Davenport makes video on St. Anthony Church history

The original St. Anthony Church in Davenport now serves as the parish library. The City of Davenport has produced a 17-minute video on the church.

By Anne Marie Amacher

DAVENPORT — A video about the history of the original St. Anthony Church in downtown Davenport is available for viewing on television and online.

As part of Preservation Month in May, the City of Davenport produced a 17-minute video on the church. Henri Chapdelaine of St. Anthony’s historical society provided pictures for the video, which also features an interview that Davenport City Planner Ken Oestreich conducted with him. The interview took place inside the original church, which now serves as the church library, and in the existing church.

The original St. Anthony Church was built in 1837 of red brick. The existing church was built in 1850.

Chapdelaine notes in the video that additions were made to the original church and stucco was later applied to the exterior. A third exterior, stone, was added at a later date. Masses were held on the second floor of the building while the first floor housed the rectory and a courtroom for the Second Judicial District and town meeting hall. The original church was used as a school from 1918-86. Chapdelaine said the parish has pictures of all but two classes from St. Anthony’s.


The video also highlights the late Father James Grubb, known in the 1970s as the “hippie priest,” and shows the “Wrigley Field” sign that Chicago-born Father James Conroy had painted on an ivy-covered wall outside the church. They also talk about construction of the new parish hall that was dedicated in March.

The video is shown at 2:10 a.m., 8:10 a.m., 1:20 p.m., 5:10 p.m. and 9:20 p.m. each day on Channel 18 — the City of Davenport’s public access channel. For those without access to that channel, the video also may be viewed online at the city’s website: www.cityofdavenportiowa.com. On the right side of the page under the “city services” menu, click on “watch videos” and then click on “city of Davenport videos.” From there, scroll down to the community planning and economic development section and click on “Historical Preservation Highlights – St. Anthony Church 2010.”

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