The information presented here comes from a publication celebrating the Immaculate Conception Parish centennial and the building of its new school in 1957. Its contents included here are History of the Parish at Kieler, with photographs; Clergy of the Immaculate Conception; Daughters of Parish in Religious Life; and other selected Photographs of the church and village.
As the middle of the nineteenth century shows up on the scene of history there are many activities of man that are worthy of being recorded. On the international stage there is an intermission from any great war, for new props are being gathered and put into place for the next great events. Some of these are the effect of the Industrial Revolution. These props are so radically different from their predecessors that the men and women had to change their style of living to fit into the new environment. Beginning as an economic phenomenon, the Industrial Revolution precipitated social and political changes of the highest importance. It raised two classes to new importance and widened the gulf between them. On the one hand stood the men of wealth who won for themselves the rank of an industrial aristocracy. On the other hand stood the workers who were without property, without voice in the industry they served, and without any means to better their condition.
To these new props of the Industrial Revolution are added those of a new surge of nationalism. The French are struggling with the establishment of the Second French Empire under Napoleon III, which knew limited success until overthrown by the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War. Italy at this time is striving for unification under the leadership of Joseph Mazzini and Camillo di Cavour. It was a long and difficult struggle for Italy, but success came while France was engaged in their war with Germany. Around 1850 Germany, too, is attempting to achieve unification in the formation of the German Empire, but was dominated by Austria who was fearful of a strong Germany. But the tide of nationalism was not able to be stemmed and through victory in the Austro-Prussian War unity was obtained. During this period Russia lags behind in developing a spirit of nationalism, being strictly and rigidly controlled by a decaying aristocracy. Their defeat in the Crimean War in 1856 spread wide discontent and encouraged the new czar, Alexander II, to inaugurate an era of reforms. Great Britain, already unified, gained on her contemporaries by developing her industries and foreign trade, and intensified her colonization at the expense of many countries, especially Ireland. The British Empire gained the most from the internal struggles of Europe, for besides gaining in wealth through her growing industries she held the balance of power and exerted a strong influence on the international scene.
The scene in the United States at the middle point in the nineteenth century is one of mammoth growth. The forties which began with a severe depression, ended in the questionable glory of the victory over Mexico, the Gold Rush, and the preservation of the Union by the acceptance in both sections of the Compromise of 1850. Such acceptance was the result of a new spirit of nationalism abroad in the land known as Manifest Destiny. The United States is now a Pacific as well as an Atlantic power and has reached its final continental limits. Nationalism was a cause of expanison which in turn tended to increase this drive to make one's own country the strongest of all. Thus nationalism led inev'itably to growing pains, and beneath the surface the latent forces of wealth and power exerted telling strains upon the social and political aspects of the country.
Men of property, staunch supporters of the Whig Party, still feared the equalitarian democracy of the masses. With the acquiring of new territory the old debate over slavery and its relation to political power of class and section took a more positive and concrete form. Seemingly checked in 1850 by compromise, which indicated that the majority of Americans believed that civil strife could be and should be averted, it was instead to lead a decade later to secession and to war.
The depression in the forties led many people from the eastern seaboard where there were few jobs and little money, and many came and settled in the fertile farming land of the midwest to begin life anew. Roads were being built and rails were laid to facilitate this migration to the lands west of the Alleghany Mountains. Towns began to dot the country sides where before there might have been just an old abandoned cabin, and farming homesteads seemed to be everywhere one looked. Rivers were choked withall types of boats which were carrying luggage and necessary equipment from the industrial East.
The scene in Wisconsin which has become a state only two years before the turn of the mid century is one of building and development. The name Wisconsin, first spelled Miskonsing then Ouisconsin by the French, was derived from the Indian name for the principal river of the region and is usually interpreted to mean "gathering of the waters". Difficulties and hardships both on the international and national scenes as has been discussed aided greatly in the rapid development and influx of people for Wisconsin. In the beginning of settlement some immigrants came up the Mississippi River from the South to settle in the lead mining region, but the great bulk of the settlers came from the northern states. According to the census of 1850, 96 per cent of that part of the population labeled as native-born Americans was of Yankee origin. But in the rush of immigration from Germany, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, and other countries, the Yankee was soon reduced to a minority.
Settlement of the region progressed rapidly, and in 1846 an enabling act was passed by the federal Congress permitting statehood. Not until May 29, 1848 was the state constitution approved and statehood finally achieved. The principal problem of the settlers of the new commonwealth, aside from clearing the forests from the land, was that of transportation. Steamboats and sailing vessels on the Mississippi and Great Lakes were adequate for the fringes of the state, but did not help the richer agricultural regions in the interior.
The great mass of people that immigrated to Wisconsin from abroad were not fleeing from the hand of tyrants as much as they were seeking ownership of land; it was land and ownership that meant more to them than economic wealth, and it was ownership which was the driving force behind the rapid development of rural Wisconsin. Throughout the period of immigration, mainly in the years 1850-1860, among the groups with a goodly portion of Catholics, Germans led all others in settling Wisconsin. They came from all parts of Germany such as Saxony, Hanover, Prussia and the like.
The work of the Bavarian Capuchin, Father Tusch, is indicative of the rapid growth in the Catholic population of Wisconsin. In 1847 he came to the locality of Dutch Hollow, now Tennyson, where he found twenty families with which to start a congregation. About a year later he was able to report that within a circuit of four miles the area was solidly German, numbering about 500, of whom most were Catholics. Still the Irish contribution to the growthof the Church in Wisconsin is second only to that of the Germans. The first Irish settlers sought work in the lead mines, and Irish descendants are still found at Benton and Shullsburg.
Wisconsin was first introduced to the Catholic priest on the shores of Lake Superior in the spring of 1661 when Father Menard arrived to preach the gospel to the Indians. By 1795 a priest was back at the village of Green Bay in the person of Father Bocquet, and since his time the state of Wisconsin has never been without an Alter Christus. The years from 1790 to 1830 can be called the period of itinerant priests, missionaries who established no specific headquarters in Wisconsin, but rather accepted the whole of Wisconsin as their parish.
Most celebrated of the itinerants was the Italian Dominican priest, Samuel Mazzuchelli, by whose untiring labors the Faith was firmly established at Green Bay, Prairie du Chien and in the lead mining region. He was a missionary-apostolic to a territory which ranged from Lake Huron to beyond the Mississippi and from Illinois to Lake Superior. Architect, log lifter, stone setter, and fund raiser for almost twenty parish churches in the struggling white settlements of the swirling frontier, he had helped his fellow Americans in the erection of public structures, in laying out of towns, and in the more important building of moral integrity and good will. His most lasting achievement, the training of the Dominican Sisterhood in high standards of Christian social education, was begun and carried out in the little mining town of Benton in Wisconsin.
This is the international, national, and state picture when the Catholic congregation at Kieler was first organized in the year 1855. The village of Kieler is in Jamestown township, Grant County, and was named after the Kieler family. Mr. and Mrs. John Kieler were both born in Prussia, and it was there that they obtained their education. Mr. Kieler was a stone mason and contractor in his own country, and in August, 1855, the family came to this country, making the voyage across the ocean in a sailing vessel, and landing at Quebec. They came to Wisconsin by way of the lakes, and settled in Jamestown, where Mr. Kieler bought a tract of land and made a home near what is now known as Kieler. John died in 1882 and Catherine, his wife, died in 1888. Both were devout members of the Catholic Church, and he was instrumental in the establishment of the first Catholic church built in Kieler in 1856.
The Kielers had seven children who were all born in Germany, and they were: Gertrude, Dorathea, Barbara, Lawrence, Frank, George, and Louisa. All the children married and settled in the vicinity of Kieler. It was George more than any other of the children that established the Kieler name in the village of that name. George first settled in the town of Paris, where he worked at his shoemaker trade some two years in the village of Dickeyville. In 1882 he purchased real estate, put up a store building, and handled general merchandise in connection with the shoe trade for many years. Mr. Kieler was a Democrat and held the office of town treasurer and school clerk for a number of terms. He was one of the leading business men of the community.
The establishment of this congregation at Kieler was attended with more than the usual difficulties surrounding such an undertaking, owing to the fact that the country in GrantCounty, and particularly in and around Kieler, is of a fairly rough and hilly character. This condition made traveling quite difficult at all times, but especially dangerous at night. Therefore, there were times when it was next to impossible for anyone to make the journey to Kieler with any degree of safety. In the beginning there was no connection from Kieler to the rest of the world, either by telegraph or telephone, for the only means of communication was the old time country stage, which made daily journeys from Kieler to Louisburg.
At first the settlers in the locality, which was for a number of years better known asJamestown, attended Catholic services at Potosi and the Sinsinawa Mound. Then the congregation was organized in 1855 at the request of the people. The following quote from the parish record portrays the earnest desire of the people to have their own church, "In the year of Our Lord 1885: All we the German Catholics went together to build a church where we can get together and praise God and bring our petitions to the Lord, in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, and our longing is fulfilled. God be praised and honored because the Bishop Martin Henni of Milwaukee has given permission and was so gracious."
The year following the organization of the parish, a small church was built and it lasted for many years until it was built over for school purposes. It was a small frame structure 38 by 24 feet in dimensions. In this little church, the holy sacrifice of the Mass was offered up for the first time in July, 1858 by the Rev. Ferdinand Zuber, who was at that time rector of St. Andrew's parish at Potosi. To this pastorate the little mission of Kieler remained attached until 1867 when it received its first resident pastor in the person of Rev. Andrew Gstach.
It was under the pastorship of Rev. Peter Oeschger that the cornerstone of the present church was laid by the Right Rev. John Martin Henni, Bishop of Milwaukee. The dimensions of this building were 84½ by 45 feet, and the cost of the structure complete was $6,000. It is a plain but very substantial building and is arranged interiorly with a view to the comfort and accommodation of the members. The originator of this structure was Father Oeschger who died while the building was being completed.
The first priest-house built at Kieler was poorly built and poorly furnished, and it was erected by Father Gstach. At one time part of this building was devoted to school purposes, but when the new church was completed, the old church was built over for a school. The school at first was the charge of a lay person who did all the teaching in the school except the teaching of religion which was the duty of the pastor. It was in September of 1895 that the School Sisters of St. Francis came to take charge of the two room parochial school, and they have performed this great apostolic work zealously and faithfully even till the present day. This original little school, remade from the first church, was utilized until the building of the new school, now being dedicated, necessitated that it be torn down. With the exception of the necessary repairs and additions of more classrooms, this little structure served as a school for nearly one hundred years. The first addition was in 1887, the second was in the year 1918, and finally the third addition was added to make room for the greatly increased number of children who were encouraged to attend parochial schools.
After the present stone church was built the old frame church became the parochial school, and the original school house of 1867 became the convent home for the three little Franciscan sisters. It was in this four room house that they lived until 1914. Then in 1914 the congregation joined with their pastor in building and financing a new rectory, and the old parsonage was made into a convent for the sisters. John Pickel bought the first convent and removed it from the grounds. Finally in 1921 the old renovated convent began to show the number of years and its original poor construction, and it became necessary for the parish to build a new sisters-house, which is still used as such at the present day.
The first three sisters to undertake the education of the children in the parish at Kieler were: Sister M. Salome, Sister M. Brigitta, and Sister M. Cleopha. Two sisters did the teaching and the third sister served as the housekeeeper. Sister Salome and Sister Brigitta were the first two on the teaching staff and remained at the mission in Kieler for sixteen years, where they are remembered by the many hundreds of children they taught. All three of these pioneers are receiving their eternal reward, and their remains are buried in Mount Calvary cemetery in Milwaukee.
Time passed very quickly for the pastors and the congregation at Kieler, for besides the necessary building that had to be done on the parish-plant itself there were many other activities and events to fill up the days and make life interesting. It was in 1874 that the pastor at Kieler was given Dickeyville as a mission, only to see it grow so rapidly that in 1898 it was made a parish in itself with a resident pastor. In 1883 George Kieler opened the first post office in the village, from which act the name for Kieler really came. The original stone church was remodeled in 1896, and a new front entrance and towers were added which improved the general appearance very much.
The parishoners of Kieler took pride in their parish and wanted the grounds around the church to be neat and well kept. In 1898 then a board fence was replaced by a stone wall and iron fence, and the work was done by Joe Lange, Andrew Brandt, and John Jansen. The results of their work was well worth their effort for it improved the physical appearance beyond compare. At any time their various pastors called on the people to help with different events whether they were clean-up days, parish picnics, and such like the congregation hardly without exception was on hand to lend their services. When one considers that the parish of Kieler is almost entirely composed of farmers and daily laborers this observation is all the more important.
Immigrants continued to pour into Wisconsin and many of these were Catholics, which made it necessary for the Holy See to divide the State into more dioceses. It was in 1905 that Grant County was transferred from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to the Diocese of La Crosse. The increase in the Catholic population in the State continued after this, not so much through immigration as through converts and large Catholic families, and as a result the Holy Fatheragain split the dioceses in Wisconsin. In 1946 then Grant County was separated from the Diocese of La Crosse and made a part of the newly formed Diocese of Madison with Most Rev. William P. O'Connor as the first bishop.
The First World War effected the small community of Kieler in many different ways, especially socially and economically. Men were drafted for service from the village and the surrounding territory, whether they were sympathetic to the American cause or not. It was unrealistic to ask them to like going to war and to fight often times against their own cousins, and even at times their own brothers. None the less it was probably this war more than anything else that caused German settlements to stop considering themselves as immigrants and to begin to thinking of themselves as native Americans. Due to the war German was no longer taught as one of the languages in the schools and the little school at Kieler followed in this line. The fact that German was no longer taught in the schools points out quite clearly that there must have been many other German customs that were either stopped entirely or at least curtailed which aided very much in the development of a new culture with new idea and customs.
A symbol of the rapid development of American technology was the fact that in 1926 Kieler was connected onto the Interstate Power Company for electricity, and that in 1931 the State of Wisconsin decided to have a cement road go through Kieler. No longer was there a lack of communication that so characterized the little village when the parish was first organized seventy-five years before these historic events. Gone also were the nights spent in the flickering of lanterns and candles, with their dangerous flames and poor illumination.
The number of families continued to grow even as America decided to enter in the Second World War. Once again many sons of the parish were called on to serve in the military force of the United States. Rationing became a part of the daily life of the people, and all joined with the newly elected pope, Plus XII, in storming Heaven with prayers of supplication for a lasting peace. Peace was restored for only about five years before more of the parish's sons were sent to Korea to try and combat Communism with armed might. Communism was more than merely a threat to peace, for it was a threat to religion itself. Under the guidance of a saintly Pope the parishoners of Kieler joined with Christians throughout the world in asking God to remove such a curse to humanity.
The world was just getting settled once again after the Korean War and Kieler and its surrounding territory were becoming accustomed to a somewhat turbulent peace when their beloved pastor, Father A. Goetzman, suffered a fatal heart attack. Bishop O'Connor appointed Rev. Joseph Brickl to succeed him. Father Brickl came to Kieler in February of 1955 and, after looking over the parish plant quite thoroughly, saw why it had been Father Goetzman's dream to build a new school. The new pastor soon formed a building Committee of nineteen very realisticand capable men.
Father Brickl and his committee sold the idea of a new school to the parish, and permission was received from the Bishop to begin planning as soon as possible. Action started, grounds were surveyed, meetings were held at frequent intervals, and finally plans were drawn up and accepted by the Bishop. The old school building had to be torn down to make room for the new structure. On May 3rd, 1956, some thirty men began to tear down the old edifice. Classes were still in session but they came to an abrupt ending, much to the pleasure of the school children.
Before the old school building was completely wrecked, the congregation witnessed the "ground-breaking" ceremony. The first shovelful of dirt, dug for the foundation of the new school, was taken out by Father Brickl himself. In order that the children might not miss too many days of school progress began immediately, and on August 26, 1956 accompanied by impressive ceremonies, the corner stone of the superstructure was laid by His Excellency, Bishop William O'Connor.
After laying the cornerstone the Bishop addressed those gathered for the event. Some of the ideas that he expressed were: "I'm sure that these children as they grow up will live to be so grateful to you for the opportunity that you good parents are offering them in this beautiful new school whose cornerstone we have laid this afternoon. . . I am sure they'll all be gratefulto these people for the opportunities that are given to them not only to be instructed in the knowledge that makes for good Americans and in that virtue that makes for good Americans, but also for the opportunity of being instructed in the knowledge and virtue that makes for good Catholic American citizens."
Work continued without any serious delays and by the beginning of the new school year the children were able to attend classes in rather makeshift rooms. Only a short time afterwards the children were able to use the regular classrooms which are spacious and well illuminated. In the new school there are four regular classrooms with an enrollment of 184 children. This is a description of the edifice of which the parish of the Immaculate Conception in Kieler hasa right to be proud:
DESIGN OF NEW SCHOOL
The design of this one and a half story school would be classed as contemporary. The six classrooms, a work room for the sisters, storage space, and toilet facilities are grouped on the upper floor. The lower floor consists of the gymnasium-auditorium, kitchen, showers, boiler room, toilets, lunch room, and meeting or play rooms. These facilities are often used for parish functions and can be segregated from the balance of the school by locking two sets of doors.
Because of a steel shortage, the walls in the lower floor are all load bearing and support the upper floor which is a concrete slab poured on steel joists. The roof is formed by 3½" wood decking which is supported by laminated wood beams which rest on steel columns. The exterior walls above grade are formed of eight inches of concrete block which provides the interior finish and four inches of Norman brick which is a buff blend with a treebark texture. The windows are of wood and are painted a deep brown to provide a rich contrast with the brick. A generous overhang has been provided to aid in shading the classroom windows from direct sunlight. The natural daylight from the windows is supplemented by light from plexiglass skydomes set in the roof.
With the exception of the toilet rooms, stage, and kitchen, the floors of the school are of asphalt tile. The floor of the stage is of pine boards in order to facilitate the placement of scenery for plays and the floor of the kitchen is of plastic tile to resist grease. The floors of all toilets are ceramic tile for reasons of sanitation. A ceramic tile wainscot is provided in all toilets for the same reason. All interior walls are of concrete block except where blackboards and tackboards have been installed, and the area directly above them which has been covered by 12" x 12" mineral tile to aid in acoustics in the classrooms. All wood trim and doors on the interior are birch. Coat storage for the children is provided by wardrobes which open into the classroom for ease of supervision by the Sisters.
All of the lighting in the school is from incandescent bulbs. The heating is supplied by means of a boiler-burner steam generating unit. The gymnasium-auditorium is heated by two large air handling units which are located above and to either side of the stage. These are supplemented by walls fans located under the windows. The classrooms are heated and ventilated by unit ventilators which are capable of delivering 100% outside air. Heat in all other areas is by convectors.
The building is 183 feet long by 75 feet wide at the classrooms and 96 feet wide at the auditorium. A total of 33,000 sq. feet has been provided for about $200,000.
REV. ANDREAS GSTACH
The first resident pastor of Immaculate Conception was Rev. Andreas Gstach. He began his pastorate in Kieler during the month of February of the year 1867 to January 1869, a period of two years.
He was born November 15, 1826 at Frastanz near Feldkirch, Diocese of Brixen. He was ordained in his native country July 25, 1852 and came to America in the year of 1867. Here he joined the Diocese of Milwaukee and was at once appointed pastor of the congregation of Immaculate Conception, Kieler, Wisconsin, then "Upper Menominee." After a period of two years at Kieler, he continued his pastoral work until 1887 when his physical condition no longer permitted him to do so. He retired at St. Joseph's Hospital where he died. His remains being interred, according to his last wishes in the cemetery near the chapel in the woods at St. Francis, Wis.
REV. SEBASTIAN SEIF
He succeeded Father Gstach as pastor at Kieler in the month of February 1869 until May of the same year, a period of three months.
REV. PETER OESCHGER
Under the administration of Father Oeschger, the new stone church was erected in 1869. The unfortunate cause of his death will long be remembered by the people residing in this vicinity. While the church was still under constuction, he one day was passing along a portion of the interior scaffolding; he fell to the ground and was so badly injured that he died immediately. He is buried in the little cemetery of Kieler where a small monument marks his last resting place.
Father Oeschger was born on July 29, 1822 at Hernusen, District of Laufenberg, Canton Aargan, Switzerland. His pastorate at Kieler was a short duration of a year and two months.
REV. ALOYSIUS OEHLER
Father A. Oehler succeeded Father Oeschger the following month of October 1870. He remained pastor of Kieler until the following year of February 1871.
Father Schraudenbach's pastorate lasted from May 1871 until April 1873, a period of about two years. Father passed to his eternal reward at Boscobel in the year of 1883.
REV. J. E. HALBENKANN
Father Halbenkann is remembered not only for his churchly zeal, but also for the great interest he took in the interior decoration and furnishings for the church. During his administration a large pipe organ was installed costing $1900, two side altars amounting to $1100, a high altar worth $1100, two bells costing $500, a pulpit for $260, candelabra and candlesticks, and numerous other accessories.
Father Haibenkann was a native of Germany. In 1852 his parents emigrated to America: Father accompanied his parents at a very tender age. He received his education in the parochial schools of the state. Upon arriving, his parents moved west locating in Wisconsin.
Father was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Henni on July 9, 1872. He was appointed pastor of Kieler in May 1873, a year after his ordination, and remained as a zealous worker until the year 1882.
REV. LAWRENCE BARTH
Father Barth was born September 10, 1853 at Louisville, Kentucky. He was ordained by Archbishop Michael Heiss. He began his studies for the priesthood at St. Nazianz, Wisconsin. He spent his later years as pastor of St. Lawrence, Milwaukee which is just across the street from the Motherhouse of the School Sisters of St. Francis.
REV. GEORGE TRIMBERGER
He was born in 1856 at St. George, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. He pursued a course of study for nine years at the seminary of St. Francis near Milwaukee. He was ordained a priest in 1881.
He came to Kieler as pastor in August of 1882, a year after his ordination. He remained in Kieler until January of 1886.
REV. JAMES STEHLE
Succeeded Father Trimberger and remained in Kieler for a very short period of one month, that is in January of 1886.
REV. AUGUST ALBERS
He was born in Neuenkirchen, Bramsche, Province of Hanover, Germany August 27, 1852. He received his earlier education in his native country. In 1872 at the age of twenty, he came to America. In 1877, he came to St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee where he was ordained by Archbishop Heiss June 1884·. Immaculate Conception at Kieler was his second pastorate. He came in January of 1886 until September 1891, a period of five years.
REV. FERDINAND RAESS
He was born in the Canton of Appenzell, Switzerland. After completing the necessary studies for the priesthood at some of the more prominent theological and classical institutions of his native country, he was ordained to the priesthood. Later he came to America in the year 1867, August 8th. His first appointment was in the Archdiocese of New York and remained there until the year 1873. He came to Wisconsin after that and associated himself with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In 1874 he was appointed to the congregation of St. Hubert and mission of St. Augustin. While maintaining that charge, he built the church on Holy Hill.
Father Raess was appointed to Kieler in September of 1891 and remained there until September 1896.
REV. RUDOLPH OLLIG
Rev. Rudolph Ollig was pastor at Kieler from September 16, 1896 to April 18, 1910, a period of fourteen years. He was born at Cologne on the Rhine in Rheinish, Prussia, February 11, 1958 [sic.] He came to the United States December 1888, where he was ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons, Archdiocese of Baltimore on April 4, 1891.
Father Ollig has given numerous evidences of his earnest desire to advance the interests and conditions of Immaculate Conception during his stay of fourteen years. One of Father's first projects was the building of a sacristy to the stone church. The stone structure at that time was without tower, sacristy, or a decent ceiling. He himself went from door to door and collected the necessary fund of $671.00 with this amount the sacristy was built and also the high chimney. The two side altars and pulpit were moved back. The four Gothic windows in the sacristy were donated through the kindness of Mr. Charles Droessler, a donation equal to the amount of $460.
The second project was the complete renovation of the school. The building was in a very poor condition and even though funds were not available, the repair work was a matter of necessity. Consequently, during the vacation months of August, September, and October in the year 1909, the entire school building was completely renovated. On this occasion a nice basement was put in by R. F. Conlon and Co. of Cuba City. A furnace was installed by Lyons and Lyons of Dubuque. The money needed for this great project was borrowed from the German Trust Savings of Dubuque, Iowa at 6% interest.
The newly repaired school house upon its completion was blessed by Rev. P. Jones of Cassville and Rev. S. Fisher of Dickeyville on Sunday of October 19, 1909 at 4· P.M. Father Ollig offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the first time on December 23, 1909.
The cornerstone among other things contained a document signed by Rev. R. Ollig. The cornerstone read as follows:
BUILT IN 1858|
RENOVATED IN 1909
REV. GODFREY NOEVER
He was appointed pastor at Kieler August 1, 1910 and remained here until June 8th, 1913.
He is buried next to Father Greiveldinger in the Kieler cemetery.
REV. J. N. GREIVELDINGER
Father Greiveldinger succeeded Rev. Godfrey Noever as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish July 22, 1917. He was born in May 8, 1872 and came over to this country as a young boy. He was ordained to the priesthood July 21, 1902. Before coming to Kieler, Father Greiveldinger was pastor at St. John Baptist, Plum City, Wisconsin for eleven years.
Father Greiveldinger's pastorate was marked by building activities and necessary repairs which advanced the welfare and interests of the parish. At the time of his coming, the old parish house, a building of 54 years stood where the Sister's House is now standing. In a short period of time a new rectory was erected; it still stands at the present time. The old rectory became the Sister's home until 1921 when a new convent took the place of the old one.
With the school enrollment increasing, it was necessary to enlarge the school by building two additional classrooms. The basement of the school received also at this time the needed touches which made it a convenient place for little parish gatherings.
Last, but not least, the Lord's House was not neglected. New floors and pews were put in, the ceiling was lowered and plastered, and a new heating plant was installed.
Father Greiveldinger labored zealously at Immaculate Conception for a period of thirty long years, In 1943 he retired from the cares and responsibility of parish work and spent the remaining years of his life in Dubuque. He passed on to his eternal reward November 1, 1950. His remains lie in the cemetery of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Kieler.
REV. ALFRED GOETZMAN
Rev. Alfred Goetzman after Father Greiveldinger retired he was succeeded September 28, 1943 by Rev. A. Goetzman. Father was born October 7, 1888 at Wausau, Wisconsin, and was ordained June 7, 1917 at Collegeville, Minnesota.
Father Goetzman was highly esteemed and worked zealously as a priest and he is well remembered by those whom he served.
During his pastorate, the kitchen of the rectory was enlarged, the church was redecorated and pads were put on the kneelers.
The people remember him as a man of deep piety and zeal. His great cross was a serious heart condition which hampered him a great deal in his work. One of his last spiritual duties was to raise his hand in giving the St. Blase blessing to everv adult, child, and infant. The same evening of this strenuous day, February 6, 1955, he suffered a heart attack and was summoned to eternal life. His death was a shock to all. Burial services took place at Wausau, his home town.
REV. JOSEPH BRICKL
On Washington's birthday February 22, 1955, Father Brickl came to Immaculate Conception. He was ordained May 22, 1937 at LaCrosse, Wis.
Since his coming to this parish. it is gratifying to know that the people of Immaculate Conception have cooperated splendidly with their pastor and their trustees, Mr. Cyril Droessler and Mr. Ray Droessler.
The first year, with its pastoral duties, had hardly begun when Father Brickl was confronted with the "New School Project." The first preliminary step was the organization of a Building Committee which consisted of the following: C. Runde, A. Schroeder, K. Kunkel, V. Timmerman, C. Ihm, B. Daising, J. Wiederholt, L. Brandt, E. Richard, G. Pickel, R. Droessler, C. Droessler, R. Klaus, A. Daising, Joe Droessler, Sr.
With the assistance and cooperation of the Building Committee, the planning on the new school commenced. They toured the new schools in the near vicinity in order to acquire experience and knowledge about building that was possibly available.
On November 6, 1955, the campaign for funds was launched. The goal was set for $30,000. The contracts for the new school were awarded with the General going to Cyril Droessler, the Heating to Hickok, Plumbing to Ted Tadke, and the Electrical to Bill Murry. The approximate cost was $200,000.
In May of 1956, the new school was no longer an actual "Blue Print" but a building under construction. How elated each individual of the parish must have felt as they watched its completion. All their sacrifices - and we know there were many - were rewarded when they beheld it. All the planning, the work, and worry were over! "At last" they cried, "we have a School!
It can be seen from the Highway as a magnificent achievement and a living testimonial of the zeal and sacrifice of our loyal parishioners. Indeed, it is the "Crowning Point" of the Centennial Year of the origin of Immaculate Conception Parish. The New School should be a beautiful reminder of God's bountiful blessings upon the Kieler Parish during this past century. It is evident that the present day parishioner is enjoying the fruits and labors of our early pioneers who have endured many hardships and privations.
The parishioners have every reason to be filled with feelings of jubilation on this occasion of the two-fold celebration, the Dedication of our New School and the Centennial Jubilee.
May their staunch faith and love of God continue the good work which they have begun. May our Heavenly Mother under whose patronage our church is dedicated, grant the parishioners of Immaculate Conception many more years of spiritual and temporal prosperity.
|Some of the following 1957 biographical items contain more recent, additional information on the lives of these sisters, as available, under the addendum, with any online sources given.|
The Kieler · Uthe · Schumacher Heritage - contents page
Immaculate Conception Parish, Kieler, Wisconsin, 1957
Last revised June 20, 2009.