Friday, July 1, 2016

Dubuque Iowa–Oldest Town in Iowa…

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I should have mentioned in our previous post that we really like Miller Riverview RV Park. I mean we only have electricity and we don’t have sewer or water hookups but we do have the mighty Mississippi River flowing ever so slowly into the Gulf of Mexico right out our front window. Besides the Bald Eagles soaring, we have also seen many white pelicans. We also absolutely love watching the barges push massive amounts of cargo up and down the river. All this for only $15 per night!!!


Since we are in Dubuque Iowa we were interested in checking out what is known as the oldest town in Iowa. We found some free 2 hour limited parking next to something we don’t see very often  - a cable car elevator! Since Dubuque is mostly in the Mississippi River floodplain there is a steep escarpment of limestone that has few roads going up due to its slope. As a result there is a cable car off of fourth street lifting passengers from the bottom to top of the hill (or visa versa). Although we didn’t ride to the top, we were happy to watch a few runs. 

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We appreciated  the free parking there since every other street we drove on (even the ones surrounding the Welcome Center) had meters. We walked from there to the Welcome Center to see if there were any self guided walking tours to aid in our quest to discover the town.  The staff was very friendly and gave us a couple of city maps to use but had no self guided tours.

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It didn’t take long strolling around town to recognize that the architecture in this town is from a different era than any other town we have visited in Iowa. There are some really neat buildings in Dubuque. We are both glad we discovered this part of Iowa… In fact it is hard to believe that we will have been in Iowa 18 days when we depart for Wisconsin. Who would have thought we would find so much to do in what we previously considered a “fly-over” state. 

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The downtown area is bustling and we noticed a mix of new developments alongside some older more dilapidated structures. However, even the older “worn looking” buildings had a lot of character and we were happy to see a few had been purchased and were in the process of refurbishment back to their once prime condition. There certainly is room for a deep pocketed developer to discover Dubuque and revitalize some of these wonderful historic buildings in town.

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There has to be some interesting stories and history behind some of these great old buildings.  It would be wonderful if someone would research and put together a walking tour for visitors.  They could certainly use Galena, Illinois (which we recently enjoyed visiting) as a model for how to excite visitors about the history of their city. We did see on Trip Advisor that we should make a point to see the stained glass windows in St Luke Methodist Church.  The church was open to the public and the windows were indeed stunning.  What an enjoyable day we had discovering Dubuque on our own little tour.

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Afterward, we headed over for a stroll around the Dubuque Botanical Gardens. This free tour took us through a small but nice garden managed mostly by volunteers. The shade garden with all the hostas was my favorite but the Asian garden was nice as well. Lots of birds and butterflies flitting around made the stroll all the more pleasurable. Finally it was back to the park so I could relax and reflect in my chair while watching the lazy Mississippi River keep on churnin’…

NOTE: We are in Madison Wisconsin now but still have a blog or two to do from Dubuque Iowa as there was much to do there in so little time…

1 comment:

  1. That court house made me think a bit of Lockhart.