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The community of Wesley lies just south of US 81, west of Iowa 17, within Kossuth County. At 403 East Street is a handsome turn-of-the-century version of the Gothic, Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, built in 1901. The church is a wood version of the central-entrance-tower type, its side aisles covered by low-pitched shed roofs. Steeply pitched gable ends serve as independent frontispieces for each of the side aisles. The tower is particularly effective; each of its layers is defined by thin, steeply pitched gables that climb upward into the tall spire roof. Tall, narrow, pointed windows and thin buttresses (all in wood) add substance to the Gothic image. The use of a thin wood frame, together with the clapboard sheathing and details in wood, gives a strong, crisp, linear quality to the building—almost as if its facades still resided on the drafting board.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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