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St. Joseph Catholic Church

Brighton Enterprise
Saturday, January 25, 1902
Page 4, Column 4


The Mission church in charge of Rev. Father JACOBSMEIER of this city, at Pleasant Plain, has decided to build a new church next summer. The church will be built at the place where the Rock Island made its cut-off about a mile from the old town of Pleasant Plain. The plans have not been decided upon definitely, but it will be a modern building for worship in every respect. The dimensions will be about 70x40 feet. -- Washington Journal.


Brighton Enterprise
Saturday, April 26, 1902
Page 4, Column 3

A NEW JEFFERSON COUNTY TOWN. Rollin J. WILSON has filed with the County Recorder a plat of the town of East Pleasant Plain. It embraces 30 acres of the NE of the SE of Sec. 11 (Penn Township) and part of the SW of Sec. 12, and is located about a mile east of the present town of Pleasant Plain. It is on the short line now in course of construction by the C.R.I. & P. Ry. Co., and the station building and yards for both towns will be located there. There are enough lots, streets and alleys on the plat for a goodly sized town.


Brighton Enterprise
Saturday, August 9, 1902
Page 4, Column 3

The Catholics will built a new church at Pleasant Plain this fall. The building will be 38x70 of strictly Roman style, Rev. JACOBSMEIER tells us. $2,500 has been raised and they hope to double the amount and complete the structure this fall.


Brighton Enterprise
Saturday, September 20, 1902
Page 4, Column 3

The Catholics had a big time at Pleasant Plain Thursday, at the laying of the corner stone of their new church. The ladies fed over 400 people at 25 each and in various other ways a lot of money was raised.


Brighton Enterprise
Saturday, November 29, 1902
Page 4, Column 4

NEW POLISH CATHOLIC CHURCH will be built in New Pleasant Plain next spring. The parish has purchased a block of ground in the newly laid out town nearly three miles from the present church and will build a new church and parsonage. The present church was built 22 years ago in the hills and is not very accessible. Besides that the center of the parish or membership has changed since then so the new location will be more central. The old church and parsonage may remain where they are and be used or sold, or they may be torn down and removed to Pleasant Plain to be built into something else. It will be impossible to move the buildings intact on account of the hills....


Brighton Enterprise
Saturday, December 6, 1902
Page 4, Column 4

Work is progressing right along on the new German Catholic church in Pleasant Plain. The famous old Quaker village of Pleasant Plain will seem odd with two Catholic churches in the town plot.


Brighton Enterprise
Saturday, May 23, 1903
Page 1, Column 7

CHURCH DEDICATION. The new St. Joseph's church in East Pleasant Plain will be dedicated Wednesday May 27.... Permission to build a church in East Pleasant Plain was obtained early in the fall of 1900, but practically nothing was done up until about a year and a half later, when the new town on the Rock Island "cut off" began to take shape. A meeting of the parish was called to choose committeemen and the following gentlemen were chosen: Rev. B. JACOBSMEIER, Fred ARNDT, John FRITZ, Jacob KASKA, and Peter KURTZ.... Corner stone laid Sept. 19, 1902... Thus was laid the foundation of the first Catholic church in East Pleasant Plain, Iowa. St. Joseph was chosen as its patron saint.


"The Fairfield Ledger"
May 27, 1903
Page 6, Column 4


The Brighton Enterprise says that St. Joseph's church, the new building erected by the Catholics of Penn and Walnut townships at East Pleasant Plain, will be dedicated today. High mass will be celebrated in the morning, with a sermon in English, while Rev. A. J. SHULTE of Iowa City will deliver a lecture in the evening on "Christianity and Civilization." Ladies of the parish will serve dinner at noon. The erection of this structure was begun in 1902, with the purchase of eight lots in Block 21 of the new town for a site. Ground was broken Aug. 6th and the cornerstone was laid Sept. 18. The building is a frame structure and was erected by Henry INKMAN of Ft. Madison at a cost of $2,734. Rev. B. JACOBSMEIER and Messrs. Fred ARNDT, John FRITZ, Jacob KASKA and Peter KURTZ composed the building committee.


Brighton Enterprise
Saturday, June 16, 1911
Page 5, Column 4

The unveiling of the big cross in the cemetery of the Catholic church at East Pleasant Plain took place yesterday. A number of clergymen were present and the ladies of the church served dinner at the close of the exercises. The cross is made of reinforced concrete, is twenty feet high surmounted by a figure of Christ.


"The Fairfield (Ia.) Daily Ledger"
Wednesday, June 7, 1944
Page 2, Column 5


St. Joseph's Catholic church at Pleasant Plain was completely destroyed by fire early this morning. The fire, believed to have been caused by faulty wiring, was discovered at about 1:00 a.m. by several persons in the vicinity, including Ed Ledger, who was plowing in a nearby field, and Isadore Deutsch, who lives near the church.

The Fairfield Fire Department responded to a call at 1:15 this morning, and spent two hours at the scene, controlling the fire to keep it from spreading to the rectory, next door to the church. The rectory was considerably damaged by smoke.

The Washington Fire Department was also called, but the fire had progressed so far that the combined efforts of the two departments could not save the building.

The church, a land mark of the Pleasant Plain vicinity and a community gathering place, was remodeled and redecorated a few years ago. The loss is believe (sic) to be partially if not wholly covered by insurance.

The fire apparently started in the northwest corner of the church, spreading rapidly to the whole interior of the building.

A "D-Day" prayer service had been held at the church last evening at 9 o'clock.


"The Fairfield Ia. Ledger"
Saturday, September 10, 1960
Page 4

St. Joseph Church Dedic ation (sic) Set Wednesday

The new St. Joseph's Catholic church at East Pleasant Plain will be blessed and dedicated during special ceremonies to take place next Wednesday, Sept. 14.

The services will get underway at 10:30 a.m. with Bishop Ralph L. Hayes, Davenport, presiding. In addition to blessing both the interior and exterior of the new edifice, he will also deliver the dedication sermon.

One of the highlights of the service will be the appearance of three native sons who will celebrate the Solemn High Mass. They include the Rev. C. D. MANNHARDT, the Rev. R. J. PACHA and the Rev. M. E. BENDA, All are former members of the community and church.

Father MANNHARDT is now pastor of the St. James parish, Toronto, Iowa; Father BENDA is assistant at St. Mary's, Iowa City; and Father PACHA is pastor of St. Joseph's parish, North English.

Shape of Cross

The new church is built in the shape of a cross, with straight forward contemporary lines. It is 42 by 104 feet with wings 24 by 30 feet. The exterior is or Norman wire-cut brick.

The main entrance on the east features a large window of clear glass running up to the eaves. The roof is of heavy duty asphalt shingles and is topped over the main entrance by a 10-foot spire.

The interior walls of the church are surfaced with light-weight cement blocks. The steep pitched ceiling of the church creates a feeling of spaciousness and at the same time lends emphasis to the altar.

The ceiling is carried on laminated beams that provide a pleasing contrast to the cement block interior.

Capacity of 400

The new building has a seating capacity of 400. The pews have been taken from the old quarters and refurnished. The sanctuary is the focal point, and the altar has been given a dignified contemporary treatment. It is a free standing stone of black granite set on three risers.

The alter is backed by a perforated aluminum screen behind which are the organ and choir.

The south transept of the church is taken up by the sacristy. In the north transept are pews and a sound-proof mother-infant room.

The basement of the church contains a kitchen, pantry, rest rooms, storage and furnace rooms and a spacious dining hall. The building has been prepared for the possible installation of air conditioning facilities some time later.

Rev. Henry B. GREERS, pastor of the church, placed the overall cost of the new church at $130,000, or $10.13 per square foot. The pastor expects the debt to be reduced to approximately $35,000 by the end of the year.

Founded in 1902

St. Joseph's parish was founded in 1902. It serves a predominantly German and Polish community of 150 families in East Pleasant Plain and vicinity.

The original frame church built when the parish was founded served the people until it was destroyed by fire on June 6, 1944. For the past 16 years the parish has used a quonset church to the north of the rectory.

The new building is on the site of the old church. Construction began in May, 1959, when Bishop HAYES broke the ground for the structure.

Work on the structure progressed rapidly and the final touches were completed in May this year when the church was occupied.

Father GREERS has been pastor of the St. Mary's church for the past four years. He was ordained in 1936 and has served several churches in the diocese.


"Fairfield, Ia. Ledger"
Wednesday, May 24, 1972
Page 1, Columns 7 and 8

St. Joseph Bell Tower Dedication Set Sunday

EAST PLEASANT PLAIN -- The new Bell Tower at St. Joseph Catholic Church in East Pleasant Plain will be dedicated during special ceremonies at the church Sunday, May 28, at 4 p.m.

The Most Reverend Gerald F. O'KEEFE, D.D., Bishop of Davenport, will conduct the dedication ceremonies followed by a Mass to be offered by the Bishop.

The bell in the new tower is the old bell that once hung in the tower of the Polishville Church which was destroyed by fire July 15, 1971. The bell had been removed for safe keeping prior to the fire.

Monday, May 29, Memorial Day, a Mass will be offered at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary's Cemetery across the road from the site of the old Polishville Church where a number of pioneers of the Polishville community and their descendants are buried.

Work is now underway to construct a permanent altar in the cemetery so that Mass may be offered there from time to time.

The Old Polishville Church, located northeast of Fairfield, was erected in 1882 and the first services were held in the building in October that year.

In the fall of 1883, it was deemed necessary to have a bell in the new Polishville Church. The bell was purchased from the Buckeye Bell Foundry in Cincinnati, Ohio, for $175.

It was christened, "The Bell of St. John Nepomucene" Nov. 2, 1883.

The bell was known for its beautiful mellow tone and called the people of the community for many years.

The fire last July added impetus to plans to erect a new tower at St. Mary's (sic - St. Joseph's) Church for the old bell.

Construction of the tower began Oct. 18, 1971, and it was completed in December. After being silent for many years, it rang out again proclaiming the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord at the Midnight Mass of Christmas.

Plans for the tower were prepared by Ervin C. HUNEKE, architect, Fairfield; and construction by Barton Construction Co., Mount Pleasant.

Rev. Francis E. BASS is pastor of St. Joseph Church and Leonard F. DRISH was chairman of the Bell Tower Committee.

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