Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is a Roman Catholic parish in Botkins, Ohio, United States. Erected in 1865, the parish owns a complex of buildings constructed in a wide range of years, including two that have been designated as historic sites.
Immaculate Conception parish was organized in 1865 among a population of twenty-eight poor German immigrant families. A few Catholic families had settled in the vicinity of the village many years before, but their poverty had prevented them from supporting a pastor; accordingly, Mass was celebrated only occasionally by travelling priests. For many years, they worshipped in private homes or in a former schoolhouse, although a log church was built by the early 1860s. Soon after the creation of the parish, the members began to take measures to replace their church, and a new brick building was completed in 1867. Erected at a cost of approximately $8,000, this structure measured 45 feet (14 m) by 85 feet (26 m), and it was crowned by a respectable steeple. As the years passed, the parish grew; by 1883, its membership was eighty-two families. Increased membership permitted improvements to the church: it was remodelled and embellished by painter F.H. Hefele in 1898, and ornate stained glass windows were installed in 1899. From the parish’s earliest years, it possessed a cemetery: a small plot 1 mile (1.6 km) north of Botkins was used for a time, and it was soon replaced by a more suitable location on the village’s northern edge.
Many parishes in the region constructed rectories for their pastors in accordance with an archiepiscopal directive in the early twentieth century. Most of these houses are simple brick structures influenced by the style of the Sears Roebuck catalog of the day. The rectory at Botkins, built before this directive, is significantly different: its architecture is an ornate Italianate.: 4 Its brick walls are built on a foundation of limestone, and the building is covered with a roof of asphalt. This two-story house was the second rectory owned by the parish; its members bought and converted a house in 1875 before erecting the present structure in 1887 at a cost of $3,000.