St. Mary's Catholic Church (Davenport, Iowa)

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St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church Complex
St. Mary's Catholic Church Davenport, Iowa.jpg
St. Mary's Catholic Church (Davenport, Iowa) is located in Iowa
St. Mary's Catholic Church (Davenport, Iowa)
Location 516, 519, 522, and 525 Fillmore Sts., Davenport, Iowa
Coordinates 41°31′30″N 90°35′39″W / 41.52500°N 90.59417°W / 41.52500; -90.59417Coordinates: 41°31′30″N 90°35′39″W / 41.52500°N 90.59417°W / 41.52500; -90.59417
Area 2.5 acres (1.0 ha)
Built 1867-1868
Architect Victor Hout; Clausen & Burrows
Architectural style Colonial Revival, Romanesque
Governing body Private
MPS Davenport MRA
NRHP Reference # 84001558[1]
Added to NRHP April 5, 1984

Saint Mary's Catholic Church is a parish of the Diocese of Davenport. The church is located in Davenport, Iowa, United States, at the corner of Fillmore and W. 6th Streets. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church Complex. The designation includes the church building and rectory on the west side of Fillmore Street, and the school building operated by the parish and convent are on the east side. A former school building operated by the parish at 1334 W. 8th Street is also on the NRHP and is listed as St. Mary's Academy.


St. Mary's was established as a parish of the Diocese of Dubuque in 1867. The parish served the 150 English speaking Catholic families who lived in the city’s west end because the priest at St. Kunigunda refused to do so. St. Mary’s complex was built two blocks to the west of St. Kunigunda, later renamed St. Joseph.[2] Bishop John Hennessy laid the cornerstone of the church on July 21, 1867. The church property was on the northeastern section of St. Mary's Cemetery which was established by Bishop Mathias Loras in 1849.[3] The property for the cemetery was purchased from Judge C. G. R. Mitchell, who had also donated the land for St. Kunigunda. The church was built of red brick in the Romanesque Revival style, with a rectangular plan, decorative brickwork and a central bell tower.[2] The rectory was built at about the same time next to the church.[4] The rectory is also built of red brick in the Colonial Revival style. The church was built for $25,000 and the parish paid $8,000 to build the rectory.[5]

Rev. J.A.M. Pelamourgues of St. Anthony’s Church downtown Davenport was its first pastor. The first resident pastor was the Rev. Maurice Flavin who came to St. Mary’s on May 10, 1868, and continued to serve the parish until 1871 when he was replaced with his brother, the Rev. Michael Flavin.[6] The parish became a part of the Diocese of Davenport when it was established on May 8, 1881.

In 1883 the church acquired a new pipe organ that was built by the Moline Pipe Organ Co.[7] One of the organist at the church was Célestine Fejérvary. She visited Europe ten years later and while she was in Belgium she acquired a painting, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin for St Mary’s. It was painted by Guido Reni, an 18th century court artist, and is a copy of a painting by Raphael.[7] Both the organ and the painting remain in the church.

In 1898 St. Mary’s helped establish a new parish in the northwest section of Davenport, Holy Family. The Redemptorists started St. Alphonsus Church to serve the working-class neighborhoods in the west end in 1908. From that year the parish boundaries for St. Mary’s were established.

The first school building used by the parish was built by Rev. Michael Flavin two blocks to the north of the church. The current school building was built by Msgr. J.P. Ryan directly across the street from the church.[4] Initially, the Sisters of Mercy taught in the school.[5] They were followed by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.[8] The parish continued to support its own school until declining enrollments forced it to merge schools with neighboring St. Joseph parish. The merged school was named Holy Trinity and it continued into the 1990s when St. Mary’s ended the merger.

In the late 1980s the city’s Spanish speaking community came to St. Mary’s. Liturgies are now celebrated in both English and Spanish.

Pipe organ[edit]

Moline Organ Co. pipe organ (1883) features two manuals, 18 stops, slider chests and mechanical key action.



  • 16' Sub Bass 58w
  • 8' Open Diapason 58m
  • 8' Dulciana 58m
  • 8' Melodia 58w
  • 4' Principal 58m
  • 4' Flute d' Amour 58w&m
  • 2 2/3' Twelfth 58m
  • 2' Fifteenth 58m
  • 8' Trumpet 58m


  • 8' Open Diapason 58w&m
  • 8' Salicional (1-7 St. Diap.) 51m
  • 8' Stopped Diapason 58w
  • 8' Quintadena 58m
  • 4' Fugara 58m
  • 2' Violini (sic.) 58m
  • 8' Oboe TC 46m
  • 8' Bassoon 12m
  • Tremolo (original label missing)


  • 16' Grand Open Diapason 27w
  • 16' Lieblich Bourdon 27w
  • Pedale Check


  • Great to Pedale
  • Swell to Pedale
  • Swell to Great


  • Gr. Piano
  • Gr. Forte
  • Sw. Piano
  • Sw. Forte
  • Great to Pedale (reversible)



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b Svendsen, Marls A., Bowers, Martha H (1982). Davenport where the Mississippi runs west: A Survey of Davenport History & Architecture. Davenport, Iowa: City of Davenport. p. 12-1. 
  3. ^ "St. Mary's Cemetery Burials". Scott County Iowa USGenWeb Project. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  4. ^ a b Hinrichs, John G. "St. Mary's". Scott County Iowa USGenWeb Project. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  5. ^ a b Merrill, J. G. "The History of the City of Davenport". Scott County Iowa USGenWeb Project. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  6. ^ "Chapter 20: Churches and Parishes". Scott County Iowa USGenWeb Project. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  7. ^ a b "The History of Celestine Fejérváry and the Kárász (her Mother’s) Family". Davenport Public Library. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  8. ^ "History of Davenport and Scott County". Scott County Iowa USGenWeb Project. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  9. ^ "Moline Organ Co., St. Mary's R.C. Church". OHS Pipe Organ Database. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 

External links[edit]