Dubuque – Iowa’s First City!

August 4 and 5, 2014  Day 1

Dubuque is a moderately large city of 58,000 with a rich history. It’s located on the banks of the Mississippi with both Illinois and Wisconsin visible across the river.  We entered the city crossing on the Wisconsin bridge, or Julien Dubuque Bridge.

Wisconsin Bridge into Dubuque

After crossing, we went left, heading to the Julien Dubuque Monument at Mines of Spain.  It is in a large natural area with many paths and a “water trail” to canoe on kayak on. We got oriented at the E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center and found a two-sided historic marker.

E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center in Dubuque

Dubuque Mines of Spain marker

Historic Dubuque Marker


We got maps and directions to the Julien Dubuque monument and these are the coordinates of the parking lot closest to it, it was a bit difficult to find since we are not familiar with the area.

N42° 28.124       W090° 38.904

After parking, be sure to take this trail entrance, it is not marked real well.  Here is a map.

Dubuque Monument trailhead


Another burial site is found here, Mesquaki Indian Chief Peosta. He was a friend of Julien Dubuque.

Peosta, Fiend of Dubuque

 And now we come upon the monument itself.  Inside is the grave, behind protective bars.

Julien Dubuque Monument


Julien Dubuque gravesite

Surrounding Dubuque are many high bluffs, offering great views of the city below and the river. This was our first view, from a distance.  There is a considerable amount of train traffic here, the routes on both side of the river go alongside to minimize city traffic interference. You can see a train in this view. The train actually went right by us below. here it is approaching us.

Bubuque view from Mines of Spain lookout

CP Train Dubuque IowaAfter taking in this great site, we went to see a popular “ride” in Dubuque, the Fenelon Place Elevator. This is the view from the bottom in Cable Car Square downtown.  When it was put into operation on July 25, 1882 it was privately owned by J.K. Graves. It wasn’t long before neighbors were asking for a ride down too and by 1884 he did let them, for 5 cents a ride. Today the round trip is $3.   Drove to the top of the bluff to see another overlook at the station house above.  It was fun watching the cable cars go up and down.

Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque


Fenelon Place Elevator South Deck in DubuqueLet’s watch the ride!

What an incredible view of the city! This view is downtown, looking towards the Town Clock.

Dubuque Clock Tower view

And looking back towards the Wisconsin bridge that we came over.

Dubuque View of Wisconsin bridge

 After enjoying the view we headed down to the Welcome Center on 300 Main St. Ste. 100. This is the place to go to pick up info in Iowa, Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Also souveniers!

Dubuque Visitors Center

Dubuque Welcome Center

 We were getting a bit hungry for lunch at this point (clock said 12:00 PM), so we decided to have our picnic at Eagle Point Park.  It is high atop another part of the bluff offering a great view of the Mississippi River and Lock and Dam #11.  If you drive in like we did, $1 admission. Walking in or biking is free.  They have many buildings on site that people can rent for events, many use stone in their construction.

Dubuque Eagle Point Park buildings

This is the majestic view of Lock and Dam #11.  Looking to the right from here, you could see the Illinois bridge.

Lock and Dam #11 Dubuque

 It was amazing, having three views of the city from high above in one day. Helped us learn where the landmarks are a lot faster.  After lunch, it was time to see the Mathias Ham House which is near the park. On site is also the oldest log cabin in Dubuque County, from 1827. They were not open on Monday.  No photos are allowed inside during the tour also.

Mathias Ham House Dubuque


1827 Log Cabin in Dubuque

Dubuque Log House plaque

This was a great park for our little siesta. We went downtown and found many beautiful historic buildings from the 1800’s. Storm clouds were gathering though, and they hit just at we arrived at Lot One for dinner. This building and the block that it’s in is historic also.  This was the first platted block in Dubuque.

Lot One restaurant in Dubuque

Lot One plaque


On Tuesday morning we ate at Jorja’s, which is not downtown.  It is located on 3130 Jackson St. Their motto is “Homestyle Cooking with Homestyle Prices”. Jorja Moore is the owner and is also well versed on Dubuque history. She told us about the H & W Brewery building next door. Lunch was wonderful too!

Jorja's Restaurant in Dubuque


They made us feel welcome here, as did all the people we encountered today.  We especially enjoyed our night’s stay at the Days Inn at 1111 Dodge St. It is only a couple miles from downtown and they had a wonderful breakfast the next morning. For only $57, we had a pleasant stay in Dubuque on a budget. The next day, we finished exploring downtown and also went to Ice Harbor.

Days Inn Dubuque

4 thoughts on “Dubuque – Iowa’s First City!

  1. Pingback: Hazel Green- Point of the Beginning | Adventures in Travel

  2. Pingback: Dodge City Brewery – Wallpaper Site

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