Energy Efficiency in Historic Homes

Energy Efficiency in Historic Homes

Living in a historic home is both uniquely challenging and rewarding. The way in which we live today is far different from how people lived when historic homes were initially built. It is a fair assumption that most historic homeowners will want to modernize their homes to conserve energy. Fortunately, there are ways to do so that save money and do not compromise the structure’s character.

Before making any decisions, it is important to assess the home. During this
process, ask the following three questions:

 

  • What gives your home its character?  First, identify the visual aspects of the home. This could be anything frowindows to chimneys to the overall architectural design. Second, examine the exterior details, like the surface quality of materials, for example. Finally, identify the visual character of interior spaces, features and finishes.
  • Does your home have inherent energy efficient features?
    Examples include existing storm windows and doors,
    wide overhanging eaves and shade trees.
  • What is your home’s current energy use? A professional energy audit is recommended, as it will help measure the effectiveness of energy enhancements.

A thorough assessment of every aspect of a home is essential before considering updates.

After a close examination is completed, it is time to begin enhancements. In order to increase the effectiveness of any upgrades that are made, it is important to reduce the use of energy in your home and commit to those habits. Then, seal any gaps in the barriers of the home so that air cannot escape or enter the envelope of the house. Once energy-saving behaviors have been implemented and all barriers leading to the outdoors have been sealed, it is time to make necessary upgrades. These upgrades could include restoring historic window sashes, adding or replacing storm windows and doors, replacing the boiler or furnace, or adding solar or geothermal power to the home. Replacing material such as historic windows and doors is likely the least cost-effective method of upgrading an older home’s energy efficiency and should be done only as a last resort.

 

The graphic above illustrates the many ways that air can enter or escape a home.
Source: nps.gov

It is possible to modernize and increase the comfort, livability and energy-efficiency of a home without damaging what makes it unique. For a more in-depth explanation of energy efficiency in historic homes, read our brochure.

For more information on historic preservation, call us at 563-564-4080 or email us at info@heritageworksdbq.com.

Guido Beck’s Holy Ghost Catholic Church

Guido Beck’s Holy Ghost Catholic Church

Holy Ghost Catholic Church

Built: 1915

Located: 2921 Central Ave

The Holy Ghost Catholic Church was one of the last major Dubuque church designs by architect, Guido Beck. Beck designed this church in the Italian Renaissance style of architecture in 1915, reflecting a change in church design style. Beck’s design for Holy Ghost, St. Joseph Chapel at Loras College, and St. Philomena Catholic Church in Asbury (1920) illustrate the waning popularity of the Gothic Revival style for church architecture in the first couple decades of the 1900s, in favor of Romanesque and Italian Renaissance styles.

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Rendering of Holy Ghost by Guido Beck (photo credit: Archdiocese of Dubuque)

The Holy Ghost parish was formed in 1896 in response to rapid population growth in the northern parts of Dubuque and the Sacred Heart parish. The Sacred Heart parish was established in 1879 to meet the demands of the German immigrant population that St. Mary’s could no longer accommodate. With the continued influx of German immigrants to the area, Archbishop Hennessy created Holy Ghost parish at the 2900th block on Central Avenue. Initially, a combination church and school structure was built with the anticipation of increased growth in the student population. The building also contained living space for the Sisters who taught at the school. As the parish continued to grow there was need for additional space. Guido Beck was again commissioned by the archdiocese to design a new church. At just over $10,000, Beck designed the church in the Italian Renaissance style of architecture and in the form of a cross.

Joseph Walter, renowned artist of Midwest church interiors, painted the murals and art works for the interior. Walter was originally from Tyrol, Austria and settled in Dubuque in 1898. He would go on to decorate 185 churches across the Midwest. Unfortunately, most of Walter’s murals have been removed or painted over. The mural of Jesus on the ceiling of the transept is the only remaining artwork of Walter’s in Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost church, school, rectory, and convent are now listed together as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Inside of Holy Ghost. circa 1950’s (photo credit: Tom Welu)

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Inside of Holy Ghost (2016)

Guido Beck’s St. Joseph’s Chapel at Loras College

Guido Beck’s St. Joseph’s Chapel at Loras College

St. Joseph’s Chapel at Loras College

Built 1909

Located at the Intersection of Loras Blvd and Walnut St

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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.

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Inside St. Joseph’s Chapel (2015)

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Inside St. Joseph’s Chapel (2015)

Guido Beck’s St. Columbkille Catholic Church

Guido Beck’s St. Columbkille Catholic Church

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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 Screen that separated the Sanctuary and where the Nuns sat. (2015)

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.

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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.

Guido Beck’s St. Anthony Catholic Church

Guido Beck’s St. Anthony Catholic Church

St. Anthony Catholic Church

Built 1900

Located at the corner of Rosedale and St. Ambrose Streets

Stained Glass inside St. Anthony's (circa 2016)

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 (circa 2016)

Mural of St. Anthony (2016)

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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)

Original design for St. Anthony’s (circa 1900)