St. John the Baptist Parish – Hanover

Founded 1870

The missionary priest, Father John Rimmele, first came to Hanover in 1868 from St. Mary’s Indian Mission. The first church was built in 1870 and was enlarged in 1876. Its first resident pastor, Father Albert Weikmann, lived in an abandoned store, then a three-room shack, until a house could be acquired for him. He also tended to 12 missions that he reached by horseback over the course of two weeks.

Parishioners built a two-story limestone rectory and school in 1876.

In that same year, Father John Pichler arrived. He frequently conducted lecture tours in the East, encouraging immigration to Hanover as well as soliciting funds for new construction.

During his tenure, which ended in 1888, Father Pichler built a larger school and the present limestone church, which was dedicated in 1880 by Leavenworth Bishop Louis Fink before a crowd of 700. The church was enlarged with transepts in 1883, and a limestone rectory was built in 1884.

A new school building was completed in 1931. The old school was razed first, so classes were transferred to the church. Seventh and eighth grades were in the north wing, fifth and sixth grades in the south wing, third and fourth grades in the back of the church and first and second grades in the basement chapel. Pews were removed to make way for desks, and cloth partitions shut off the classrooms from the rest of the church.

A new rectory was built in 1939. The original convent was razed in 1961 and replaced by a new one.

An addition to the school in 1967 included a multipurpose hall/gymnasium, kitchen and dressing rooms. The old school gym was converted to classroom and library space. For much of the school’s history, Sisters of St. Benedict of Atchison were the teachers.

Msgr. William Schellberg served the parish for 45 years, from 1890 to 1935.

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