A postcard from
a German village
Few people driving
along Highway 63 in central Missouri are not impressed with picturesque
Westphalia situated on a high hill above the surrounding valleys and
the Maries River.
The scene is
dominated by the towering steeple of St. Joseph Catholic Church. The
steeple was added to the 1848 church 35 years later.
The church became known as the Pearl of Osage County after a poem was
written about its beauty.
New Westphalia was founded by Father Ferdinand Helias who came to central
Missouri in 1838 and subsequently founded several churches in the area
to serve a large population of German settlers.
came to Missouri from a district in northern German known as Westphalia.
Later the New was dropped from the name to shorten it.
The Pearl of Osage County was remodeled in 1905, according to the churchs
history, when parishioners realized the ceiling of their church was
lower than the ceiling of the church built by the Bavarian parish at
nearby Rich Fountain.
Ceilings were raised by adding a framework of wood covered with sheet
metal and a second balcony was added.