St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Tipton, Iowa
About Us

History of St. Mary's  Catholic Church   
                                                                            -- compiled by Earl Howe               

St. Mary's Catholic Church of Tipton, Iowa was established in 1856 when a letter was sent by Father Laurent to Bishop Loras requesting funds to purchase lots for a church building in Tipton. In 1858, $100.00 was sent to Father Laurent for this purpose and in 1859, a small, 20' by 30' church was built on the south side of South Street. in 1867, a two-acre plot of ground was donated to the Church by one of the early parishioners for use as a Catholic Cemetery.

By 1876, 40 families were now members of St. Mary's. Two more lots were purchased from William Tuthill on the southeast corner of 2nd and Sycamore Street. On July 4, 1878, a bigger building - 32' by 50' - was completed at this site.  By 1881 the Dubuque Diocese was divided with Cedar County and the rest of the southern half of the state, forming the Davenport Diocese.                

In 1889, St. Mary's acquired its first resident priest. St. Joseph's, Cedar Valley was named as an out-mission of St. Mary's. By 1901, a vacant church belonging to the First Congregational denomination was purchased at the site of the current St. Mary's Church. This building was remodeled to become the first St. Mary's Church on the present site. A year later, the house south of the church was purchased and remodeled for use as a rectory.

In 1956, the house on lot 11, just north of the present church, was purchased and remodeled into a more modern rectory. The last mass performed at St. Joseph's, Cedar Valley, was May 10, 1964. The doors were then closed immediately. In 1967, the old rectory was removed, a new addition was added to the south side of the current rectory and the parish hall was built. Demolition began on the building in 1968 and mass was spoken for the first time on March 14, 1969 in the current St. Mary's Church building. Over the 150 years, our parish family has grown to nearly 400 families.

208 Meridian St, PO Box 309 - Tipton, Iowa 52772  

   Phone:563-886-2506     Fax: 563-886-6326

Vision for St. Mary's:

In 2006, change once again favored our parish and with God's help, we established a process to plan for the future of St. Mary's. From this process, four vision statements were created to guide us in better serving God and the people of the community.


  1. St. Mary's will be a Eucharistic community, guided by the Holy Spirit to grow in and share our faith, thereby building the Kingdom of God.

  2. St. Mary's Parish will, as a Eucharistic community inspired by Jesus Christ, find and meet the needs of others, both locally and throughout the world.

  3. St. Mary's will be a Eucharistic community of open-minded, patient disciples, serving God and others by word and action through faith, hope and love.

  4. St. Mary's will be a Eucharistic community that is welcoming to all in our community, inviting persons of all ages to serve and worship as part of our family of faith.