Cathedral of the Plains
So here I am way out in the middle of nowhere, in western Kansas, on Interstate 70 heading west, when I see a sign saying "Cathedral of the Plains." Hey, I thought, I remember that. I was driving along here about thirty years ago and saw that sign, and thought, hunnh. What could that be? But I didn't stop that time for some reason or other.
So this time I flipped on the turn signal and took the exit. I headed south toward Victoria, and sure enough, there in the distance was what looked like a cathedral.
Turns out it isn't actually a cathedral, which is the parish church of a bishop in the Roman Catholic faith, but just a large church. But cathedral-like, it certainly is. I took a couple of photos; I wanted to cross the street and get a shot that wasn't so close, but a big dog on someone's porch was eyeing me, just waiting for me to step on to what he considered to be his property.
So I thought, maybe I can go inside. Hey -- the doors were wide open! What luck!
I was awestruck. To see such grandeur way out here in the middle of Kansas. It was like I had been transported to eastern Europe.
This shot might give you a better feel for the place.
The Rose Window. That couldn't be Mary and Joseph playing those modern musical instruments, could it. Nahh. Maybe St. Fiddles and his wife, the Saintess? Come on, now, you're being irreverent.
Turns out this structure was built by Volga-German immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century, to give them a feeling of home. It is a grand edifice and very well cared-for.
The church is 220' long, 110' wide at the transepts, and 75' at the nave. Its ceiling is 44' above the ground and the towers rise 141'. It seats 1,100, making it the largest church west of the Mississippi when it was dedicated. The real name is St. Fidelis Church; the nickname Cathedral of the Plains was given it by William Jennings Bryan, candidate for President of the United States, in one of his campaign stops.
St. Fidelis Web site.