By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — St. Anthony Parish has purchased a building just north of its property, providing much-needed classroom space for the parish.
Pastoral Associate John Cooper said the parish closed on the historic building June 10. It is located at 130 W. Fifth St., just north of the parish on the other side of the railroad tracks and wall. The building, known as the City Market or “Bridewell,” is currently occupied by Big Brothers Big Sisters. They will continue to occupy the building until their move to Elmore Avenue.
On Aug. 16, the parish takes possession of the 5,040-square-foot building, Cooper said. Work will then begin in part of the building to make four classroom/meeting spaces. Renovations will also include several large closets for storage. The facility has a kitchen, he noted. The new facility will also better accommodate various groups and ministries that have been at St. Anthony as well as a number of active groups from St. Mary. Funds that St. Anthony Parish received through its merger with St. Mary Parish will pay for the building purchase and renovations. Renovation work should be completed by Oct. 1 in time for religious education classes to begin Oct. 3.
Cooper said it is likely that students in grades four and up will have religious education classes in the new education center, which does not have a name yet. Younger students will continue classes in the parish’s former school, which is the original church building. Cooper estimates that about 150-200 students will enroll in religious education for the upcoming school year. Before the merger on July 1, 2020, St. Anthony had about 60 students in religious education and St. Mary had about 150 students. “We continue to register St. Mary families at St. Anthony’s,” he said. During the 2020-21 religious education year, students attended classes online.
History of the building
The City Market building was constructed in the 1800s and housed the city market for about two years before it became vacant. According to the Iowa Inventory Form for the State Historic Preservation Office, it became a municipal jail in 1877.
The police station was located there until 1896. The House of Detention, city patrol and ambulance station remained until the 1940s. It was then used as a city garage and ambulance station in the 1950s and the parking meter department moved in. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
By 1985 the building was remodeled for private office space and sold by the city to Lindsay Industries in 1988. Big Brothers Big Sisters bought the building in 2006.