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Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
TitleCathedral of the Immaculate Conception
DescriptionPostcard of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 11th Street and Broadway
Historical ArticleThe Catholic cathedral, Eleventh street and Broadway, occupies land purchased April 5, 1834, by a Frenchman, Father Benedict Roux, one of five missionaries sent to the province of St. Louis, by the Society for the Propagation of Faith, Lyons, France.

A month before, the land had been patented by the government to Peter Laliberte and, for $6, Father Roux purchased the 40 acres, bounded by what is now Broadway, west to a line 100 feet west of Jefferson, and between Ninth and Twelfth streets.

A log church was built on the bluff to serve a few dozen French families, most of whom were engaged in commercial relations with the Indians. The church was often referred to as Chouteau's church, as Francis Chouteau, pioneer trader, largely provided the money for it.

Father Bernard Donnelly took up residence at the log church in November 1845 and exercised the ministry uninterruptedly for 34 years, forming the link between pioneer and modern eras of Catholic development in Kansas City.

He found his parishoners a simple, hardy race--faithful, affectionate and fond of dancing and other social entertainments which the father attended and found were conducted with every regard to the proprieties.

Side-by-side with helpers, Father Donnelly burned brick on the church property to help finance other Catholic institutions of the day--schools, cemetery, hospital. From the property on the bluff at Twelfth Street, he sold rock which was used to riprap the Missouri river.

In 1856, he built a brick church called the Immaculate Conception, between Eleventh and Twelfth streets facing Broadway. The church was used until after his death in 1880 and was then replaced by the imposing cathedral pictured in this 1908 scene. The new cathedral was completed in 1883.

Through the years the church has been remodeled and refurnished; carillon bells were given by Mrs. Thomas Corrigan in 1895, and 16 stained glass picture windows (six depicting the life of Christ) were installed in 1912.

In 1960, the eroding copper-covered dome, cupola and cross were cleaned and gold-leafed with 23-carat gold by church steeple-jacks from St. Louis. Tiny needle-like stainless steel spikes protect all perchable surfaces from pigeons. The gleaming tower can be seen from miles away.

Kansas City Star
November 29, 1969

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectChurches
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Catholic Churches
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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