by Connie Cherba
Steeple Square, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit located in the former St. Mary’s Parish Complex, is poised to celebrate its ten-year anniversary – a decade dedicated to “restoring economic prosperity, environmental integrity, and social and cultural vibrancy to the Dubuque community.” The nonprofit is a center for “personal growth, celebration, and community empowerment” and encompasses a city block that houses the Steeple Square Community Event Center, Marita Theisen Childcare Center, Maria House, and Francis Apartments.
The historic campus of Steeple Square is well-known to Dubuque residents as the former St. Mary’s Parish Complex, a Roman Catholic parish centered around St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 15th and White Streets. Built between 1864 and 1867, the church, with its soaring steeple, became a religious center for German immigrant parishioners. But by May of 2010, the congregation had dwindled, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church celebrated a final mass and permanently closed its doors. Except for the 1870 convent, the parish buildings stood vacant for three years.
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