St. Wenceslaus Church
In the year 1880 a group of Bohemian immigrants inhabited the vicinity of Beulah, Iowa. They organized the St. Wenceslaus Literary and choral Society primarily to foster the tradition of their native land.
In March of 1883, at the suggestion of Father Sulak, a Bohemian missionary, the society invited the Bohemian families, about thirty in number, to discuss plans for the building of a chapel. Prior to this time Mass had been offered in the home of Jacob Lestina.
Work on the chapel began in May of 1883. Jacol Hlavac, a carpenter, drew the plans and directed the construction of the building. Sufficient funds were raised and when the chapel was completed, Father Sulak asked the people to meet there every Sunday for devotions.
In 1901, the people of the parish united with the Monona Parish. the older members who had made many sacrifices to build this church, hoped to preserve it for posterity. But as the older members passed away, the church slumped into a shabby, weather-beaten structure. On October 4, 1936 a meeting was held to discuss what to do with the church. A vote was taken and the proposal to restore the church carried by a fifteen to eight vote. After the meeting, volunteers offered to help with the labor and funds. As a result, over $100.00 was raised which with the volunteer labor, was sufficient to paint and refinish the church and to survey and plat the cemetery.
A trade was made with Gilbert Wiethorn whereby a triangular piece of ground on the west was traded for a like amount on the north.
Ten years later, it was decided that the church should be removed. In September 1946, sealed bids were called for and the church went to the highest bidder, Mrs. Anna Havlicek, for $1035.00. Part of the altar and stove brought $10.00, and August Helwig bought the bell for $50.00. He donated it to the Annville Institute in Annville, Kentucky, where his daughter was teaching.
The altar stone, censor and chalice were turned over to the Fathers of the Society of the Divine Worship at Epworth who in turn sent them to missionaries in South America where they were gratefully received.
The funds were invested in Government Bonds - the interest thereof to be used for cemetery care.
Under the leadership of Father Donlon, a border of trees was placed around the cemetery. Funds were donated for the erection of a Crucifixation Group on the site where the church had stood.
The St. Wenceslaus Cemetery was duly incorporated and the articles of incorporation together with the deed were filed with the County Recorder.
~125th Anniversary, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Monona Iowa; Souvenir Mini-History; September 27, 1981.
~History & photos submitted by Carol Chase
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