1906 St Johns Church Fire Destroys a Building But Not the Resolution and Faith of a Congregation

St John the Baptist Catholic Church August 1906 day after the fire Saturday August 5, 1906. [Photo courtesy of the Frank J. and Mae C. Schlick Family Estate Archive.]

Casper and Susan Schlick were married in 1906, however this was the same year that St. John church was burned due to a summer storm. Here is how the Wheaton Illinoian reported the fire on the front page of the Friday, August 4 1906 issue.

Catholic Church at Winfield Destroyed

Lightning Friday afternoon [Friday August 17, 1906] struck the Catholic church in Winfield completely destroying a $ 12,000 structure.

The fire occurred during the severe electrical storm which passed over Wheaton and vicinity Friday afternoon about 3 o’clock. It was only a half hour from the time the first bolt struck the large structure, until it was a smoldering mass of ruin.

The church building was constructed of solid stone, but the tower was built of wood and against this the bolt of lightning struck, throwing tongues of flames in every direction and completely enveloping the entire structure.

When it was seen that the fire would soon be beyond the control of the men grew means to fight fire in the village, the wheaton and West Chicago hook and ladder companies were called and their work is due the saving of the buildings about the church and perhaps the whole town.

Rev. Father Wiederhold is pastor of the church. He states that the total loss after insurance is deducted will approximate $ 6,000.

The gold and silver fixtures in the church were also all destroyed. In all probability the church will be rebuilt at once.

The fire may have destroyed the building that the German immigrants worshiped in but it did not crush their spirits. They were tough and resolute people. Within less than one year a new church was built over the foundation of the old Church.

The Wheaton Illinoan reported on Friday, August 23, 1907: The new St. John church in Winfield was dedicated Sunday [August 18, 1907] with appropriate ceremonies. Archbishop Quigley of Chicago had charge of the services assisted by priests from neighboring parishes. Many people from Wheaton were in attendance.

If one goes to the east side of the church today and peers into the basement window at the ground level you can still see the old foundation in the basement.

Remember that the church is not a building. The “church” is the people who are a members of a similar faith coming together to worship their God.

About Schlick Daleiden Families - DuPage and Kane Counties of Illinois

Kevin Davis is a retired Public Library Director. He is a Board member of the Winfield (IL) Historical Society. Davis has over 35 years experience working in public libraries. He is deeply interested in local Chicagoland, Dupage, and Kane County History. Davis earned a BA in History and an MA in Library Science from Dominican University. He is a volunteer researcher for the St. James Farm Forest Preserve part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in Illinois. His work includes extensive writing and research on the McCormick family line who were former owners of St. James Farm. He is an avid family historian / genealogist and has done extensive research on the Schlicks and Daleidens of DuPage and Kane County Illinois.
This entry was posted in Schlicks, St Johns Catholic Church Winfield Illinois, Uncategorized, Winfield History. Bookmark the permalink.

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