The buildings of the former St. Mary’s Parish Complex, now Steeple Square, in Dubuque, Iowa display the proud history of a Roman Catholic parish whose history spans over 160 years.
The St. Mary’s Parish closed its doors in June of 2010. Over the last 8 years, the restoration of the church into an events and educational center has catalyzed the redevelopment of other former parish into new uses.
Built as St. Mary’s Catholic Church between 1864 and 1867, the church building quickly became a monument for the economic, social and educational achievements of its German immigrant parishioners. Today, this soaring landmark of the Dubuque skyline is a center for culture, community and education.
A Dubuque icon since 1867, the former home of St. Mary’s Parish is once again a hub for personal growth, celebration, and community empowerment. Steeple Square is restoring economic prosperity, environmental integrity and social and cultural vibrancy to the downtown community.
Renovations of the former church began in 2016, with steeple restoration which was completed in early 2019. All of the stained glass windows and their intricate gothic tracery wood frames have been restored through an innovative historic preservation trades training program that was developed by Steeple Square.
The former church is now Dubuque’s most unique event space, the Steeple Square Community Event Center, hosting a wide-range of events. In 2021, the basement of the former church was renovated into an educational center that features a full culinary teaching kitchen that is the location of a culinary arts educational program and cooking classes for people in the community. Additional classroom space in the basement is available for other vocational training programs and community uses.
The former school is now the Francis Apartments, permanent supportive and market-rate housing. The former rectory is now the Marita Theisen Childcare Center, an affordable childcare center that serves the downtown neighborhoods.