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Sacred Heart Catholic Church

The Sacred Heart Catholic Church was built on land donated by the Windholz Family in Emmeram, Kansas, Ellis County. The cornerstone was laid in May 1899.

Inside View of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church

The Windholz families were part of an effort with neighbors to form a new parish near their farms.  The burden of travel for Mass was great for horse and buggy amid the harsh winter weather.  In addition to Sunday Mass and devotions, there were other important holy days and services.  Some people kept small houses in Victoria to stay during these trips to town.   Bishop John F. Cunningham of the Concordia [now Salina] diocese granted the petition for a new church.   Work began on Sacred Heart Church on Windholz land in the spring of 1899 with the cornerstone laid in May.  After delays due to lack of funds, completion was made in December of 1902.  Fr. Emmeram Kausler, a Capuchin priest, was appointed the first pastor and took a heavy hand in church completion, even holding Christmas Mass in the unfinished church in 1901. 

Fr. Emmeram drew up a plat of the village, which bore his name, and also saw to the erection of a building for a school.  The site was originally known as Nordorf (Northvillage).  A dozen houses or barns were erected on the lots in Emmeram.  A general store was operated by various people there beginning in 1903 for some 50 years to serve the residents of the area.  The last store operator was John M. Windholz, a master carpenter who built a shop next to the road.  He was in demand all over the county for custom cabinetry and made many of his own tools.  He sold gasoline and supplies from the shop.  Anyone needing a haircut could sit on a stool while his brother Mike did the cutting.  The shop was a gathering place for men who sat by the potbelly stove and visited.  They all chewed tobacco and would spit in buckets set around, filled with wood shavings.   Obviously the ties to Victoria remained in both family and business, although the postal address was Gorham.  By 1926 sixty families belonged to the parish.  One of the main sources of income to support the church was pew rental.  In 1967 declining numbers of parishioners and availability of priests forced the closing of the church.  Many of the people returned to St. Fidelis parish in Victoria from which their ancestors first belonged.  Sadly the church structure was sold and fell into disrepair.  The final end came in October of 1998 when a “suspicious” fire destroyed it. 

Sacred Heart Catholic Church Ruins

Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Inside view of where alter was located
(same view as inside picture above)


The text on this page was used with permission from Oren Windholz, author of 


A 50-page book with many historical pictures and documents of the Windholz family. Published in 1999 after the second Windholz reunion. Origins of the family in Germany, life in Russia and acculturation into America. A family tree of all children of Johannes and Magdalena with pictures.

You can order your own copy for only $10.00 from: 

Windholz Reunion Committee

P. O. Box 1083

Hays, KS 67601-1083


The Windholz Family of the United States
Volga Germans
From Germany, To Russia, To America

Website last updated 08/26/10