history + heritage

Dubuque, Iowa was founded by Julien Dubuque in 1837. Tour landmarks of a bygone era, take a ride up the world’s shortest and steepest railway, and appreciate the Victorian architecture of Dubuque’s oldest mansions. For the more adventurous, walk the planks of a dredge boat used during WWII, tour a 150 year old jail, or explore the land that the Meskwaki once inhabited.

National Mississippi River Museum & AquariumHeritage + History

The history, culture and animals of the Mississippi River and all the world’s rivers come to life through dynamic exhibits, 12 large aquariums, children’s splash zone, a 3D/4D theater, and more on this 10 acre river campus.

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Basilica of St. Francis Xavier Heritage + History

The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier was built in 1888 and is one of the finest examples of Gothic architectural detail in the Midwest. Filled with stained glass and beauty, this active church provides historical tours.

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Carnegie-Stout Public LibraryHeritage + History

The library offers comfortable seating in five reading areas, programs for all ages, internet access, computers, books, magazines, newspapers, genealogy materials, e-books, and downloadable audio books plus access to electronic resources.

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City HallHeritage + History

Dubuque’s City Hall was completed in 1857 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Though there have been many changes since its opening, it still houses city government administrative offices.

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Dubuque By CarriageHeritage + History

Historic narrated horse drawn carriage rides available May-October. Relax in historic charm and enjoy an informative tour of Dubuque’s historic districts. We offer a variety of dinner tours or narrated tours.

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Dubuque County CourthouseHeritage + History

The Courthouse has a 190 foot high central tower capped with a bronze statue of Lady Justice. Other pewter statues were taken down during World War I and melted down to provide material for the war effort.

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Dyer-Botsford Doll MuseumHeritage + History

This restored Victorian house features a rare revolving German Feather Christmas tree and German ornaments and includes a collection of over 2,000 dolls. Open May through November.

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Fenelon Place ElevatorHeritage + History

Also known as the 4th Street Elevator and the world’s shortest, steepest, scenic railway – 296 feet in length. Magnificent view of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Open April through November. Group Tours Amenities Accommodate Group Tours, not needed Advance Notice, comp driver and escort Complimentary Policy

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Heritage House MuseumHeritage + History

The Heritage House Museum was constructed in the 1850’s. It features 23 rooms of period antiques, quilts and collections.

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Historic Federal Building & Post OfficeHeritage + History

Dubuque’s Historic Federal Building was completed in 1934. The building’s lobby vestibule contains two murals: “Early Settlers of Dubuque” and “Early Mississippi Steamboats”. The U.S. Post Office is still located on the first floor of the building.

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House on the RockHeritage + History

A former retreat built atop a chimney of rock features some of the world’s most unique collections including the largest indoor carousel, a 200’ sea creature, Titanic memorabilia, a million piece miniature circus, and much more.

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Julien Dubuque Monument at Mines of SpainHeritage + History

The Julien Dubuque Monument, built in 1897 on the site where Julien Dubuque was buried, sits high above the Mississippi River and provides “the landmark” for the Mines of Spain. Group Tours Amenities Accommodate Group Tours, One month preferred. Advance Notice, Tour of EB Lyons Center, Hike on Trail, Indoor Programs with hands-on Nature/History programs. Basic Tour Includes, 150 Maximum Number that can be accommodated, hiking, canoeing Other Notes, 2 Suggested Length of Tour

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Mathias Ham House Historic SiteHeritage + History

This 1856 Italianate mansion of entrepreneur Mathias Ham, with its Victorian furnishings, reflects the splendor and beauty of 19th century life along the river. Enjoy tours by guides in period dress. Open Wed – Sun, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Group Tours Amenities Accommodate Group Tours

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Mines of Spain Recreation Area/EB Lyons Interpretive CenterHeritage + History

1,437 acre state recreation area with 20 miles for hiking, 5 miles for cross-country skiing, EB Lyons Interpretive Center with nature and history exhibits, and the America’s State Tree Woodland Walk and one mile ADA trail, Julien Dubuque Monument and the Horse Shoe Bluff area with scenic views of river. Group Tours Amenities Accommodate Group Tours, One month preferred. Advance Notice, Tour of EB Lyons Center, Hike on Trail, Indoor Programs with hands-on Nature/History programs. Basic Tour Includes, 150 Maximum Number that can be accommodated, hiking, canoeing Other Notes, 2 Suggested Length of Tour

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National Farm Toy MuseumHeritage + History

Take a small scale adventure into the history of agriculture! The whole family will enjoy discovering how farming has changed throughout the years and the history of the tractors that make successful harvests happen.  Revel in the Museum’s collections of farm toys and unique exhibits on agriculture’s amazing history. Group Tours Amenities Accommodate Group Tours, Accommodate Motorcoaches, Two weeks Advance Notice, Two complimentary admissions for tour leader and bus driver Complimentary Policy, Group Rates, 250 Maximum Number that can be accommodated, Motorcoach Parking, 1 Suggested Length of Tour

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New Melleray AbbeyHeritage + History

New Melleray is a Cistercian (Trappist) monastery located in the rolling farmland south of Dubuque. They support themselves by making wooden caskets. See the award winning limestone church and tour the visitor’s center at the Casket Department.

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Potter’s MillHeritage + History

Potter’s Mill, located in Bellevue, Iowa is the state’s oldest grist mill. Constructed in 1843, the mill is now home to Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ. The restaurant features southern food, BBQ and live blues and jazz. The mill is also home to the Inn at Potter’s Mill, a four unit B&B.

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Shot Tower Historic LandmarkHeritage + History

The Dubuque Shot Tower was built in 1856 for making lead shot and is 120 feet tall. It is one of only a few remaining shot towers in the U.S. and the only one west of the Mississippi River.

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Sinsinawa MoundHeritage + History

Sinsinawa Mound, the highest point in Grant County, is home for Dominican Sisters. The complex includes historic buildings, museums, chapel with exquisite stained glass, and gift store with bakery items.

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Sisters of Charity, BVMHeritage + History

Founded in 1833, the Sisters of Charity are a community of Catholic women who have chosen a vowed life of prayer, ministry and community. Visitors are welcome to tour the historic Motherhouse built in 1892. Please call ahead.

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SmokestackHeritage + History

Smokestack combines arts, culture, history and nightlife with craft cocktails and an eclectic menu of casual fare served ’til last call. Arguably Dubuque’s best-kept secret, Smokestack is located on the SW corner of 7th and White Streets, in a one-of-a-kind historic Downtown building with a 60-foot tall smokestack. Definitely try the brussels sprouts and do ask for a tour.

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St. Luke’s United Methodist ChurchHeritage + History

First church in Iowa (1833) with the 5th largest collection of Tiffany Windows in the United States and a beautiful pipe organ dated back to 1897.

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Star Brewery ComplexHeritage + History

Typical of other mid-sized breweries of its day, the Star Brewery was one of a handful of Iowa breweries to revive after the end of national prohibition. The film “F.I.S.T.” was partly filmed at the brewery.

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Town ClockHeritage + History

Originally erected in 1873, atop a building on Main Street north of 8th Street, the clock was moved to the downtown mall in 1971.

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Trolleys of DubuqueHeritage + History

Take a historical tour through Cable Car Square, Port of Dubuque, majestic churches and discover the ornate architecture of Dubuque aboard the trolley. Also available for special occasion tours.

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Veterans Memorial PlazaHeritage + History

It recognizes all wars the United States has been in since 1775. It lists 11 Medal of Honor veterans that are buried in Dubuque. Group Tours Amenities Accommodate Group Tours, Self guided. Basic Tour Includes, 60 Maximum Number that can be accommodated, 1 Suggested Length of Tour

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William M. Black Steam Dredge BoatHeritage + History

This national landmark vessel was once a working dredge boat used during WWII on the Missouri River. Included with admission to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.

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