CEDAR RAPIDS – The oldest Catholic parish in Cedar Rapids celebrated its grand reopening Saturday after undergoing months of restoration.
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 857 Third Ave. SE, was built in 1914-1916, but its roots as a parish extend back to 1857, according to the National Register of Historic Places, when a wood-frame building was constructed at Third Avenue and Seventh Street SE.
That church was replaced in the 1870s by a larger brick building, and after the turn-of-the-century, the site at Third Avenue and 10th Street SE was purchased.
The current church was commissioned from St. Paul architect Emmanuel Masqueray, according to the parish history, with the interior designed under the direction of Angelo Gherardi, who had designed liturgical settings for more than 300 churches nationwide.
Immaculate Conception, which serves diverse ethnic groups in Cedar Rapids, launched a capital campaign last year, with a goal of $1.5 million to fund the restoration work.
Heritage Restoration of Peoria, Ill., was selected as the restoration company. Work included repairing plaster and repainting the interior; replacing interior lighting and sound system; removing carpeting and restoring the original terrazzo floor; refinishing pews with new kneelers and cleaning the gold leaf and stained glass windows.
Extensive scaffolding was used in the restoration process, with Masses held elsewhere during that time.
The result was unveiled during a grand reopening on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.
See more photos of the grand reopening here: