HISTORY: ST. PETER THE APOSTLE CATHOLIC CHURCH,
The first priest assigned to Boerne in 1860 was
a young French immigrant, Rev. Emil L.J. Fleury. He was given the
task of building a church in the Hill Country. The acreage
selected for the first congregation was a hillside plot on the
south side of the Cibolo. The land was transferred from William F. Kernaghan to the
Rev.Claude M. Dubuis, Bishop of Galveston.
Fleury, who had considerable knowledge of construction, went
to Fredericksburg to hire stone masons and learn how to make lime
for the mortar that would bond the stones.
He returned with two masons who agreed to work if Fleury would furnish their room and
board. Fleury arranged with Mr. Phillips, who owned the inn nearby, for room and board for
his men-again on credit.
Fleury and the workers quarried the limestone used for the
church at the Herff Ranch. A hand-dug well was located on the
right side of the church not only for the priests, but also for the animals of the ranchers who
came to worship. A kiln was built on top of Kronkosky Hill for the making of lime.
The young deacon cut and dressed stones along with his masons, and raised $200 to defray
building costs. Parishioners Phillips, Schertz, Staffel, Dienger, Daizer, Sultenfuss, O'Grady,
Kunz, Acker, Beck, Riley and Kaiser assisted the deacon along with a number of Hispanic men
whose names have been lost. George Wilkins Kendall was a major contributor to the church,
and records show that Casper Sultenfuss donated labor and material for the completion of the
At one point during the construction, Fleury was so exhausted he fell asleep on the
scaffolding, and not on his pallet as he usually did. That night Indians raided the church and
shot arrows into the blanket that covered Fleury's bed. The priest was spared.
His horse, however, didn't fare as well; it was found dead behind
the Philip's Hotel where it had been tied. The church and the
horse were the only items of interest to the Indians that night.
By 1866 or 1867 the church was completed and debt free.
Deacon Fleury began his studies at the Seminary in San Antonio.
This was the beginning of St. Peter's Parish in Boerne. After his ordination on January 21,
1868, Father Fleury became the first resident priest at St. Peter's , serving Boerne and the
surrounding area. In 1869 he was transferred to St. Peter and Paul in New Braunfels.
Sometime between the completion of the church and the turn of the century, a cross was
added to the top of the steeple, a window was replaced by a door to a side porch with a roof,
the sacristy, which is believed to have been originally built of logs, was built of concrete block,
and two windows were cut into the front of the church - one on each side of the entrance.
By 1916 the inside walls had been plastered, and the front
porch with shingled roof had been added. A side chimney was built to accommodate a stove
so that the church itself could be heated.
When the second church was dedicated in 1923, the little
church had doors that were no longer plain, but had designs on
By the time the old building was replaced by the new, it had
begun its decline. To begin with, the church was stripped of its
altar, pews and other religious trappings which were moved to the
new church. This building was then used for classes, church socials and as a meeting room.
About 1971 there was a renovation done and it continued in operation for these same purposes.
Time and usage contributed to more decline.
In 1978 a Restoration and Preservation Committee was formed
for the purpose of raising funds to make repairs, and for the
restoration of the church. Extensive work was done- including a
new roof and a concrete floor in the back portion of the building.
ST. PETER THE APOSTLE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1923. Because of
growth within the parish, and the decline of the first church
building, a new building was dedicated and blessed by the Most
Reverend A. J. Drossaerts on December 30, 1923.
Mr. Kronkosky contributed substantially to the fund for this
church which was begun in 1920 and completed three years later in
1923. Father P. J. Flanagan was resident pastor when the
construction began. Father J. Rainville was resident pastor in
1923 when it was completed.
The new church was modeled after San Antonio's Mission de la
Purisma (1730) and measures 38 x 85 feet, 21 feet high with twin
towers that rise sixty-five feet in the air. The church is located on the hill beside the first
church, south of Cibolo Creek on Main Street.
The central arch is white marble. The walls are native
limestone, and the mortar is rounded and shaped like rope.
Imbedded in the front of the church flanking the entrance doors are two round geodes giving
the impression of cannon balls. Another two are located on each side of the center front
window about three fourths of the way up the window. Fossil shells that are found in
profusion in the Hill Country are found in the rock work next to the cornerstone and
throughout the exterior walls.
William Schwarz of Boerne was the builder and Joseph Sotello, Sr. was the rock mason.
Parishioners Lamm, Hugman, Kaiser, Cole, Jo Schwarz and Rudolph Pfeiffer also played an
important part in contributing labor and materials to the building.
The construction of the new edifice was a group effort, and
many parishioners donated and collected the rocks that were used
for the exterior walls. Willie Cole donated rocks from his own
property. William Schwarz hauled rocks from the Hall Ranch. Yet another source of rock
building material appeared in the form
of a rock fence of Judge Malner Shumard's property.
Albert Kronkosky donated the first windows for the church
which were clear glass. Later the clear glass was replaced by
leaded glass through donations by many families.
Throughout the years the church building has undergone few
changes. The unadorned light bulbs were replaced by ornate Spanish fixtures to complement
the Spanish mission architecture, and the wooden doors were replaced by metal ones. The
interior fixtures have been changed to reflect the changes made by the Second Ecumenical
Council in the 1960's.