Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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410 Patrick Street, Dougherty
Dougherty Township, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa


Prior to 1883, there were no religous denominations in [Dougherty] township except the Catholic. They celebrated their first Mass at the school house in 1865, Rev. Father MURPHY, of Waverly, Iowa, officiating as Priest, at which time, he delivered a very learned discourse upon the state of society before and after the advent of Christ. Meetings were held at the school house until 1870, when a commodious church was built, it being a neat frame ediface situated on the southeast quarter of section 25.

The new church was built by Rev. Father FEELY of Charles City, but before its completion he was removed and was succeeded by Rev. D. J. FLANNERY, now [1919] of Davenport, who finished the structure. The settlement had grown so large that in 1875 this church had become too small and was enlarged by Rev. Father RILEY of Mason City. Again in 1890 it was found to be inadequate to accommodate the congregation and was sold and a magnificent frame structure erected in its place together with a parochial school, Rev. M. HOGAN being the pastor, who was then comfortably located in a residence of his own in connection with the church.

In the fall of 1896 both church and school were completely destroyed by fire, the loss being about $15,000. But with a zeal and determination characteristic of the people of Dougherty they went to work and in less than two years time, phoenix-like, a better church and school rose from the ashes. Rev. Father RIELEY is the pastor, who has also the supervision of the school, whose teachers rank among some of the best educators in the state of Iowa.

~ "History of Franklin & Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa"   "History of Iowa" 1883

NOTE: Saint Patrick's School closed after the completion of the 1964 school year.

~ "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling." The History of Dougherty, Iowa, 1883.

Submission by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2011

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Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
April 04, 2012, by Mary Pieper

Historic St. Patric's parish in Dougherty closing in July

DOUGHERTY — St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Dougherty is slated to close in July after more than 100 years.

However, there’s a possibility the large, wooden-frame church may still be used for weddings and funerals even though there will no longer be a St. Patrick’s parish.

Terri King, president of the St. Patrick’s Parish Council, said the Archdiocese of Dubuque has informed the council the church will close in July.

However, the parish council can decide whether to pursue the option of allowing weddings and funerals to still take place there.

King said there seems to be enough parishioners interested to pursue this option, but they will need to make the financial commitment to make it work, even after they join Roman Catholic parishes in neighboring towns to attend Mass once St. Patrick’s parish is no more.

King said about 50 families currently belong to St. Patrick’s, but many former Dougherty residents who now live in nearby communities such as Mason City, Clear Lake and Rockwell have ties to the parish.

"It's going to be hard to see it close," she said.

The city of Dougherty was founded in 1900, but there was a St. Patrick's church serving Roman Catholics in the area long before that.

The first St. Patrick's Church was built in 1870 on a hill in Dougherty Township. The parish outgrew that building and a new church along with a convent school was built. Both the church and the school were destroyed in a fire in 1896.

The current St. Patrick's Church was completed two years later.

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Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
Waterloo, Iowa
June 11, 2012

Final Mass will be Sunday for St. Patrick's at Dougherty

DOUGHERTY, Iowa --- The final Mass at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Dougherty will be at 10 a.m. July 8, with the Most Rev. Jerome Hanus, archbishop of the Diocese of Dubuque, presiding.

St. Patrick’s is closing after 142 years.

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Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
December 16, 2012

Dougherty group seeks St. Patrick’s buildings

DOUGHERTY — A group of Dougherty area citizens has formed a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation to acquire the three buildings and a garage that were part of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, which closed in July.

The buildings and the holy articles in the church would be kept as a museum.

Dennis Campbell, interim chairman of the Society To Preserve Antiquated Town Structures (S.T. P.A.T.S.), said the group has already been contacted about possible tours.

S.T. P.A.T.S. plans to conduct fundraising activities.

Some people have offered a one-time donation, while others have offered to donate a certain amount each year for five years.

For more information, contact Campbell at 641-794-3354.

The group is also seeking photographs that feature St. Patrick’s, such as photos of family members at weddings or baptisms.

The photos will be displayed in a gallery inside the church and school area.

Photos may be scanned and e-mailed to dencamby@gmail.com. They also can be taken to businesses where copies can be made.

The photos can be mailed to S.T. P.A.T.S., in care of Dennis Campbell, 23382 105th St., Dougherty, IA 50433.

2012 Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2013


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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
March 27, 2014

St. Patrick's now belongs to Dougherty non-profit <
By Mary Pieper

DOUGHERTY -- A local non-profit organization has acquired the former St. Patrick's Catholic Church, which was closed by the Archdiocese of Dubuque in July 2012, and plans to preserve it.

The official transfer of the 142-year-old church, as well as the rectory and former parochial school, from the Archdiocese to the Society To Preserve Antiquated Town Structures (S.T.P.A.T.S.) took place in late February for the price of $1.

Dougherty resident Dennis Campbell, chairman of S.T.P.A.T.S., said plans for the buildings are still "a work in progress."

"This is all new to everyone here and to the Archdiocese," he said. "We have to keep reminding ourselves this is our property now."

The church building is no longer a Roman Catholic church because it no longer belongs to the Archdiocese.

Although prayer services and Christian weddings and funerals can take place there, Mass cannot be celebrated.

Even so, people still make the sign of the cross when walking or driving past the church, according to Campbell.

As for the inside, "we are going to try to keep it as original as possible," he said.

The kitchen and the gym of the school will continue to be used as a community center.

S.T.P.A.T.S. is hoping the public will donate old photos and memorabilia to be displayed in the other rooms at the school.

Campbell said different rooms might be dedicated to different aspects of life in Dougherty, such as farming.

A man from Mason City whose late uncle was a priest already has donated a lot of old photos of the church to S.T.P.A.T.S.

"We were just amazed," Campbell said.

Celebration at St. Patrick's is Sunday

A special celebration will take place at the former St. Patrick's Church in Dougherty on Sunday, March 30, in honor of the acquisition of the church properties by S.T.P.A.T.S.

A celebration service will take place at 8 a.m. at the church, followed by a free-will offering breakfast from 8:30 until 11 a.m. in the school gym.

Photograph courtesy of Globe-Gazette/Aaron Thomas

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2014



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