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From Far Away Russia - Part 3

Mennonite communal house

Russian-Germans in Kansas

Early Years in Kansas

Before long we will be obliged to class them as among our best citizens. Encourage them to come.
--Hays City Sentinel, April 5, 1876

Railroads sometimes provided temporary housing until Russian-Germans could purchase land and depending on what time of year they arrived in the Midwest.

A communal house shelters Mennonites in the illustration from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, March 20, 1875 (top, right).

Temporary dwellings at Newton

Temporary dwellings sprang up on newly purchased lands in central Kansas.  These temporary houses were constructed at the Mennonite colony north of Newton, pictured in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, March 20, 1875 (center, left).

Early Russian-German structures in Kansas often echoed European styles. Sometimes the families did not live on their own farms, but clustered their homes together in central villages.

Werth home at Schoenchen

Substantial Homes and Farms

Within a few years, though most families moved into standard frame houses made by local builders. The earlier structures were abandoned or used as farm buildings.

Here the Werth family, who were Volga Germans, pose in front of their house near Schoenchen, Kansas (bottom, right).

  1. Introduction
  2. Lured to Kansas by Railroads
  3. Early Years in Kansas
  4. Growing Wheat
  5. German Customs With a Russian Flavor
  6. A Profound Faith