St. Joseph’s Chapel at Loras College
Located at the Intersection of Loras Blvd and Walnut St
Northwest view of St. Joseph’s Chapel. date unknown. (Photo Credit: Loras College Center for Dubuque History)
Architect, Guido Beck’s next major design in Dubuque came in 1909 when he was granted the contract for building St. Joseph College’s (Loras College) chapel and auditorium. He designed the structure in the Romanesque Revival style of architecture. Upon entering the building, a stairway leads to the chapel on the upper level while another stairway leads to the auditorium directly below the chapel. The stage in the auditorium was equipped with “the latest in lighting and scenic devices” and features a turntable for set changes. Upon completion of the building, a new Dramatics Club was formed and the first production took place on Thanksgiving in 1910 with the performance of “My Friend From India.” The Dramatics Club was the forerunner to the Loras Players, the oldest continually running theater group west of the Mississippi River.
The chapel consists of seven altars of Carrara marble, a pipe organ, and beautiful stained glass windows. The chapel has a seating capacity of 520 with the choir and gallery while the auditorium has a capacity of more than one thousand. In 1979-80, the chapel was remodeled and rededicated to St. Joseph on March 19, 1980. The chapel and auditorium are connected to an academic building now known as Hoffmann Hall.
Inside St. Joseph’s Chapel (2015)
Inside St. Joseph’s Chapel (2015)
St. Columbkille Catholic Church
Built 1904 – 1905
Located at 1240 Rush Street
Four years after the completion of the St. Anthony Church, the Archdiocese of Dubuque again commissioned Dubuque architect, Guido Beck to design his second church in Dubuque for the parish of St. Columbkille. The St. Columbkille Church was built between 1904 and 1905 in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. Prior to the establishment of the parish, Bishop Hennessy invited four Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to open the West Hill School in 1879, which was shortly after named St. Vincent. In 1887, Bishop Hennessy established the new parish under the holy patronage of St. Columbkille to accommodate the growing population and those living on the West Hill. Unlike the St. Anthony parish which consisted primarily of German parishioners in the “West Dubuque” area, the St. Columbkille parishioners were primarily Irish in an area known as “Little Dublin” and “West Hill.”
St. Columbkille Catholic Church circa 1910. (Photo Courtesy: St. Columbkille Church, Alice Noethe, and Sue Schmitt; Encyclopedia Dubuque)
Father John Fogarty was the initial pastor and soon ordered the construction of a small frame church that lasted 17 years. A June 20, 1904 Telegraph-Herald article mentioned that the original church was not an “admirable example of church architecture, nevertheless the simple little structure was satisfactory to Father Fogarty and his parishioners.” In 1903, Archbishop Keane hired Beck to design a new church to again accommodate the growth of the parish. Beck’s design called for towering vaulted ceilings and colorful stained glass windows within the Gothic structure.
The cornerstone for the new church was laid in place on June 19, 1904. Bishop Patrick O’Donnell, of Raphoe, Ireland, and good friend of Archbishop Keane, donated the stone as a gift to the parish. Bishop O’Donnell was of the same lineage as St. Columbkille and, according to Archbishop Keane, “always takes much pride in having the honor to show his reverence for the memory of St. Columbkille.” The 2,200 pound sandstone cornerstone was taken from the St. Charles quarry in Ireland. The Telegraph-Herald noted that “the laying of the cornerstone of the magnificent new St. Columbkill’s church on West Hill this afternoon will undoubtedly attract the largest concourse of Catholics that ever attended any similar event in the history of the city.” A procession of the Catholic societies in town began at Fourth and Main Streets and marched towards the Archbishop’s house to escort him up the hill to St. Columbkille.
Photo from St. Columbkille Church calendar. Date unknown. (Photo Courtesy: St. Columbkille Church, Alice Noethe, and Sue Schmitt; Encyclopedia Dubuque)
On the occasion of the June 19 cornerstone dedication, a Telegraph-Herald article gave a detailed description of the design, construction, and interior layout: “The basement and foundation walls are built up with Dubuque quarry stone. The whole structure above the basement will be built with Dubuque brick. All the cut stone trimmings will be of Bedford, Indiana, limestone and the cornices and gable moldings, etc., of galvanized iron. Mr. Tom Byrne and Ed McClain are the general contractors of the whole building. Both gentlemen are members of St. Columbkille’s parish. The Klauer Mfg. Co. will furnish all the metal work. The cut stone work will be done by Doran and Wagner.
Inside St. Columbkille Church (2015)
The principal dimensions of the new church are as follows: The main body of the church is 108 feet long by 60 feet wide. The total length, including sanctuary and tower projection, is 141 feet. The tower is 17×17 feet square and 150 feet high from the top of the water table to the top of the (cross) spire. The seating capacity of the auditorium is 700 to 750. The sanctuary is 29 feet wide and 25 feet deep. To both sides of the sanctuary are quite roomy sacristies.
A passageway behind the high altar connects these sacristies. Besides the two sacristies there is on the left side of the sanctuary a chapel for the sisters. The wall between the sanctuary and the sisters’ chapel contains a large, overarched opening. This opening will be decorated with artistic gothic ornamental work and art stained glass. Three large double doors form the main entrances to the auditory, leading through the vestibule. From one vestibule one little room is cut off for an office. A gallery for the organ and choir is most beautifully arranged. The rows of graceful columns carry the roof and the Gothic arch system. The main nave and sanctuary are 40 feet high in the clear and the side naves are 27 feet. The basement under the whole building is 14 feet high in the clear, and is divided into a meeting hall and winter chapel. Between said hall and chapel.”
Detail of the wall between the sanctuary and the sisters’ chapel. (2015)
The structure was estimated to cost $30,000 exclusive of furnishings and interior decorations. The same article mentioned that the new church will “represent the growth of Catholicity on West’s Hill and will be an admirable testimonial to the untiring efforts of an energetic pastor for the propagation of the faith.” Unfortunately, the steeple met the same fate as that of St. Anthony’s church and was never built.
Drawing of the proposed St. Columbkille Church with Steeple. (Photo Credit: Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, June 20, 1904; P. 7)
The beautiful stained glass windows are from the Ford Brothers Glass Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ford Brothers were known for incorporating opalescent glass into Munich style windows. “The frescoes on the church ceiling were painted in the 1920s by Bernard Hillig, a graduate of the Fine Arts Academy of Copenhagen. The Stations of the Cross, hand-painted murals on Zinc, were imported from Germany. A Wangerin Wickhardt pipe organ was installed in 1922.” – From Dubuque Encyclopedia. Koch, Kevin. “Saint Columbkille Catholic Church,” Strasbourg, France, Editions du Signe, 2011, p. 20.
St. Anthony Catholic Church
Located at the corner of Rosedale and St. Ambrose Streets
Stained Glass inside of St. Anthony’s (2016)
Dubuque architect, Guido Beck designed St. Anthony Church in 1900 in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. The St. Anthony Parish was formed in 1868 and underwent a number of name changes. The parish was initially known as St. Malachi and subsequently changed to St. Aidan, St. Ambrose, and finally St. Anthony. The first parish building was a school, also serving as the parish church until the construction of an addition in 1881 for worship space. The present church was built during Father O’Malley’s pastorate and was dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua in 1900.
The parish was located in an area known as “West Dubuque” at the time of construction and primarily served German immigrant families. An April 15, 1900, Des Moines Register article noted the lowest bidders for construction and the total cost: “Brick work, Joseph Skemp & Son; cut stone work, Schulte & Son; carpentry, lumber and mill work, iron and hardware, Klauer Manufacturing company; plastering, Th. M. Cosgrove, Rev. Father P. O’Malley, pastor, G. Beck, architect. Cost, $14,000.” Beck’s initial rendering called for a tall, decorative steeple on the northwest corner of the building. However, the steeple was never built likely due to lack of funds. In 1904, Beck designed a similar steeple for Holy Angels Church in Roselle, Iowa, providing an example of what the St. Anthony’s steeple would have looked like if it had been completed.
Mural of St. Anthony (2016)
Inside of St. Anthony’s (2016)
The interior of St. Anthony’s is beautifully decorated with stained glass windows from the Chicago stained glass company of Flanagan and Biedenweg. The windows tell the story of the life of Christ. In the 1930s, Fr. O’Malley contracted with two artists from Italy to complete a series of paintings that are symbolic representations of the four cardinal virtues: Justice, Temperance, Fortitude, and Prudence.
Original design for St. Anthony’s (circa 1900)
Guido Beck (1853 – 1936), was a Dubuque architect who specialized in the architecture of churches and schools. Beck was born on January 25, 1853, in Hohenzollern, Germany where he received his early education and later studied architecture at Stuttgart and the University of Heidelberg. As a young architect, he was awarded the position of superintendent and was given one of his first building commissions by the German government to construct an asylum at Schussenried, Germany. Beck completed the asylum in 1882, and then, against the wishes and advice of all his friends, left his native country and immigrated to the United States. He thought his chances for success were infinitely greater and the field for work much broader in the U.S.
Portrait of Guido Beck
Upon his arrival to the United States, Beck traveled to Rock Island, Illinois and worked as a stone-cutter in the government arsenal. There he familiarized himself with the language and customs, thoroughly mastering the American style of architecture. With the knowledge he already possessed, Beck quickly became one of the foremost architects in the State of Iowa. In 1885 he came to Dubuque and partnered first with fellow German émigré architect Fridolin Heer. After a few years, he left the partnership to develop his own architecture practice. With the booming Catholic population, Beck specialized in church architecture. He designed over 100 church buildings throughout the region, one as far away as Bozeman, Montana. Beck-designed churches are found throughout the State of Iowa. His preferred architectural style was the Gothic Revival style, with its pointed arches and soaring steeples.
Among the notable Dubuque buildings, Beck designed St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, St. Columbkille Catholic Church, St. Joseph Chapel at Loras College, Holy Ghost Church, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the mortuary chapel at St. Raphael Cathedral. Beck also designed many parochial schools and residences including the St. Raphael School on Bluff Street, recently converted into apartments. Beck also designed the following churches in the surrounding area: St. Clement Church in Bankston, St. Joseph Church in Bellevue, St. Martin Church (now St. Matthias Church) in Cascade, and St. Joseph Church in Rickardsville.
Willoughby Edbrooke (1843 – 1896), was born on September 3, 1843, in Deerfield, Illinois. Edbrooke’s father was an English-born contractor and builder and raised Willoughby in the architectural profession until he reached an age to study under the most advanced masters in Chicago. He studied for several years under the best architects in the city and was recognized for a thorough mastery of his profession. He was Commissioner of Buildings in Chicago and subsequently served as Supervising Architect for Chicago. He supervised and designed the U.S. Government Buildings erected at the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. Edbrooke’s other notable designs include: The Milwaukee Federal Building; the Old Post Office Building in Washington DC; the Federal Courthouse and Post Office in St. Paul, Minnesota; several buildings on the University of Notre Dame’s campus in South Bend, IN, including the iconic gold-domed Main Administrative Building; and the State Capitol Building in Atlanta, GA.
Edbrooke’s design of the Grand Opera House is a very early example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style in Dubuque. The Grand Opera House was built between 1889 and 1890 and is located at the corner of 8th and Iowa Streets in Dubuque. The Grand Opera House is architecturally important as an early Richardsonian Romanesque building and perhaps one of the best designs of Edbrooke’s work.
Interior of the Grand Opera House (Kinseth Hospitality Companies)
Portrait of Willoughby Edbrooke (Hickey Family History, Schlereth, Portrait of Its History, p. 59)
The Grand’s distinctive heavy rounded arches at its base and its red sandstone and brick for construction are hallmarks of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. According to the National Register nomination, the façade overlays the classical base, column and capital in its fenestration pattern, all applied to a broad, shallow gabled pavilion basic form. Twin armory towers with steeply pitched pyramid roofs and finials define the sides of the pavilion. The brickwork and stone foundation are purposely unified by means of a smooth finish and blended narrow mortar joints. The features of the façade are not carried over to either side walls. The building stands five stories in height and measures 70×128. The opera house interior has been repeatedly remodeled over time, including the removal of the second balcony. However much of the original theater interior survives. The lobby stairways retain their Queen Anne trim work and remain in their original locations. The exterior was modified over the years as well, including covering the façade in the mid-1950s with enameled metal siding.
Drawing of the Grand Opera House (Grand Opera House Website)
At the time of its construction, the Grand Opera House was the largest theater to be built in Dubuque. The theatre had a 1,100 seat auditorium including two balconies, eight boxes and stalls and a proscenium large enough to host major theatrical productions. A July 23, 1890 Herald article noted that the new theatre, “is by far the finest and largest edifice of its character ever erected in the city, and it is not excelled in the state.” The Grand had a long time direct association with the “legitimate theater” in Dubuque between 1890 and 1928. The theater allowed for the staging of exceptionally large scale and high quality shows. Dubuque was in a fortunate position to establish and offer the legitimate theater and was the only city of its size to be so favored, with the best traveling companies visiting Dubuque as a Midwest railroad hub. The Grand Opera House is the only surviving example of Edbrooke’s theatre designs.
In 1998, The Grand launched a campaign to renovate and restore the building to the look and style of the 1890s original design. All of the 1950s metal siding was removed, exposing the impressive, monumental original façade. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. The building has a high level of historic integrity and was restored to host live stage entertainment once again.