The Oldest Church In Iowa Dates Back To The 1800s
The oldest church in Iowa sits in the oldest city in the state. Dubuque is a city full of historic buildings that date back to the early 1800s. But the oldest church can trace its origins back to the same year that the city itself was founded!
St. Raphael's Cathedral sits at 231 Bluff Street in Dubuque. The parish can trace its origins all the way back to 1833, the same year the city of Dubuque was organized. Settlers began holding mass in people's homes in the area, and soon a church was planned. Work finally began in 1834 on a small log cabin that was set aside for worship. According to Wikipedia, Father Mazzuchelli arrived in Dubuque in 1835 and dedicated the church to the Archangel Raphael. In 1837 Pope Gregory XVI created the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The current building began construction in 1857 and was constructed in the Gothic Revival style.
Wikipedia reports that the construction of the cathedral was completed in 1861. The tower wasn't finished until 1876. The chapel in the back of the cathedral was finished in 1882. In 1886, frescoes in the church were completed by Luigi Gregori, a professor at Notre Dame who had done work at the Vatican, according to Wikipedia. Renovations to the church and cathedral were done in both 1914 and 1936.
St. Raphael's Cathedral underwent more renovations in 1986 and 2020. Some of that work is just now being completed. The cathedral has truly stood the test of time. You can take Mass at St. Raphael's on Saturday at 4 p.m. and on Sunday at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. There is even a Spanish-speaking Mass on Sundays at 11 a.m. If you are unable to attend this historic church in Dubuque in person, you can also live stream a service HERE.