Main Street Kansas: Ornate Beloit church wows visitors

More than a century ago, a small Kansas congregation spent years building a church so ornate, it still surprises visitors.

“Honestly, I can’t imagine life without this parish community,” said Justin Gengler, Beloit native.

For the families who grew up here, and those who later moved to Beloit, the wonder of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church never fades.

“I thought it was wonderful!” said Mary Ann Roberts.

“I had no idea of the magnificence of this building,” said Linda O’Hara, parishioner

From the architecture, to the artwork, the stained glass windows provide a colorful story. At the time the church was built in 1904, it was the largest church west of the Mississippi.

“The old church sat right in between where these pillars are,” said Kyle Peterson, Mitchell Co. Historical Society. “They built this church up around the old church. Then, when they got to a certain point, they used the old stone in the nave, which is the front part. All of the stone from the old church was put into this church.”

“It took 5,400 wagon loads of limestone to build this, and that just blows my mind when you think of the manual labor all of these people put in for free,” said Andrew Niewald, St. John Catholic School teacher.

(Read more: KSN TV)