Br. Leonard (Lawrence) Darscheidt, O. F. M. (1858-1944), Carpenter-Architect
Leonard Darscheidt was born July 12, 1858, to Adam Darscheidt and Magdalen Sauer in Moselweis (Trier), Germany; baptised July 13, 1858 at St. Lawrence, Moselweis, Germany; confirmation on May 20, 1873 at St. Lawrence, Moselweis, Germany; Third Order Investment on April 4, 1884 at Teutopolis, Illinois; Second Order Investment on April 5, 1885 at Teutopolis, Illinois; First Order Investment on July 30, 1887 at Teutopolis, Illinois; Simple Profession on August 11, 1888 at Teutopolis, Illinois, Solemn Profession on August 15, 1891 at Chicago, Illinois. He died in Omaha, Nebraska, April 1, 1944.
“Among the architects and carpenters who helped to build befitting temples of God, schools, etc. [in Nebraska, are the] Ven. Brothers Adrian Wewer, Damian Bueschgens, Ildephonse Lethert and Leonard Darscheidt deserve special mention.”[6:571]
Educational & Professional Associations
Later parish assignments
1921-1922: Superior (St. Francis)
1922-1924: Keshena (St Michael)
1924-1927: Humphrey (St Francis)
1927-1930: Chicago (St Augustine)
1930-1931: In St Barbara Province
1931-1944: Omaha (St Joseph).
Buildings & Projects
a. Jacob M. (James) Nachtigall (1874-1947), Architect collaborated with Darscheidt on the St. Joseph Church; recorded in the City of Omaha, Building Permit, cited in Bjorkman. Hagedorn states, “After deliberation Fr. Pacific concluded first to finish the church. November 30, 1913, Brother Leonard Darscheidt, O. F. M., arrived from Hermann, Missouri, to make the preliminary arrangements and left again in December. In March, 1915, Brother Leonard returned with the plans, and after consultation with Mr. Jacob M. Nachtigall, a prominent architect and parishioner, modified and completed them. The plans and specifications were submitted to six contractors on April 17, 1915.”[6:537]
b. This is commonly known as the basement church, which served the parish until Darscheidt’s 1915 church was built atop the basement walls. The basement church was designed by Br. Adrian (Anthony) Wewer, O. F. M. (1836-1914), Carpenter-Architect. Darscheidt assisted in the construction, and is said to have plied his trade as carpenter in cutting the wooden frames for the arches.[6:536]
c. More than assisting, Darscheidt may have been a collaborator with the principal architect, Br. Adrian Wewer.
d. Darscheidt designed “a beautiful church,” but for lack of funds, only a temporary basement church was constructed at this time.[6:386] The basement was expanded and the church was built from 1912-1913, to plans supplied by Jacob M. (James) Nachtigall (1874-1947), Architect.
e. The pulpit and confessionals were built by E. Hackner of La Crosse, Wisconsin, to the designs of Br. Leonard Darscheidt.[6:451]
f. Hagedorn[6:314] does not attribute the design of this building to any architect, but the time period and design characteristics make it likely that Darscheidt provided the plans.
g. Hagedorn's history[6:354] indicates a complex process leading to construction of this church, as three different architects are mentioned. Hagedorn states that Wurdeman, a Columbus architect (Charles Wurdeman (1871-1961), Architect), provided estimates, and that L'Meara, Hills, and Krajewski provided the drawings. The Krajewski plans were rejected, and "Fr. Provincial then suggested that Brother Leonard, O.F.M., make the plans for the church." Darscheidt "...took great interest and re-drew the plans." Hagedorn further states that Wurdeman then provided the bid, suggesting that Wurdeman was fulfilling the role of builder on this project.
h. Harmon, citing Wewer's papers in the Provincial archives, documents this church as a Brother Adrian Wewer design, while Hagedorn and local sources cite it as Darscheidt's work.[6:399-402] This may have been another of the consultations or collaborations that are recorded above and elsewhere, and perhaps was a part of an apprenticeship. (DM)
1. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
2. City of Omaha Planning Department, Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, Database, Query on Architects, May 20, 2002; courtesy of Lynn Meyer, Preservation Planner.
3. “Leonard (Lawrence) Darscheid, Lay-brother,” Abbreviated Fact Sheet, Archives of The Franciscans, Province of the Sacred Heart, St. Louis. Rev. Ladislas Siekaniec, O.F.M., to Jim Fagler, State Historic Preservation Office, October 13, 1980.
4. Lynn Bjorkman, “St Joseph Parish Church Complex (DO09:0116-003),” National Register of Historic Places, Inventory-Nomination Form. Omaha: Omaha City Planning Department, April, 1986.
5. Tim Sliva. “St. Michael’s Catholic Church,” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. Humphrey: St. Michaels Catholic Church, August, 1990.
6. Eugene Hagedorn, O. F. M. The Franciscans in Nebraska. Humphrey, Nebraska: Humphrey Democrat and Norfolk Daily News, 1931.
7. James A. Harmon. “Bro. Adrain Wewer, O.S.F. (1836-1914): Provincial Architect, Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart,” 2001. Sacred Heart Province Archives: Originally at http://18.104.22.168/archives/items/adrian.htm and http://www.thefriars.org/archives/items/adrian.htm but neither link has remained active; accessed via http://www.slashdocs.com/mpzqmi/bro-adrian-wewer-osf.html June 10, 2013. Harmon's attributions are from Brother Adrian's files in the provincial archives. For a more extensive biography of Wewer, sans the chronology of buildings, see Harmon's "Life History" essay on the "Build My Church": Br. Adrian Wewer OFM Centennial Celebration website at http://adrianwewer.org/readingrm.php Accessed May 16, 2014.
D. Murphy, “Br. Leonard (Lawrence) Darscheidt, O. F. M. (1858-1944), Carpenter-Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, June 8, 2013. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, August 18, 2022.
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