Six communicants organized the mission church in the summer of 1850. Among them was the Honorable George Greene, ho had named the city and was among the early civic and business leaders of Cedar Rapids. He and others literally built the church by hand on the ground upon which it still stands. The cornerstone of the structure was laid in 1851, and the small brick church was completed five years later.
The original church was extensively remodeled and expanded in 1873, with a still more massive structure being erected on the corner of 6th Street and A Avenue in 1890. Unfortunately, the 1890 building was razed in 1948 due to structural deficiencies, and a reconstruction project was started to enlarge the old chapel into the church proper. Further reconstruction and the building of a new parish house was completed in 1963. The current structure, however, still has the original side and back walls that were built in 1851.
The Grace Church parish was instrumental in founding St. Luke’s hospital in 1883, and ran the institution for many years. The drive to provide a hospital for the growing town was sparked when the Rev. Samuel Ringgold, then rector of the parish, was called to minister to a man who had been gravely injured in an accident in the railroad yards near the church.
At that time there was no place in town where a stranger in the community could be cared for. In 1923, St. Luke’s was turned over to the Methodist church on the condition that $100,000 be spent on reconstruction and expansion.
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