Founded in August, 1876 by immigrants from Pfeifer,
Russia, the village was built on the south bank of the
Smoky Hill River.
Among the founders of the colony are numbered some of the very first of the
Germans to leave Russia, including
Joseph Stremel, Michael Meder, Mathias Urban, and Christ Stegman.
originally left their homes in Russia in October, 1875 and along the way were
joined by other groups of Russian immigrants.
Over the next two years, more settlers came to the fledgling village and by
1878, the colony numbered 41 families, numbering 171 people.
The original site chosen for the town had been railroad land,
and was to be paid for in eleven annual installments. It was divided into shares
and each resident paid a cost proportionate to the amount of land held by each.
However, trouble soon arose when some of the landholders were not able to pay
for their shares. Others, too, objected to the location of the town, so finally,
in 1884, the colony moved northwest to its present site, which had been obtained
by John Schlieter under the homestead plan. He divided the land into shares, for
which he provided a deed to the purchaser on receipt of the purchase money.
The residents immediately began to build simple homes and farm
the area land. They built their first church, a small frame structure, in 1879. By 1887, the
village had become big enough for a post office, which opened in March. In 1891,
the residents built a new stone church that replaced the simple frame building
The Holy Cross Church in Pfeifer was voted as one of
the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture because it is the
finest example of a Gothic style church in the state.
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