Holy Rosary Church is located in Kranzburg, which was settled by German Catholic immigrants in 1878. The parish’s first small, wood-frame church was quickly outgrown and the congregation began making plans in the mid-1890s to construct a more substantial brick church. Architect Joseph Schwarz of Sioux Falls created the Gothic Revival design, and local German builders John and Walter Kuhn erected the $18,000 structure.
The one-story church sits on a concrete foundation and has a steeply pitched gabled roof. A central tower dominates the front facade and is topped by a spire that can be seen from any vantage point in this eastern South Dakota town. At the base of the tower is the main entrance, reached via a short flight of steps. A pointed-arched window above the doorway elongates the entryway, and draws the eye up toward a stained glass rosette window and the slatted wood vents in pointed-arched openings located on each of the tower’s facades. The spire is topped by a large cross, and four additional crosses mark the gables at the base of the spire. Pointed-arch windows with sandstone sills line the length of the building and are separated by brick buttresses.
German craftsmanship is evident on the interior, where an elaborate wooden altar with pointed arches, finials, and statuary niches forms the focal point. This craftsmanship continues with the similarly detailed side altars, pews, and the Stations of the Cross, which line the nave. The church is exemplary of the Gothic Revival style, and the ribbed transverse arches, along with the pointed window arches and altar designs, draw the eye upward.
The church has undergone several restorations in recent years, including the addition of an asphalt-shingled roof as well as interior restorations and stained glass repairs.
Stricherz, Nick, “Holy Rosary Church,” Codington County, South Dakota. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1986. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.