Thursday, December 1, 2016

St. Luke's Methodist Church in Dubuque

In Dubuque, we visited St. Luke's Methodist Church, known for its Tiffany windows. This building was built 1895-1897, and with the windows and altar furniture included, cost over $100,000 to construct.
The church features Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and is built from Indiana Bedford limestone.  Each stone is hand-cut, and some have embedded fossils.

The tower contains an 11-bell chime, which can play in the keys of G, D, and A.  The bells have a combined weight of about 15,000 lbs.  They were dedicated in 1913.

This church has the fifth largest collection of Tiffany windows in the United States.  The windows were created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York.
A ten-minute video presentation gave us some of the church's history and explained the difference between regular stained glass and Tiffany by comparing the two windows above, in the sanctuary.

The one on the left depicting the Good Samaritan is Tiffany.  The glass is infused with color.  Only the details of faces are painted on.  It also has an uneven thickness.  The window on the right is regular, painted stained glass.

Many of the windows were recently releaded, which means every little piece was taken apart and leaded back together.  You can see it was quite the undertaking if you note how many pieces these windows are composed of!
The Angel Among the Lilies is over the altar.  Its inscription reads, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."  It was given by the Richardson family in memory of their daughter, Harriet, who died at age 18.  It is said that the angel's face resembles Harriet.  Some consider the resemblance remarkable, as Tiffany supposedly had never seen a photo of the young lady.

The beautiful Farrand and Votey organ at the front of the church has 2,200 pipes, and required two train cars to transport it to Dubuque in 1897.  It originally cost $7,500.  In 1992 it was restored for about $140,000.
The inscription above at the front of the church reads, "He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."

Relying on my imperfect memory, the church was originally built to seat 2000 people.  The sliding doors below could be removed for more seating area on the other side of the church.  Since the current sanctuary provides ample room for present-day seating needs, the other part of the church is now used for offices and classrooms.  
Each of the upper row windows on the doors contains a symbol of the early church.  First is the Greek letter Alpha, and last, Omega.  These stand for Christ: the first and last, beginning and end.  A lamp and open book stand for the Bible.  The other four windows are intended to symbolize the four gospels.

The church traces its history back to 1833, when circuit-riding Methodist preacher Barton Randal crossed the Mississippi and preached the first Protestant sermon in Iowa at the Bell Tavern.  In 1834, the Methodists proceeded to build the first church of any denomination in Iowa--a log cabin 20x36 feet.  This building was open for use by other denominations.  It also served as a schoolhouse and the first courthouse in Iowa.

Subsequent churches were built in 1839 and 1853.  The third church was rebuilt in 1868.  The present church is called St. Luke's, partially in memory of Dr. George M. Staples, chairman of the building committee, who died before the church was completed.  He was a prominent physician in Dubuque, so it was decided to name the church after St. Luke in tribute to the "beloved physician."
The Job Window, above the balcony, is perhaps my favorite in this church.  At 18x15 feet, it is the largest window.  It depicts the unknown author of the Book of Job holding a pen and book, with Palestine and the Dead Sea in the background.

This window is in memory of Jesse Farley, who joined the original log cabin church in 1835, and "gave over 50 years of loyal and dedicated service to the Methodist church."
The window above left, "David Set Singers Before the Lord," is the last window that was installed in the church.  Appropriately, it stands behind the area for the choir and musicians.  This window bears Tiffany's signature.

The window above right depicts the baptism of Christ.  Below is Christ and the children.
The Good Shepherd, below left, was displayed by the Tiffany Company in 1893 at the Columbian Exposition as its finest glass production.  Center is the Ascension of Christ, and right, the Angel of Victory.
I very much enjoyed my visit to St. Luke's Methodist church.  The windows are lovely, and the organ is impressive.  I suppose my only regret is not being able to hear the organ played.

If you ever visit the Dubuque area, be sure to take a few moments to visit and admire the beauty of this church.

Linking with:
Which of these windows is your favorite?
What is the most architecturally beautiful church you've visited?

29 comments:

  1. Bethany, I absolutely love the architecture and perspective in your photos, and I have always loved stained glass! Gorgeous!

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  2. "The one on the left depicting the Good Samaritan is Tiffany. The glass is infused with color. Only the details of faces are painted on. It also has an uneven thickness. The window on the right is regular, painted stained glass."

    That is pretty cool. I like them both.

    Restored for 140,000 Oh my gosh. And here I am adding my fresh produce from Aldi that I got just tonight. If I saw that price tag of $140,000.00 I would croak. Literally, me croaked out. Right there on the floor.

    Not sure my top pick by looking, but I love the idea of infused glass.

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    1. I'm sure your fresh produce seems less expensive now! :D

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  3. OHMYGOSH...what a place. Those windows! Spectacular. It is almost impossible to choose a favourite but 'The Good Shepherd' really speaks to me. Takes me back to my childhood when my mom would share stories to us about Jesus and his love for children. It warms my heart every time I think about that.

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    1. Actually, I meant to say Jesus and the children! Although The Good Shepherd comes close :)

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    2. Sounds like you have good memories. Those two are beautiful ones.

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  4. Oh, WOW!! Of the old, beautiful churches we have visited, I think my favorite is the ones in St. Augustine. Oh, my, you just wouldn't believe how amazing they are. There is one that houses the tomb of Flagler's daughter and her infant. It has always held such interest for me. Of the stained glass windows here, I think the first one with the angel is my favorite...but, they are all so beautiful! Thank you for sharing another interesting post, Bethany! God bless you!

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    1. Sounds like an interesting place to visit. Blessings to you as well, Cheryl!

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  5. I can only imagine how breathtaking it is to actually be in a church like that. So much history...it would be very humbling.

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  6. Wow.. What gorgeous windows! Stained glass just completely speaks to my soul and they're all amazing! You can definitely tell that different "glow" with the tiffany ones. And the story about the daughter and Tiffany co. not knowing her and it resembled her anyway gave me absolute goosebumps!

    Thanks so much for sharing Bethany! These visits always fascinate me. ;)
    xoxo

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  7. After scrolling up and down a number of times to try to decide which window is my favorite I am torn between Jesus and the Children and The Good Shepherd. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience of touring this beautiful church, Bethany. I would love to hear the pipe organ, too. My favorite church structure is the Church of the Redeemer in Houston, TX, which has a wonderful mural over the alter...but I remember it as my favorite due to the special time of worship I experienced there as much as for its grand but intimate structure. The church has a website so you can see the mural if you are interested. xx

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    1. I stopped by the website. Thanks for telling me about it!

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  8. Wow, Bethany, what an amazing church. The architecture is uniquely historical and so aesthetically pleasing, in my opinion. I love the preserved historic feel of the interior. Enjoyed very much getting to see this beautiful place and hearing the history you shared about it.
    It is a hard choice, but I think my favorite of all of the windows would be "The Good Shepherd" at the end of your post, especially for its subject matter and composition, as well as the rich foliage portrayed.

    I think the most beautiful churches I've visited were in St. Louis, but the absolute most amazing there that I saw was Cathedral Basilica. Although I read much of your trip series, I did not get the chance to read all of them to see if you visited while you were in St. Louis, but if so you will know what I'm talking about. And if you haven't visited it, I highly recommend it for the architectural feats and mosaic ceiling.

    Have a wonderful Sunday, Bethany!
    Blessings!
    Jazzmin

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    1. The Cathedral Basilica was on my list of places I wanted to see, but with our tournament schedule, we just didn't have enough time. We saw the exterior on our bus tour, but that was it. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the recommendation. I will have to try harder to visit if I'm ever in St. Louis again!

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  9. oh!
    those windows are so. beautiful.
    they really remind me of all the cathedrals i visited while touring europe..
    so intricate and elaborate!
    it's amazing how much effort was invested into building beautiful architecture for worship!

    thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oh, I do remember your series of posts on Europe. That must have been quite the experience!

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  10. Bethany, Churches are one of my favorite places for photography. I almost always love the stained glass windows. The ones here are wonderful. Just for fun I took the construction cost, $100000. and plugged it into the inflation calculator at http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi/ Here is what came back: "What cost $100000. in 1895 would cost $2871961.46 in 2015." (The calculator only works through 2015) How about that! I really enjoy your reports on these historic buildings. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It's amazing how much money used to be worth (and how little it is worth now)!

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  11. Piękne witraże i Twoja fotogaleria.
    Pozdrawiam 😊

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  12. A great post. Your description of the church and its features is remarkable. It is a very nice temple and worthy to be visited when being at Dubuque sometime. All the windows are gorgeous. I like the Good Sheperd one. I'm lucky to have visited the Colonia Cathedral (Kölner Dom), which is from gothic architecture.

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    1. Kölner Dom looks fantastic from photos. Visiting must have been a really neat experience.

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    2. Yes, it was neat and impressive. I wish you a wonderful Christmas!

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  13. Wow, that's quite the church!
    Random, how do you pronounce "Dubuque"? Do-buh-q? Du-buh-kwe? I'm terrible at pronouncing names. -_-

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    1. Here's a sound clip of how it's pronounced on Youtube: (click here).

      Names are tough for me too. But as long as you can pronounce Des Moines, you should get along ok here in Iowa. :)

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