Pilsen, Kansas

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Pilsen, Kansas
KDOT map of Marion County (legend)
Pilsen is located in Kansas
Pilsen is located in the United States
Coordinates: 38°28′17″N 97°2′25″W / 38.47139°N 97.04028°W / 38.47139; -97.04028Coordinates: 38°28′17″N 97°2′25″W / 38.47139°N 97.04028°W / 38.47139; -97.04028[1]
CountryUnited States
TownshipClark, Clear Creek
Elevation1,434 ft (437 m)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code785
FIPS code20-55875 [1]
GNIS ID0477246 [1]

Pilsen is an unincorporated community in Marion County, Kansas, United States.[1][2] It is named after the city Plzeň (German: Pilsen) in Czech Republic, formerly Bohemia.[3] The community has always had a population less than 100, which is too low to incorporate as a city in Kansas.[3][4]


Early history[edit]

For many millennia, the Great Plains of North America was inhabited by nomadic Native Americans. From the 16th century to 18th century, the Kingdom of France claimed ownership of large parts of North America. In 1762, after the French and Indian War, France secretly ceded New France to Spain, per the Treaty of Fontainebleau.

19th century[edit]

In 1802, Spain returned most of the land to France. In 1803, most of the land for modern day Kansas was acquired by the United States from France as part of the 828,000 square mile Louisiana Purchase for 2.83 cents per acre.

In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state. In 1855, Marion County was established within the Kansas Territory, which included the land for modern day Pilsen.[5]

Pilsen was founded in 1874 and named to honor the city of Plzeň of Bohemia by Bohemian immigrants.[3] The area was settled in the 1870s and 1880s by 46 Bohemian families of Czech and German descent who purchased their land from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.[6]

In 1888, the first Catholic church was built. It was a two-story frame building; the upper floor was the church and the lower floor was the rectory. The building was converted into a convent after the second church was built.[3]

Up until about 1902, the community was centered around a General Store that was located approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of the current Pilsen site.[3]

20th century[edit]

Captain Chaplain Emil Kapaun

After the General Store closed in 1902, Mr and Mrs Cerny built a new two-story store at the current Pilsen site, and continued to operate it until 1944, then later it was torn down in 1970.[3]

The current St. John Nepomucene Catholic church as built in 1914-1915. Train carloads of brick were ordered from Kansas City then delivered to the closest station in Lincolnville. The pile of bricks in Pilsen was so large that people often joked "how many churches are you going to build?" The church cost approximately $30,000, but the cost would have been higher if it had not been for the local volunteer labor. In 1924, an eleven-room rectory was built. In the early 1940s, Emil Kapaun was pastor at the church and assisted Father Sklenar.[3]

A post office existed in Pilsen from March 17, 1917 to March 8, 1957.[7]

21st century[edit]

On June 3, 2001, volunteers dedicated a statue honoring Chaplain Emil Kapaun at St. John Nepomucene Church.

In 2010, the Keystone-Cushing Pipeline (Phase II) was constructed near Pilsen, north to south through Marion County, with much controversy over road damage, tax exemption, and environmental concerns (if a leak ever occurs).[8][9][10]


Pilsen is located at 38°28′17″N 97°2′25″W / 38.47139°N 97.04028°W / 38.47139; -97.04028 (38.4714024, -97.0402972),[1] approximately 7.5 miles (12.1 km) north of Marion.

Area events[edit]

Area attractions[edit]

  • St John Nepomucene Catholic Church. The highlight of the small community of Pilsen is St John Nepomucene Catholic Church.[11] The cornerstone was laid in 1914 by Father John Sklenar, the first parish priest.[12] The church can be seen for miles around the flat farming community of Pilsen. The church itself is 120 feet tall, topped by a silver-colored neo-Gothic dome. St John Nepomucene, for whom the church was named is the patron saint of Bohemia and Christian martyr of the 14th Century.[6][13]
  • Marion Reservoir, approximately 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Pilsen.


Primary and secondary education[edit]

Pilsen is part of Unified School District 397.[14][15] The high school is a member of T.E.E.N., a shared video teaching network between five area high schools.[16] All students attend schools in Lost Springs area.





U.S. Route 77 is 4.5 miles (7.2 km) east, and U.S. Route 56 is 7.5 miles (12.1 km) south of the community.


Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Early Pilsen Community History; Jane C. Rupp; Marion Record; September 16, 1937.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "GNIS Detail - Pilsen". geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Pilsen, KS". 13 August 2012. Archived from the original on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Marion County Kansas, Past and Present; Sondra Van Meter; 1972.
  4. ^ "Census - Places; census.gov" (PDF). Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ Kansas, Marion County,. "Marion County, Kansas > About Marion County > History". www.marioncoks.net. Retrieved 30 May 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  6. ^ a b A Shephard in Combat Boots: Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division; William L. Maher; 1997; Burd Street Press, page 22.
  7. ^ "Kansas Post Offices, 1828-1961 (archived)". Kansas Historical Society. Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  8. ^ Keystone Pipeline - Marion County Commission calls out Legislative Leadership on Pipeline Deal; April 18, 2010. Archived October 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Keystone Pipeline - TransCanada inspecting pipeline; December 10, 2010.
  10. ^ Keystone Pipeline - County ask TransCanada for pipeline emergency plan; Hillsboro Free Press; February 15, 2011.
  11. ^ "Fr. Emil Kapaun". www.frkapaun.org. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  12. ^ The Marion Review, June 18, 1941.
  13. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. John Nepomucene". www.newadvent.org. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Centre School District in Lost Springs, Kansas serves the education for the communities of Lincolnville, Lost Springs, Ramona, Tampa and Pilsen". USD 397 Centre School District. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  15. ^ Kansas School District Boundary Map Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "T.E.E.N. video teaching network". Archived from the original on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Pilgrimage draws hundreds to Pilsen - Hillsboro Star-Journal - June 10, 2010". starj.com. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  18. ^ OMelveny, Sean. "MOH Awarded to Korean War Chaplain". Retrieved 30 May 2017.

External links[edit]