St. Bridget, Kansas

St. Bridget Church in Marshall County, Kansas.

St. Bridget Church in Marshall County, Kansas.

St. Bridget, Kansas, an extinct town today, was located about 6.5 miles north of Axtell in Marshall County.

This area was first settled in 1857 by a group of Irish immigrants. The first Mass was offered in a home in 1859 by a priest from St. Benedict Abbey in Atchison, Kansas. The parish was established in 1862, becoming the first Catholic parish in Marshall County. By 1869, enough people lived there to justify a post office that opened on March 23. With a bright future, the area residents began planning to build a new church, with construction beginning in 1905. However, the parish peaked with over 85 farm families at about this same time. The post office closed in 1906, but work on the church continued. It was completed at a cost of $30,000 in 1908.

The red brick church measures 50 feet wide and 100 feet long. It has a unique interior featuring eight long stained glass windows that depict biblical subjects or saints and high vaulted ceilings. The architect George Studuhar used Gothic-style pointed-arched vaults and half vaults in the design. Bishop Lillis dedicated the church on September 2, 1908.

Unfortunately, during the 1920s and 1930s, the rural population dwindled. In 1967, the Archdiocese of Kansas City closed the church, with only 20 remaining families in the parish. In 1970, former parishioners established the St. Bridget Historical Society to maintain the church and cemetery. In 1972, the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas deeded the church building to the St. Bridget Historical Society.

In October of 1995, the Kansas State Historical Society declared the church building a “historical landmark” and nominated the building to the National Registry of Historic Places. The nomination was accepted in September 1996.

At one time, a school, a convent, a parish hall, and a few town buildings stood in addition to the church and parish house. A general store and a few residences were also located near the church.

The church is located on 29th Terrace between Bison and Cherokee Roads. The Cemetery is located one-half mile south and east of the church. It is the original site of the first church building, erected in 1862 or 1863. Former parish families are still using the cemetery.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated March 2024.

Also See:

Extinct Towns of Marshall County

Kansas Ghost Town List

Kansas History

Marshall County, Kansas

Marshall County Photo Gallery


Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Vol I; Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, IL 1912.
Forter, Emma Elizabeth Calderhead; History of Marshall County, Kansas: Its People, Industries, and Institutions; B.F. Bowen, 1917.