Touring Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Gilbertville, Iowa

Back in 2020, during Holy Week (the time between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday),  Iowa Road Trip featured a variety of churches across the entire state.   Most of the churches were ones that I had personally visited and photographed myself. Yes, I’ve been to quite a few churches across the state.  But during that time, I also received some invitations and requests to feature other churches, including an invite from Father Henry Huber at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Gilbertville, Iowa. 

Aerial view of Immaculate Conception Church with the rectory to the back left and Don Bosco Schools behind the church.

Of course, travel was restricted for quite a while, so I wasn’t able to make the trip.  But recently, I received another message from Father Huber, letting me know that he was being reassigned to a different parish in NE Iowa later this summer.   So just a few weeks ago, I made plans for myself, my wife, and a friend from church to make the trip to Gilbertville.  

I want to extend a sincere thank you to Father Huber for inviting us to Immaculate Conception.  When you see a facility of this grandeur, you can tell this is a strong and vibrant community.

The bricks for the original structure were fired from clay right at this site by a crew overseen by the first priest of the church.

The bricks for the church were produced onsite. The first priest of the parish, Rev. Neemers, oversaw the stone masons and the firing of the bricks.   They also sold the extra bricks for area home construction that helped raise funds for the church.  

The church underwent an extensive $400,000 restoration in 2004.  The high ceilings were redone during this renovation, as most of the interior was painted yellow dating back to the 1960s.  The current colors are beige, light blue, and gold which is in line with the original interior dating back to 1910.

From the front pews looking back towards the entrance and the choir loft.

Close up of the organ pipes.

On your walk up to the balcony, you’ll get an opportunity for closeups of the stained glass windows.

In many Christian churches, you’ll find that one side is dedicated to Mary and the other side to Joseph. This section is dedicated to Joseph and it also contains one of their really unique features. Inside this alter is a sculpture of Jesus laying in the tomb – and it’s only opened once per year on Good Friday.

The high altar at Immaculate Conception Church.
Details of the high altar
When a vestibule was added to the front entrance, they added this stained glass work of Mary. There’s also a light on the inside of the vestibule so that the work is backlighted for those who travel by the entrance at night.

The view from the balcony.

The Sacred Heart Grotto at Immaculate Conception Church

The second priest at the church was Father Cremer.  He was responsible for the construction of the Sacred Heart Grotto.  It sits just outside on the west side of the church.  The grotto is in need of repairs, but according to Father Huber, the plans and fundraising have already been approved.   The grotto at Mercy College in Cedar Rapids went through a renovation and it appears they may be using this same crew for the renovation of the Sacred Heart Grotto. 

Is Immaculate Conception Church open to visitors outside of mass times?

Typically, the facility is closed outside of scheduled services. However, if you’re interested in seeing this beautiful facility, I would encourage you to call the church offices, at (319) 296-1092, to inquire about scheduling a visit.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
311 15th Avenue
P.O. Box 136
Gilbertville, Iowa 50634-0136


Aerial view of Gilbertville, Iowa nestled along the Cedar River in Black Hawk County, Iowa.

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