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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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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 Patrick's Church and School

ST. PATRICK'S CATHOLIC CHURCH. Organized as a mission of ST. RAPHAEL'S CATHEDRAL. The history of Saint Patrick's began in 1852. Constructed at the same time as Saint Raphael's, the total amount allowed for this first frame church was $1,400. Father John McEvoy promoted the idea of being sent to California to collect enough GOLD to pay for the construction, but the idea was rejected by Bishop Mathias LORAS.

Services were first held at St. Patrick's in 1853, two years before its dedication by Bishop Loras. Because it had no pastor, St. Patrick's was originally a mission of the cathedral and not an independent church. Records of marriages, births and deaths were kept in the cathedral. During 1856 and 1857 Father Trevis served as the church's pastor. Construction work on St. Raphael's Cathedral led to the ordination of Father Henry Cosgrove being held at St. Patrick's in 1857.

In 1870, ST. PATRICK'S SCHOOL was constructed by Msgr. Roger Ryan.

In 1876 preparations for a new building began under the direction of Father Ryan, and in April 1877, the cornerstones of the new St. Patrick's Church at 1425 Iowa were laid with Bishop John HENNESSY officiating. The stones, two large granite block from the quarries of Dalkey, had been brought to Dubuque by Rev. Father Burke who visited Ireland between 1873 and 1877. (1) The work progressed slowly with an estimated $2,000 spent on the basement during the year. The estimated cost of the building was $25,000. (2)

The new church, constructed in GOTHIC REVIVAL ARCHITECTURE, was dedicated on August 15, 1878. Stations of the cross were given to the church in December 1891 by Mrs. William A. RYAN. (3) An announcement was made in February, 1892 that a collection would begin to add a steeple to the church. (4) In 1928 the church was remodeled and enlarged at a cost of forty-six thousand dollars.

In 2024 St. Patrick's served as a center for Hispanic ministry. (5)

The 1987 Dubuque City Directory listed 110 W. 15th.



1. "The Services Today," The Herald, November 21, 1886, p. 15

2. "Dubuque," Dubuque Herald, December 2, 1876, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18761202&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, December 9, 1891, p. 4

4. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, February 2, 1892, p. 4

5. Gloss, Megan, "Irish Roots Run Deep," Telegraph Herald, March 17, 2024, p. 8A

Driscoll, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Justin A. With Faith and Vision: Schools of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, 1836-1966, Dubuque: Bureau of Education, Archdiocese of Dubuque, 1967, p. 60