See over 100 Tiffany stained glass windows at St. Luke’s Church in Dubuque, Iowa.
Louis Tiffany was a master with glass. While most stained glass artists were painting pieces of glass, Tiffany was embedding the color within the glass. In 1881, he was asked to create stained glass for Mark Twain’s home. A year later, he was asked by President Arthur to decorate several rooms in the White House.
In 1893, he exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition (the very first world’s fair) in Chicago. In attendance was a group from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Dubuque, Iowa. The congregation was in the process of building a new church and Tiffany’s work caught their eye. They made arrangements to purchase 5 large stained glass windows for the construction of their new church. Over time, the congregation continued to purchase additional works from Tiffany.
Today, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church houses over 100 Tiffany stained glass windows and it is the 5th largest collection of Tiffany’s stained glassworks in the world.
During most weekdays, they have open viewing times and there are selected dates and times when live guided tours are available. Check their website for details: https://www.stlukesdbq.org/tours
Location: 1199 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa 52001
During our tour, one of the church members offered to play the organ – and we gladly accepted. The organ is original and was installed when the church opened in 1896. It’s a 3 manual organ with over 1,000 pipes. In 1992, the organ was completely restored. Only four individuals are trained to play the organ, so this was quite a treat for our group!
According to our tour guide, even the bathrooms have Tiffany windows!
Tiffany’s windows were all created in New York and then individual sections of the windows were shipped to Dubuque by railroad. Tiffany’s workers came to Dubuque to install the windows – but Tiffany himself never visited the church.
The Angel Among The Lilies (1896) is also one of the first installations when the church was built. The Richardson family provided funds for its creation in honor of their daughter who died at the age of 18. Interesting note: No photographs or descriptions of their daughter were ever sent to Tiffany – but when the window was installed, the family noticed that the angel’s face looks like their deceased 18 yr old daughter Harriet.
All photos by Brian Abeling / Iowa Road Trip