St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church

Illerbrun Church

In 1915, St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church was built in the Illerbrun District. This area acquired the name of Illerbrun after it was settled by three Illerbrun brothers. Trustees for the church were William Illerbrun, Nick Ruetz, and Joseph Sand, and the church’s first priest was Father Terence Caraher of Gravelbourg. The church was constructed on land that was owned, at the time, by Mr. Valentine Voll. As the church was being built on his land, much of the main construction was done by Valentine Voll, his son Jake Voll, and many of the parishioners. In the winter, the church was heated by two “pot-belly stoves.”

In 1925, Jack Flynn and John Scrieber dug a partial basement under the church. While it was only a partial basement, there was still enough room to house the church’s coal furnace as well as several tons of coal, and kindling. The foundation and steps for the basement were laid by Joseph and Mike Sand. Sands were also responsible for building the church’s chimney.

A bell was bought for the church in 1926, and was positioned on a trestle stand outside in front of the church. The bell was a masterpiece. It was solid brass and weighed about 1000 pounds. The base edge for the bell is 6 inches thick, while the walls of the bell are 2.5 inches thick. The bell stands 28 inches tall and has base that is 36 inches across. The bell was specifically cast for St. Anthony’s Church and was rung every Sunday before mass as well as for funerals. The bell could be heard anywhere from eight to ten miles away from the church. A steeple was built for the bell in 1926 with construction done by mainly Charlie Illerbrun, Harold Grubbe, and Mike Sand. The foreman for this project was George Hawkins. In 1995 there was concern about safety and damage to the bell. As a result, it was moved to a concrete pad in St. Anthony’s church cemetery in 1996.

In 1950, the church installed two gas furnaces, and in 1955 the roof of the church was re-shingled and the outside of the church was painted.

The church was open for a total of 73 years with 14 different priests serving there. The final mass for the St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church or Illerbrun Church took place on June 26, 1988.