AVP of PR/Marketing
DUBUQUE, IA – Encompassing more than 100 feet of new copper, Steeple Square’s upper steeple has been restored through the craftsmanship of Durable Restoration.
Standing at 211-feet, Steeple Square, one of the tallest churches in the Dubuque area, underwent general construction earlier this year. Durable Restoration handled the steeple’s complete metal restoration, and Gronen Restoration, serving as construction manager, repaired the aging clocks, masonry and stained-glass windows.
Steeple Square, the former St. Mary’s Church, required more than 15,000 pounds of copper to create hundreds of flat-lock panels. Chicago Metal Supply used an additional 10,000 pounds of copper to fabricate dozens of decorative pieces, which Durable Restoration crews installed, said AJ Davis, Durable Restoration’s project manager.
“We know how copper works, how it moves, expands and contracts,” Davis said. “We put in the time and research to find the best methods that will ensure a long-lasting copper installation. Quality is what we strive for.”
General construction began in June and finished at the end of November. Superintendent Jason Lee and his crew installed various copper pieces such as aprons, pans, valleys, fascia, vented dormers, layered dormers, gable ends, finials and gold leafing.
Because of the variety of decorative pieces, restoration crews had to make constant modifications to match the historic nature of the building. Through the efforts of Durable Restoration and Gronen Restoration, the history and beauty of the former St. Mary’s Church will last for generations to come.
“Our work on the copper installation of the steeple is complete; however, Steeple Square is an ongoing process,” Davis said. “We were a major part of it, but there is still more work to be done.”
Friends of St. Mary’s (FSM), a business operating unit for Steeple Square, spearheaded the restoration of this Gothic-style building after the original St. Mary’s Church closed its doors in 2010. The building now serves as a beacon for affordable housing, educational training and recreational programs.
Built as St. Mary’s Catholic Church between 1864 and 1867, the monument served as an economic, social and educational achievement of its German immigrant parishioners. Today, this soaring landmark of the Dubuque skyline is poised to be reestablished as a center for culture, community and education.