St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Durant, Iowa)

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church
and Parish Hall
St. Paul's Church Durant Iowa.JPG
St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Durant, Iowa) is located in Iowa
St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Durant, Iowa)
St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Durant, Iowa) is located in the US
St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Durant, Iowa)
Location 206 6th Avenue
Durant, Iowa
Coordinates 41°35′55″N 90°54′46″W / 41.59861°N 90.91278°W / 41.59861; -90.91278Coordinates: 41°35′55″N 90°54′46″W / 41.59861°N 90.91278°W / 41.59861; -90.91278
Architectural style Italianate, Gothic Revival
NRHP reference # 85000002 [1]
Added to NRHP January 3, 1985

St. Paul's Episcopal Church is a parish church in the Diocese of Iowa. The church is located in Durant, Iowa, United States. The parish was founded in 1856.[2] The church building and parish hall have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985.[1]


Parish Hall in 2014

The Rt. Rev. Henry Washington Lee, the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, led the first services in Durant in the Rock Island Railroad depot in 1856.[3] Freight boxes containing champagne were used for the pulpit, altar, and pews. A meeting was held after the service to organize the parish. The name St. Paul was chosen because many of the members had belonged to St. Paul's Episcopal Church in New Haven, Connecticut before moving to Iowa. The church in Connecticut contributed $75 that began the building fund for the church.[3]

Thomas C. Durant, the town's founder, donated land for the first church. It was located on the north side of town and was dedicated by Bishop Lee in October 1856. That same year a "seminary" for girls, or junior/senior high school, was established. In the early 1870s the seminary curriculum was expanded to include boys and a library was built. The co-educational boarding and day school was renamed the Boardman School, after its primary benefactor.[3] The school continued into the 1890s when Durant's public high school was established.

By 1895 the congregation had outgrown its first building. On May 28 the original church was sold and the present building was purchased from the Congregationalists, who had built it in 1856. The bell, stained glass windows and the furniture from the old church were moved to the new church. The sanctuary was added in 1895 to accommodate Episcopal worship. The parish hall was constructed next to the church by members of the congregation in 1895. It has served as Sunday School building, vicar's office, town library, and town community center.

St. Paul's was unable to hold regular worship services from 1925 to 1944. In June 1944 the clergy and lay leaders from Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Davenport restarted services. The Rev. Vine Victor Deloria, first priest of Native American heritage to serve in the Diocese of Iowa, was vicar at St. Paul's from 1959-1960 after which he left the diocese. He had previously served as priest-in-charge at Trinity in Denison, Trinity Memorial in Mapleton and St. John's in Vail.[4]

An undercroft was added to the church in 1950. The "gingerbread gothic" steeple and belfry were restored in 1979. In 1981, the pipe organ from Trinity Cathedral was rebuilt and moved to Saint Paul's. It was later replaced for $6,000 in 1985 by the Kilgen organ, which had been built about 1879.[3] St. Paul's achieved parish status in 2004.


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-08-03. 
  2. ^ "Congregations in Iowa". Archived from the original on 2010-11-14. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d Haugen, Alice. "Our history". St. Paul's Church. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  4. ^ Horton, Loren N. (2003). The Beautiful Heritage: A History of the Diocese of Iowa. Des Moines: Diocese of Iowa. p. 95. 

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