This Centennial Memorial, erected in gratitude to God, commemorates the coming to America of the Swiss-German Mennonites in the Fall of 1874 from Volhynia, a former Polish province, in the present Russian Ukraine. It symbolizes the Christian faith among the pioneers and expresses appreciation to God for His faithful leading and to America for its freedom and opportunities. Catherine II's century old privileges having been rescinded, the Mennonites left Russia because a new Russianization policy including military conscription threatened to undermine their faith and culture. The Mennonite Congregation of Kotosufka near Zhitomir came to this area and chose the name Hoffnungsfeld (Field of Hope).
The Immigrant House, about 20' x 120', was erected here by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. It housed 15-35 families during the first winter and was the worship and community center during the following eight years. This land (SW 19-21-2W) was given by the railroad for religious and educational use.
The Hoffungsfeld Congregation was incorporated as the Hopefield Society of the Mennonite Church in 1880. The church building erected in 1882 and in use since that time, stands some 230 feet east of this memorial; the cemetery, where many of the pioneers are buried, lies beyond. People came by oxcart, horse and wagon, homemade sled, or on foot from five or six miles in every direction to attend services. "Let us consider how to stir up one another, to love and good works not neglecting to meet together..."
"These stones shall be to the people for ever."