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.