Monday, August 25, 2008

Road Trip to St. Louis

Part 2: Dubuque

Day two of our road trip to St Louis saw Kathleen, Joey, and I in Dubuque, Iowa.

I was quite impressed by the picturesque river town of Dubuque, and both Kathleen and I agree that it’s a place we’d like to revisit and explore further.

Above: The very European-looking Dubuque County Courthouse – Friday, August 15, 2008.

Above: The Fenelon Place Elevator – the “world’s steepest, shortest scenic railway.”

Close to 300 ft. in length, the elevator/railway transports passengers 189 ft. from Dubuque’s 4th St. to Fenelon Place with magnificent views of downtown Dubuque and the Mississippi River resulting – as the opening image attests.

Above: Some of the quaint specialty shops in Dubuque. Of particular interest to us was a store specializing in Irish (and some Australian!) products called Shamrock Imports, and operated by the hospitable Maureen Corcoran Siegert and her husband, Ken; and the nearby Blue Cat Secondhand Book Store, where I found a copy of Doris Lessings 1973 novel, The Summer Before the Dark, a book that’s been described as “an adult odyssey into the perils of freedom”!

Above and below: The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Raphael.

During our visit to the cathedral we met and conversed with Director of Music and Liturgy, Jim Mendralla, who kindly shared with us some of the history and features of St. Raphael’s.

Above: The Archangel Raphael.

I took a number of photos of this particular window for my good friend,
Raphael McGowan!

Above and below: The Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary.

As at the Cathedral of St. Raphael, we encountered hospitable parish staff members at St. Mary’s who shared with us interesting facts and anecdotes about the church's history.

For instance, the parish of St. Mary was founded in 1849 when forty German families in Dubuque petitioned Bishop Mathias Loras for permission to form a new congregation and build a church. The resulting church was the first German Catholic church to be built in Dubuque and the second Catholic church (after the Cathedral of St. Raphael).

As the number of German families in Dubuque increased, a second (and present) church was built on a former fruit orchard, seven blocks north from the original church.

John Mullany, the architect for this new church, had designed the Cathedral of St. Raphael. His original sketches depict a church modeled after the famous Cathedral of Salisbury in England, which in turn had been heavily influenced by French architectural influences following the Norman conquest of England.

As you can see from these images, the final result of Mullany’s design is quite breathtaking. True, it’s a little too opulent for my taste, but I can certainly appreciate the dedication that went into the church’s construction and the ornate beauty that resulted.

About the building of the church, a brochure at St. Mary’s notes the following: “Parishioners themselves, including men and boys who had labored throughout the day in factory, shop, or office, did much of the excavation and construction. . . . The new church was called St. Mary [the first church had been called Holy Trinity] and was placed under the patronage of Our Lady’s Assumption [August 15 – the day we visited the church!] and was blessed by Bishop John Hennessy on February 10, 1867.”

Above and below: Eagle Point Park, Dubuque – Friday, August 15, 2008.

Established in 1908 and described as “one of the most outstanding parks in the Midwest,” Eagle Point Park’s 164 acres overlook the Mississippi River, providing a “spectacular tri-state view of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.”

The Terrance Room (above), along with other park buildings, was built in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression. The rock garden and fish pond (below) were also built as part of the WPA project, and are made of limestone.

Leaving Dubuque we traveled to the nearby river town of Galena, Illinois (pictured above) – renowned for its historical architecture and its many shops specializing in arts and crafts. In one of these shops I purchased the graceful and colorful figurine at left by artist Jim Shore.

From Galena we traveled to the town of Quincy where we spent the night.

The next day, Saturday, August 16, we backtracked to the town of Nauvoo, Illinois (pictured above) – established in 1839 by Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and named by him from the traditional Sephardi Hebrew language with an anglicized spelling. Nauvoo means “to be beautiful,” and comes from Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains . . .”

The town is dominated by the Nauvoo Latter-day Saints Temple (below) which is not open to visitors.

Above: Resuming our journey south to St. Louis we saw the above declaration on a Heartland Dairy truck. I wonder what the question was?

Next: Part 3: St. Louis.

See also the previous Road Trip to St. Louis post:
Part 1: Following the Mississippi


kevin57 said...

I wish you could have gotten to New Mellary Trappist Abbey not too far outside Dubuque. The chapel is magnificent in its austerity and the community is a warm and accepting place.

Clayton said...

Agreed. New Mellary Abbey is a great place for retreat.

The Gay Species said...

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Davenport, IA, is the first Catholic church I entered. I hope you have a chance to visit this majestic building on the Mississippi bluff. The views are distinctive. As a Calvinist youngster, I was sure that Catholics at least had good taste, however "whorish" the Babylonian Whore (sm). When it would be a monk who would be my first, well, it was a pretty good sell. Unfortunately, no sale was finalized. I could cite innumerable reasons, but I think my mother's observation that a church that regards marriage so highly could annul the Ted Kennedy marriage after 20 years -- and not to her satisfaction on its terms -- and the "family" was not divinely consummated really stretches the credibility -- until Cardinal Law and the Pedophiles out-shone that outrage.

Michael J. Bayly said...

Dang! We didn't get to either New Mellary Abbey or Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Thanks for all your recommendations.