100th birthday party Saturday for St Patrick Church

St Patrick churchThe community of St Patrick Catholic Church on Cedar Creek west of Churdan will celebrate the 100th birthday of the parish’s first brick church will a full day of festivities this Saturday, Aug. 15. There will be something for everyone.

Special guests will be Steve and Craig Steele, grandson of renowned architect William LaBarthe Steele, designer of the church.

William LaBarthe Steele
William LaBarthe Steele

William Steele was an important architect of the Prairie School during the early 20th century. He designed the first brick church for St. Patrick Parish in Greene County in 1915.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, Steele worked in the office of renowned architect Louis Sullivan in Chicago, from 1897-1900. He settled in Sioux City in 1904 and did most of his work there.

Over his career Steele designed more than 250 commercial buildings, churches, synagogues, homes, schools and government buildings in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota. More than 20 of his surviving works are on the National Register of Historic Places. St. Patrick Church was nominated and appointed to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 due to its Romanesque Revival architectural design by William LaBarthe Steele. The church is the only one of Steele’s Catholic churches listed on the register.

St Patrick north windowThe architecture is of major interest as St. Patrick Church is one of the best examples of this style of architecture in Iowa. His most notable work is the Woodbury County courthouse in Sioux City. St. Patrick Church contains the basic elements of Steele religious work at that time: brick and stone trim, structural iron lintels, tension supports in the scissor trusses, ornate brick work and Romanesque/Gothic influences. The rounded arch stained glass windows and the internally exposed massive truss rafters have been of huge public interest.

St Patrick choir loftBoth Steve and Craig Steele work for the Phillip J. Steele Arts Education Foundation, named after their father, a prominent artist and teacher. The mission of the foundation is to encourage, mentor, and support students in the Colorado visual arts community through art scholarships and art education programs.

Steve Steele serves as the president for the Philip J Steele Arts Education Foundation. His qualifications include being president of Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design for over 25 years, as well as being president of the International Council of Design Schools. Steve is a professional fine artist who creates contemporary three-dimensional works and sculptural installations which use mixed media including items such as light, motors, water, and sound.

Craig Steele is the secretary of the Philip J. Steele Arts Education Foundation. He attributes his early love and fascination with art to his grandfather and father. Craig enjoys working in a variety of media. He is well known for his pen and ink drawings, watercolor landscapes, acrylic paintings, and three-dimensional works constructed of various materials. His most recent works are sculptural pieces that explore composition and design. His work can be found in many private collections.

The Steeles will speak at the ceremony at 6:30 pm honoring their grandfather and celebrating 100 years of the building. Birthday cake will be served in preparation of the ceremonial tapping of the keg while the Iowa Bagpiper plays. Dolly’s Bar & Grill will provide a cash bar during the supper from 5:30 to 7:30 and the dance played by ‘The Posse”.

The public is invited any time that day to view the church and mass will be said at 4:00pm. There have been extensive renovations of the church this past year everyone is invited to come.

The complete schedule follows:

  • 6 am to 12 pm: Adoration
  • 1-3 pm: Open House with activities for all ages- kids games, horse rides, trail ride, kiddie train.
  • 4 pm: Mass said in the newly restored 100-year-old building. The new air conditioning works.
  • 5 pm: Church to Church relay (bike from Lohrville or run from Churdan). Contact Kristine @ kkerickson6 [at] gmail [dot] com or 515-370-2710
  • 5 to 11 pm: Cash Irish beverage garden by Dolly’s Bar & Grill, Auburn
  • 5:30 to 7:30 pm: A pioneer meal, grilled by the Greene County Cattlemen, will be served. Menu includes burgers, beans, chips, watermelon
  • 6:30 pm: Introduction of William L. Steele’s grandsons, Craig Steele and Steve Steele. Furnace retirement ceremony and grant proceeds presentation followed by The Iowa Bagpiper celebrating the ceremonial tapping of the Irish Keg.
  • 7 to 11 pm: Dance to the music of The Posse
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