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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Stone commemorating the first meeting place of the Church of Christ in Dubuque within the Mines of Spain. Research assistance: Rev. Dr. Lillian DANIEL
CHURCH OF CHRIST. The Church of Christ in Dubuque had several starting points. In 1997 evidence was announced that suggested the church came to Dubuque in 1835. This information stated that a congregation was ministered to by John Braugh. It is believed the congregation met at a site in what became the MINES OF SPAIN STATE RECREATIONAL AREA.(1)

This information came in a letter to Ruth Trent, of Dubuque, from Rev. Paul Garrett of Abilene, Texas. Garrett, a Church of Christ minister, was described as an historian who led bus tours to sites of early churches. Garrett claimed his principal source of information was the "Millennial Harbinger," a publication of the denomination's founder, Alexander Campbell. It was from Campbell's name that congregation members in the 19th century received the nickname, "Cambellites." Trent stated that her research after receiving the letter suggested the church existed two years in Dubuque with members leaving for Oregon, California, or "to the dogs." Garrett's letter to Trent in 1993 came as a surprise. She had believed the church only existed in Dubuque since 1955 when her brother-in-law, Noble Robinson, helped organize it. (2)

Apparently the first church first met on October 1, 1835 in a cabin at the mouth of CATFISH CREEK. It is believed the cabin may have belonged to the first preacher, John Baugh.(3) The church ceased to exist around 1837. On September 8, 1844 the Church of Christ Dubuque was reorganized along Campbellite lines. The congregation began meeting in the "stone church" on June 1, 1845. Services were held in the same location until 1877 although sometimes it did not have a pastor. (4)

In 1877 the congregation purchased the Episcopal church building at 8th and Locust. Under the terms of the contract, the building was jointly occupied until a new Episcopal church could be built. (5) No information of the church's second demise has been found.

Members of a new congregation began meeting during June 1955, in the auditorium of CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL. Construction of the church started in September 1956, with funds from the Garfield Avenue Church, Indianapolis, Indiana. The first minister, Jerry Loutzenhiser, moved to Dubuque from a church in Compton, California, which paid his salary. At the time of its dedication, the church had a congregation of fifteen members. The 1987 Dubuque City Directory listed 1715 Dodge as the address. Located at U. S. 20 and Grandview Avenue, the red-painted building was sold to the Iowa Department of Transportation to allow the widening of the highway. (6)

On May 22, 1994 construction began at 683 Duggan Drive on a new church for the congregation. Plans called for a worship area on the second floor using the same pews and communion table from the last church and a lower-level for classrooms and fellowship. The congregation also owned a "preacher's house" at 3550 Keymont Drive. (7)



1. Jerde, Lyn. "Church of Christ to Celebrate Early Ties," Telegraph Herald, September 15, 1997, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970915&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. Ibid.

3. Jerde, Lyn. "Woman Explores Church's Roots," Telegraph Herald, June 18, 1994, p. 3A

4. "The Christian Church of Dubuque," Dubuque Herald, April 29, 1877, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18770429&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

5. Ibid.

6. Jerde, Lyn. "Church Digs Into Future," Telegraph Herald, May 22, 1994, p. 3

7. Ibid.