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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Saint Anthony's Church

ST. ANTHONY'S CHURCH. Between 1876 and 1880 the parish was called St. Malachi's. It was renamed St. Aiden's until officially dedicated to St. Ambrose in 1883. The parish was again renamed and became St. Anthony's in 1898.

Archbishop John HENNESSY instructed Father Thomas J. O'Reilly, rector of ST. RAPHAEL'S CATHEDRAL, to construct a school at St. Ambrose and Seminary STREETS in 1866. This building was used by Father Bernard W. Coyle in January 28, 1875, to administer the first Mass in the parish. The school served as the parish church until 1881 when Father Patrick C. Kenny ordered the construction of an addition twice the size of the original school. This section was set aside for worship. Although the parish was then known as St. Aiden's, the church was dedicated as St. Ambrose Church.

Father Kenny obtained enough property for the school, present church and parish residence. Guido BECK designed the present church and Father Peter O'Malley directed the construction in 1900 on the corner of Rosedale and St. Ambrose. Father O'Malley served St. Anthony from 1898 until his death on October 2, 1952. He sold the original property upon which the original church/school had been constructed to the ORDER OF SISTERS OF THE HOLY GHOST. Around 1901 they constructed their Motherhouse/school on the northeast corner of Rosedale Avenue and Ambrose Street.

Until 1876 the instruction at the school was conducted by secular teachers. The SISTERS OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (PBVM) were then appointed to direct the classes.

In 1914 fire destroyed the school building which stood in ruins until 1953. The original school building from 1868 was used again for classes. In September 1917 the classes were conducted by the SISTERS OF CHARITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (BVM). In 1927 construction of a new school building behind the church that faced Rosedale Avenue was begun. This was dedicated in 1928.

Rev. George A. Stemm, the successor of Monsignor O'Malley, recognizing the tremendous population growth in the area acquired property that in 2010 was the parking lot, ball field, and new school. This was also the time when O'Malley Hall in the church basement and the renovation of the rectory occurred.

Under the direction of Monsignor Luby, the successor of Rev. Stemm, more classrooms were added to the school and a convent was constructed. His successor, Monsignor Klassen directed the building of a new school on the north side of Rosedale Avenue. In 1967-1968 the enrollment of St. Anthony was 1,082 students.

The St. Anthony renovation and expansion project was underway by the fall of 1988. Work on the addition started in April 1996 under the direction of Dubuque architect, Steve Ulstad. Re-dedication of the sanctuary took place on December 14, 1996 with Archbishop Jerome G. HANUS presiding.

The 1987 through 2014 Dubuque City Directory listed 1870 St. Ambrose.