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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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CHURCH OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY. One of the oldest churches located in Iowa. Standing at the northeast corner of Eighth and White, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity began with the donation of a lot owned by Senas Huegle and his wife Scholastma to Mathias LORAS for the use and benefit of the German Roman Catholics. The estimated forty German families then in Dubuque found it difficult to mix with the French and Irish who dominated Dubuque in 1849.

Plans for a church were drawn by H. V. Guildea, a friend of Loras. The building was constructed of stone with a basement and first floor. It had a shingle roof with a twenty-foot tower in front. Soon a parochial school was organized in the basement. Regular school classes were also offered. German was spoken in the morning, and afternoon classes were conducted in English.

When the parish grew to more than three hundred families a larger church, ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, was constructed.

The Sisters of St. Francis from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, continued to use the old rock church as a school and convent for another three years. The stone building was abandoned when St. Mary's grade school and the Sisters' home were completed in 1870.

In 1871 Senas Huegle died leaving his property to Clement SMYTH, the Bishop of Dubuque, to use as an orphanage. Work on establishing the orphanage was blocked for several years as relatives of Huegle attempted unsuccessfully to block the terms of the will in the Iowa Supreme Court. It was not until 1878 that Bishop John HENNESSY was able to invite the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Family to come to Dubuque from Iowa City to establish the orphanage. The pastor of St. Mary's opened the empty stone church to the Sisters for temporary shelter, and the space was partitioned into living areas. The Sisters remained there until spring. When the Sisters took over the teaching duties at St. Mary's school, Mother Mary Xavier and three postulants remained in the stone church that became the order's motherhouse.

In October 1879, a home was purchased for ST. MARY'S ORPHAN HOME and the Sisters with twelve orphans left the stone church. The building remained empty until 1883 when it was rented to the DUBUQUE MATTRESS COMPANY by Bishop Hennessy. In 1888 the property was sold to John P. Schroeder.

The land changed ownership several times until it was sold to the FARLEY AND LOETSCHER MANUFACTURING COMPANY that used it for the storage of lumber from 1937 to 1962 when it was owned by CARADCO. In November 1962 the building was demolished.



"After Years of Emptiness, Old Church Demolished," Telegraph Herald, November 11, 1962, p. 23