“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Victoria in Ellis County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)


Victoria Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, October 6, 2010
1. Victoria Marker
Inscription. Nowhere in America were two colonies more unlike than those that came here. Scarlet-coated Britishers who chased antelope on bob-tailed ponies were joined by frugal and hard-working German-Russian immigrants. A Scotsman, George Grant, with 69,000 acres purchased from the railway, offered country estates to aristocrats. The immigrants came for religious freedom and to escape the czar’s army. Cricket and Hays City dance halls delighted one colony, homestead rights and the steppe-like prairie the other. Victoria, established 1873, was named for a queen and laid out by a London architect. Herzog, just north, established 1876, was built of sod and named for a Volga village. By 1880, most of the aristocrats had moved on, and Herzog took over Victoria. Achievements here were: introduction of Aberdeen Angus cattle to the U.S. by Grant; pioneer crops of hard winter wheat by the immigrants.
     Victoria now includes both towns. Its Catholic church, St. Fidelis, is widely known as the “Cathedral of the Plains.” In a cemetery one-fourth mile west are graves of track workers massacred by Cheyennes in 1867.
(See illustration of Cathedral on other side)

Erected by Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission. (Marker Number 40.)
Marker series.
Victoria Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, October 6, 2010
2. Victoria Marker
View to the west at the southwest corner of the
intersection of Old Highway 40 and Ball Park Road
This marker is included in the Kansas Historical Society marker series.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 50.795′ N, 99° 8.815′ W. Marker was in Victoria, Kansas, in Ellis County. Marker was at the intersection of Old Highway 40 and Ball Park Road, on the right when traveling east on Old Highway 40. Click for map. Marker was in this post office area: Victoria KS 67671, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Union Pacific Employees Killed In Cheyenne Indian Raid (approx. 0.2 miles away); In Memory of the SETH Siblings (approx. 0.2 miles away); Capuchin - Franciscan Friars (approx. 0.7 miles away); Cathedral of the Plains (approx. 0.7 miles away); Pioneer Family (approx. 0.8 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 1.3 miles away); Merci Train Boxcar (approx. 8.4 miles away); Avenue of Flags (approx. 9.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Victoria.
Also see . . .  Victoria, Kansas - Legends of Kansas. (Submitted on January 21, 2015.)
Additional comments.
1. Replacement Marker
The marker was replaced in 2011-2012 by a new Kansas state blue-and-white historical marker at the same location.
St. Fidelis Catholic Church image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, October 6, 2010
3. St. Fidelis Catholic Church
"The Cathedral of the Plains"
The new marker reads:

Victoria was established in 1872 by George Grant, a wealthy Scotsman who chose the name for the reigning queen of England. Grant hoped to make a profit by recruiting others to raise cattle. After his death, many of the Englishmen he recruited left the area. German Russians arrived looking for good land and the freedom to follow their traditional way of life. Their descendants built St. Fidelis Church.

While passing through Victoria in 1912, presidential candidate and Nebraska congressman William Jennings Bryan was so struck by St. Fidelis Church that he bestowed a memorable title upon it: “Cathedral on the Plains.” The giant building spoke volumes about the devotion of the families in the parish. Each parishioner at least 12 years of age was obliged to contribute six wagonloads of stone, which had to be quarried and loaded by hand. With seating for 1,100, it ranked as one of the largest churches in Kansas when it opened in 1911.

St. Fidelis Church is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
    — Submitted January 21, 2015.

Categories. Settlements & Settlers
Pioneer Family Statue image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, October 6, 2010
4. Pioneer Family Statue
At the northwest corner of the intersection
of Cathedral Avenue and 10th Street
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 205 times since then and 63 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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