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St. Boniface Catholic Church

Schatz, Anton G. "St. Boniface Catholic Church." Logan County Historical Society Newsletter, March 2003.


We lived close to the St. Boniface Catholic Church. Every fall, the job of firing the stove or furnace came up by auction. They would start the bid high and the interested bidders would bid downwards and the lowest bid would get the job. A lot of these times my dad would be the lowest bidder. As long as the weather was nice, dad had the job until it was getting cold and time to start a fire on a Sunday morning, then it became my job. He must have figured that staying in a warm bed on a cold, dark Sunday morning was a lot nicer then walking over to an ice cold basement and starting a fire so I became like the priest. I could make my money on Sunday. This seemed good and well, but I never got to see any money. The money got deducted from the folks’ church dues.

Now to describe the working conditions, we did not have any electric service. The place was only warmed when there was to be a mass. The basement was just a hole, big enough for the coal bin and the furnace. All of the bottom of the church was open. You cold see all the way back to the other end so there was a lot of room for the cold. This was one place where you could make ice cream and you did not have to bring the ice.

The stove was big, it was a coal burner. Most times I would go over on a Saturday and take along a nag full of hay to help start the fire. We would clean out the ashes and put the hay in and some wood. When Sunday morning came, I took a farm lantern and a handful of matches and walked over to the church. On cold days I would go over to the church at 4:00 a.m. I would put a bundle of hay in the ash pit and light it. Everything was so cold that the chimney would not draw and the smoke came out of more places then I thought I had places. The smoke went up into the church. I then would go to the chimney and open and shut the cleanout door banging it until it finely took. By this time the church had a lot of smoke in it. I then had to go up and open some windows to get the smoke out. By this time, the wood was burning good so I added some coal. The stove pipe was the first to get warm. I had to go up and close the windows.

Upstairs was a different story. The cold air register was up front beside the hot air register. All the cold air had to pass under the pews which took extra heat. That was fine. But there was also one upstairs for the single people. Upstairs it got too hot, so they opened the trap door that lead to the steeple. We had too much heat upstairs and cold feet below. If we had early mass at 8:30 a.m., I would go home and eat, change my clothes, and go to mass. After mass I would drive Father Lawrence to the mission churches either to Burnstad or to Wishek. The fire would go out till next Sunday.

Reprinted with permission of the Logan County Historical Society.

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