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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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SAINT RAPHAEL'S SEMINARY. The first college building constructed in the future state of Iowa, Saint Raphael's Seminary was the original home of what became LORAS COLLEGE. The ground, Lot 63, on the original plat of the city was donated by Patrick J. QUIGLEY. The architect and builder was Rev. Samuel MAZZUCHELLI. Construction of the building began soon after the arrival of Bishop Mathias LORAS on April 19, 1839.

The brick and stone building measured 40 x 50 feet. It had a large basement that was used as a kitchen and dining room. There were two more stories and a garret. Although used as a home for Loras, the primary purpose of the building was to house the seminary and diocesan college. Financial backing for the construction came from Europe. A letter thanking the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Lyon, France for $10,500 was written by Loras in 1839. Another letter in 1839 thanked the Leopoldine Mission Society of Vienna for $2,883. The Most Reverend Joseph Cretin was the college's first president.

The seminary continued to serve the church until 1850. In that year, the college was moved south of Dubuque and became MOUNT ST. BERNARD SEMINARY. After 1866 the Right Reverend John HENNESSY moved the college to his own residence. The college was moved to West 14th Street in 1873.

The seminary stood just south of the cathedral. It was demolished in 1904 when the parish school building was constructed.



"First College in Iowa Here," Telegraph Herald, May 14, 1939, p. 5. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=UelBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FaoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3871,3690824&dq=st+raphael+seminary+dubuque&hl=en

Schuster, Judy Burns,"Loras Has 125th Anniversary," Telegraph Herald, May 7, 1964, p. 29. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=VHZFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=nbwMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4846,1148982&dq=st+raphael+seminary+dubuque&hl=en