St. Ann Catholic Church
The parish was founded in 1889. Fr. Petter Cullen, the pastor at Liberty, took the small congregation under his wing and helped them organize and build a church.
Land was purchased from the Excelsior Springs Company on March 14, 1888. This location was on the northwest corner of Chicago and St. Joe Avenues. For unknown reasons the church was not built there. A frame building was later built but at the time it is not known where. The Church building was funded by the few Catholics and many non-Catholic people in the community, who realized that some potential visitors to the springs. The mineral springs drew people form all over the world at that time. There were large first class hotels and numerous boarding homes near the springs.
About the turn of the century Fr. Edward A Burke came from Kentucky hoping to have his health restored by the mineral springs of the area. He stayed until 1923. It is said that durning the time the original frame church was replaced with another frame church and a rectory was built. On November 29, 1901, Lots 22 and 23 in Block Central Park Addition were purchased from Henry and Rebecca Extension for $600.00. Lot 21 was purchased on August 16, 1904, from F.J. Cullen and Walter Former for $300.00. This is the site of the third church. In 1917 a brick veneer was put on the building. The church remains standing today at or near 554 Kansas City Avenue.
In a report made in 1938 to Bishop LeBlond the membership is given as 74 persons. In 1939 there were 162. In that year T.E. Donnellan, R.E. Donnellan and Harold D. Poe comprised the church committee. By 1942 there were 200 members. Thees is not explanation given for the major increase of membership. In 1949 there were 250 members. Art Dobbs, Russel Kenning, Dr. T.C> Krings and Bernard Strathman made up the church committee.
On September 25, 1951, Lots 22 and 23, Block 3 are purchased from the estate of Margaret K. Hunt for $18, 400. These two lots were occupied by the convent. In the fall of 1953 a school was opened taught by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. These Sisters had been coming to the parish to teach religious education since 1942. There were 53 students the first year.
The first discussion regarding the closing of the school took place March 1967, at a board meeting of the Diocesan School Board held in Excelsior Springs. The announcement caused a furor in the community. The president of the Public School Board, Leroy Strasheim, said that the closure of the school "would be a step backwards for the entire community". He said the public schools could not accommodate the additional students. The mayor of the city Casey Rounkles and the secretary of the Excelsior Springs Chamber of Commerce, Bill Lambert, made statements at the meeting in favor of keeping the school open as well as the president of the Diocesan P.T.A. Federation, Mrs. V.A. Niewrzel. The result of the meeting was a recommendation to keep the school but to close the seventh and eighth grades. Discussions continue, however, and on August 4, 1968 an appeal was made to the Diocesan Grievance Board by the parish to keep the school open. The final decision was to consolidate the school with St. James School in Liberty. The reasons cited for the closing the school were: declining enrollment, shift in population and the fact that the Sisters would be withdrawing from the school the spring of 1969. There were 80 students enrolled at this time, taught by three Sisters.
In the diocesan census of 1959, 203 children were found, 95 of whom were grade school age and 22 were high school or college age. There were 308 adult Catholics.
On February 22, 1973, a tract of land 15.91 acres in size was purchased from John T. and Elizabeth C. Lynn at Lynn and Tracy Roads, for $3000.00 per acre. The former school was sold on June 5, 1974 to the Excelsior Springs School District #40 and the old depot was sold on the same date to the Town and Country Leader, Inc.
Bishop Charles Helming came on November 23, 1975 for the dedication of the new church facility built on the new property. The new church can seat 350 persons. It is built on a slope with the entrance to the church facing north while on the south is an entrance to a large assembly hall on the garden level. The seating in the church is arranged in a semicircle around the altar. The stained glass windows from the former church were incorporated into the new one. At the time of the dedication of the church a new rectory was in the process of construction.
The architect was Frangkier and Hutchings of Grandview. The general contractor was Schoonover Brothers Construction Company form Lawson. The cost was approximately$300,000. On February 3, 1982 the old church and rectory and the vacant land to the north of the church were sold.
*Source: This Far by Faith by Rev. Michael Coleman.
Good Samaritan Center
In 1986 Fr. Larry Speichinger along with several parish members worked hard to establish this now well established outreach to serve the needs of the community. Soon volunteers and support come form other churches and individuals in the community and the Center began operating independently. The center fulfills the needs of many offering a food pantry, clothing, and assistance to help people succeed in life and have their basic needs met. Today the good Samaritan is a vital community outreach and our parish delights in having the opportunity to share service with those in need.