Loras to host session on plan for historical designation

Tom Jensen, for the Lorian

Loras will hold a public session at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Steeple Square, 105 E. 15th St., Dubuque, regarding the effort to place its campus on the National Register of Historic Places. The public is encouraged to attend the free event.

Loras staff and faculty along with its community partner, Heritage Works, Dubuque, will provide an update on the nomination application and identify areas where the community can help. One of those is the college’s work to create a history of the development of the campus and its key buildings, including Hoffmann Hall, Keane Hall, the Fieldhouse, Christ the King Chapel and Hennessey Hall.

In July, Loras received a $6,600 Historical Resource Development Program (HDRP) grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa to nominate the Loras College Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places. If designated, Loras would be one of only two college campuses in Iowa to have its entire campus on the Register as a historic district.

“This will benefit not only Loras, but also the Dubuque community and the surrounding area,” said Valorie Woerdehoff, director of foundation and government support at Loras. “Being on the Register can help attract more tourists and lay the groundwork for other colleges in Iowa to be recognized.”

The application process is also a learning opportunity for Loras students who are helping complete some of the necessary research and documentation.

Loras was the only college among the 27 recipients and one of three organizations in Dubuque to receive a HDRP grant. The 18-month grant will pay for the services of Heritage Works to write a nomination and all supporting materials. The nomination will then be submitted to the state and, if nominated by the State Historical Society, submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior. A determination will then be made regarding the application.

The Loras campus is surrounded by residential neighborhoods on all sides, some of which are among the most historic in the city. The college consists of 23 buildings, two athletic fields, a stadium, and tennis courts. Because of its location atop the bluffs of Dubuque, several of the buildings can be seen from neighboring Illinois and Wisconsin.

“As Iowa’s first college, the campus has a rich history,” said Duane Hagerty, CEO of Heritage Works. “Its historic architecture and commanding location atop Dubuque’s bluffs make the Loras campus a special place.”

Founded in 1839, Loras is Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges. The 64-acre campus is perched on the top of Loras Boulevard and welcomes more than 10,000 visitors a year, including students from 24 states and 10 countries.

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