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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS (Mormon). The first record of the Mormon Church in Dubuque dates from 1834:

             On the first of October, 1834. Joseph Smith, who was then in the zenith of 
             his glory and power at Nauvoo, dispatched one of the Elders of his church 
             to discourse to the benighted inhabitants of the Dubuque mines. His arrival 
             in town was soon noised about, and it was said at the same time that the 
             Methodists had the key to the church and would not permit him to preach in 
             it. This created some excitement when a crowd of young men started with the 
             Mormon to the church. It was dark, but a number of persons had already 
             collected around the door which was locked. One man forced his way through 
             the crowd, stuck his bowie knife in the door, and said, "I helped to build 
             this church, and I'll be damned if it shan't be free to all denominations." 
             Just then some person came forward and unlocked the door, when the log church 
             was soon filled with attentive listeners to the Mormon's discourse. (1)

Mormon elders James H. Short of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Jay Anderson of Tremonton, Utah, arrived in Dubuque on August 1, 1956, to begin missionary work. Joined by other missionaries later in the month, the elders ministered until February 17, 1957, holding services at the YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.) at Ninth and Iowa STREETS. The elders left the city with no new members. The only known member of the church living in the area was Fred L. Moser, Jr.

Missionary activity in Dubuque was resumed on May 21, 1959, when services were offered at the YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.W.C.A.). The first convert, Georgia Hutchcroft, was baptized on July 5, 1959. Because of Dubuque's high percentage of Catholic residents, Mormon missionaries were encouraged to make first contacts by telephone. One hundred calls were generally required to find one person willing to have a personal meeting with a missionary.

Despite few members, on June 25, 1961, Dubuque was made a dependent branch of the Cedar Rapids Branch of the Pioneer District centered in Freeport, Illinois, in the Northern States Mission. The Dubuque Branch became independent on July 21, 1963. In 1965 church membership stood at thirty-five.

In 1967 the Dubuque Branch was among the first in the world to have the Home Study Seminary Program. The first Home Study Graduation was held three years later in Nauvoo, Illinois.

In 1969 the Judson House, an annex to the Baptist Church, was rented for meetings held during the week. Meetings held in the Y.W.C.A. were later held at the SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH on Mineral Street beginning June 7,1970. Fund raising activities were increased at this time with the goal of purchasing a site for a chapel. Three and one-half acres were purchased on Fremont Avenue in 1969.

Groundbreaking for the church was held on October 20, 1973. The gold-painted shovels used in the ceremony were later auctioned off with proceeds going to the building fund. On October 8, 1974, the first meetings were held in the new chapel. Dedication ceremonies were held June 22, 1975.

The 1987 through 2014 Dubuque City Directory listed 685 Fremont.



1. Price, Eliphalet. "Dubuque in Early Times," Annals of Iowa, October 1865, XII, Online: http://iagenweb.org/dubuque/history/annals/Oct_1865_3.htm