Site Inventory Form State Inventory No

Site Inventory Form
State Historical Society of Iowa
(December 1, 1999)
State Inventory No. 31-00002
New
Supplemental
Part of a district with known boundaries (enter inventory no.)
Relationship:
Contributing
Noncontributing
Contributes to a potential district with yet unknown boundaries
National Register Status:(any that apply)
Listed
De-listed
NHL
9-Digit SHPO Review & Compliance Number
Non-Extant (enter year)
DOE
1. Name of Property
historic name Old Main Historic District
other names/site number Lower Main Historic District
2. Location
street & number Main Street, blocks 100-300
city or town Dubuque
Legal Description: (If Rural) Township Name
Township No.
vicinity, county Dubuque
Range No. Section Quarter of Quarter
(If Urban) Subdivision
Block(s)
Lot(s) see below
3. State/Federal Agency Certification [Skip this Section]
4. National Park Service Certification [Skip this Section]
5. Classification
Category of Property (Check only one box) Number of Resources within Property
building(s)
If Non-Eligible Property
If Eligible Property, enter number of:
district
Enter number of:
Contributing
Noncontributing
site
buildings
26
7
buildings
structure
sites
sites
object
structures
structures
objects
objects
Total
26
7
Total
Name of related project report or multiple property study (Enter “N/A” if the property is not part of a multiple property examination).
Title
Historical Architectural Data Base Number
The Architectural and Historical Resources of Dubuque, 1833-1955
31-0059
6. Function or Use
Historic Functions (Enter categories from instructions)
Current Functions (Enter categories from instructions)
02A-O2H/Commerce/Trade
02A-O2H/Commerce/Trade
7. Description
Architectural Classification (Enter categories from instructions)
Materials (Enter categories from instructions)
05-Late Victorian/o5B Italianate
foundation
Stone
01-No Style
walls
brick
roof
Asphalt
other
SEE CONTINUATION SHEETS, WHICH MUST BE COMPLETED)
8. Statement of Significance
Narrative Description (
Applicable National Register Criteria (Mark “x” representing your opinion of eligibility after applying relevant National Register criteria)
Yes
No
More Research Recommended
A
Property is associated with significant events.
Yes
No
More Research Recommended
B
Property is associated with the lives of significant persons.
Yes
No
More Research Recommended
C
Property has distinctive architectural characteristics.
Yes
No
More Research Recommended
D
Property yields significant information in archaeology or history.
County Dubuque
City
Dubuque
Address Main Street, blocks 100-300
Site Number 31-00002
District Number
Criteria Considerations
A Owned by a religious institution or used
for religious purposes.
B Removed from its original location.
C A birthplace or grave.
D A cemetery
E A reconstructed building, object, or structure.
F A commemorative property.
G Less than 50 years of age or achieved significance within the past
50 years.
Areas of Significance (Enter categories from instructions)
Significant Dates
Architecture
various
Construction date
check if circa or estimated date
Other dates
Commerce
Significant Person
Architect/Builder
(Complete if National Register Criterion B is marked above)
N/A
Architect
N/A
Builder
Narrative Statement of Significance (
Unknown
SEE CONTINUATION SHEETS, WHICH MUST BE COMPLETED)
9. Major Bibliographical References
Bibliography
See continuation sheet for citations of the books, articles, and other sources used in preparing this form
10. Geographic Data
UTM References (OPTIONAL)
Zone
Easting
Northing
1
3
Zone
Easting
Northing
2
4
See continuation sheet for additional UTM references or comments
11. Form Prepared By
name/title James E. Jacobsen
organization History Pays! Historic Preservation Consulting Firm
date May 29, 2003
street & number 4411 Ingersoll Avenue
city or town Des Moines
telephone 515-274-3625
state IA
zip code 50312
ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION (Submit the following items with the completed form)
FOR ALL PROPERTIES
1.
2.
3.
Map: showing the property’s location in a town/city or township.
Site plan: showing position of buildings and structures on the site in relation to public road(s).
Photographs: representative black and white photos. If the photos are taken as part of a survey for which the Society is to be
curator of the negatives or color slides, a photo/catalog sheet needs to be included with the negatives/slides and the following
needs to be provided below on this particular inventory site:
Roll/slide sheet # 7464
Frame/slot # 29-36
Date Taken Nov. 02
Roll/slide sheet # 7465
Frame/slot # 1-9
Date Taken Nov. 02
Roll/slide sheet #
Frame/slot #
Date Taken
See continuation sheet or attached photo & slide catalog sheet for list of photo roll or slide entries.
Photos/illustrations without negatives are also in this site inventory file.
FOR CERTAIN KINDS OF PROPERTIES, INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING AS WELL
1.
2.
Farmstead & District: (List of structures and buildings, known or estimated year built, and contributing or non-contributing status)
Barn:
a. A sketch of the frame/truss configuration in the form of drawing a typical middle bent of the barn.
b. A photograph of the loft showing the frame configuration along one side.
c. A sketch floor plan of the interior space arrangements along with the barn’s exterior dimensions in feet.
State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) Use Only Below This Line
Concur with above survey opinion on National Register eligibility:
Yes
No
This is a locally designated property or part of a locally designated district.
More Research Recommended
Comments:
Evaluated by (name/title):
Date:
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 1
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
7. Narrative Description:
The Old Main Historic District was re-evaluated as part of the Phase III downtown Dubuque
architectural and historical survey. The purpose of the re-evaluation was to evaluate the current
integrity of the status given the loss of some buildings since National Register listing, to examine
possible additions to the original district, and finally to evaluate the district buildings within the historical
and architectural contexts of the greater downtown. This inventory form format is used as a framework
for making those evaluations and recommendations.
Bruce Kriviskey identified a “Lower Main Historic District” as a part of his 1978 architectural
survey of Dubuque. He recommended the present boundaries, but with the inclusion of the landmark
Bishop’s Block, located south of First Street. When the district was actually nominated and listed in
1982, the Bishop’s Block was excluded due both to owner opposition and the assumption that U.S.
Highway 61 was going to force its demolition. The building was in fact documented in anticipation of
demolition.
The district nomination was prepared at a time with what could best be described as minimal
documentation was required and the nomination document did little more than to generally describe the
district, and to count and address its buildings. No individual building evaluations were made either on
historical or architectural grounds. The general historical justifications for the district simply claimed
that the buildings “represent[ed] the largest concentration of significant nineteenth century commercial
architecture in Dubuque.” An additional claim was that the district was “the site of Dubuque’s first
center of commercial activity, giving it a central place in the history of the community’s development.”
The stated period of significance was 1800-1899 and the areas of significance were architecture and
commerce.
Amending the District Nomination Document:
The city has recently acted to amend the Dubuque Shot Tower National Register listing and the
Phase IV survey project envisions similarly amending Cathedral and Jackson Park historic districts.
The same need for updating is found in the Old Main commercial district. While the fundamental goal
of a nomination is to list a range of properties on the National Register, an inadequate nomination
document offers little in terms of data, evaluation, or prioritization when it comes to meeting community
planning or educational/promotional needs. Yet another critical role of a sufficient nomination
document would be as a design guide for new infill construction. The several large vacant lots make
new construction a probability despite the fact that recent new construction has come at the expense of
a losing historic building.
The first recommendation of this report is that the district by comprehensively amended. This
entails a thorough historical documentation of the buildings and district, individually and collectively, a
refining of the claims for significance (within the now known downtown contexts), and the addition of a
number of adjacent and related commercial buildings. This report begins that process by providing
known construction dates, building histories and some historical context for the district.
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Site Number 31-00002
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Related District Number
Page 2
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
It is further recommended that a number of properties be included in the amended district,
adding buildings on side streets to the west, and extending the district southward at least to U.S.
Highway 61, if not even further south to Jones Street. There are two basic recommendations. The
most likely option is to add the buildings to the north of the highway along with two side street buildings
to the west. A sub-option is to add only the pre-1900 buildings located south of First Street, along with
the two other properties. This would exclude the early 20th Century garage buildings that comprise the
majority of the buildings between First Street and the highway. A less likely option is to add the
surviving buildings on the south side of the highway and the east side of Main. The presence of the
highway corridor makes this a difficult proposition for sheer access and there is a large gap created by
both the highway and the late-date buildings that are between First Street and the highway. An option
would be to create a local landmark district that includes the properties to the south.
These buildings could or should be added to the district:
Group 1: South of U.S. Highway 61: These buildings, while a remnant, represent the same
massive commercial/jobbing-warehouse range of architecture and underscore the working
southern end of the downtown proper. Their addition is problematic given the highway’s major
intervention between these buildings and the district, two blocks north, and the loss of all
buildings on the west or opposite side of Main Street. All of these buildings were HABS
(Historic American Building Survey) documented in 1988. If added to the district, Flatiron Park
might also be included within the boundary. This list consists of three buildings, all of which
would be contributing properties to an amended district.
30 Main-Mulgrew, Thomas J., Company Office Building, 31-02147, two-story angled
corner building, 1915.
Thomas Mulgrew (1967-?) built this office building in conjunction with his building
products warehouse, located immediately south. Clayton Fraser categorizes the
building as Mediterranean in style, but it is more likely Craftsman influenced. The
Mulgrew Company used it as late as the 1950s and Shive & Hattery occupied it until the
late 1980s (HABS documentation).
40 Main-Walker, M. M., Company Warehouse, 31-02148, three-story warehouse.
(Herald, January 1, 1895)
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 3
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
44-48 Main-Schroeder-Kleine Grocery Co. Warehouse, 31-02150, massive three story
block.
Group 2: Buildings North of U.S. Highway 61, and south of First Street: The addition could well
be limited to three of these buildings, 214 West First Street, 90 Main and 79-84 Main,
immediately south, excluding the rest, all early 20th Century single-story garage buildings
Otherwise, it would be wise to consider including both sides of the street for the sake of district
continuity. This list consists of eight buildings (210-12 West First counts as two buildings), all of
which would be contributing properties to an amended district.
65 Main: Even, Peter & Son, Auto Co. Showroom, 31-02156, 1916.
This single-story auto showroom replaced Peter Even’s coal and wood yard on
the same site. Lange & Tscharner replaced his firm in 1922. It was later a truck terminal
and from 1938 through the early 1960s it housed the Central Battery and Electric
Company. Evan was born in 1856 and came to the city in 1878 and solely owned his
wood and coal business by 1904. He also sold implements. He added automobiles to
his trade and built this building
76 Main: same, 31-02158, c.1910 or 1921-23.
No builder is attributed to this small single-story storefront and the building date
is uncertain. Clayton Fraser dates it to the early 1920s and the Assessor to 1910. This
building was built after the three-story Durfee Block was demolished (post-1909, pre1936) (HABS documentation).
80 Main-31-02159, National Biscuit Company, 1908.
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 4
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
The 1909 Sanborn Map shows it present, occupied by the National Biscuit
Company as offices and warehouse. The Earle & Schroeder Motor Company was here
c.1921, and the Schroeder Motor Company remained into the late 1960s. This is a
single-story 27x100 brick plan. This is one of the city’s smallest and likely the earliest
surviving auto garage plan. Its small size reflects the early adaptation of narrow lots to
garage design and construction.
84 Main: Bennett House Hotel, 31-02160 double storefront building.
Richard Bennett’s Bennett House Hotel was already a local landmark (built in 1874)
when it burned in c. February-March 1877. That April Bennett announced plans to
replace it with a new block. The block was extended south with a $3,600 expenditure in
1883 and the metal cornice likely dates to this work, unifying the façade. Peter Huss
operated the Huss House, beginning in the 1890s. The Park Hotel was here in the
1930s and the Main Hotel during the 1940s. Bennett was born in Ireland in 1828 and he
came to America at the age of 18 years. (HABS documentation; Time, April 13,
1877;Herald, January 1, July 3, 29, 1883). The storefronts have been restored since
1986. The building nicely dates the use of the slightly curved stone lintels to the mid1870s. One possible origin for this building (depending on how much was rebuilt in
1877) is an 1868 account where the former Martin Carroll Bakery, southeast corner Main
and First streets, was being converted into a store for Alex Simplot. The building was
brick and the work cost $3,000 (Times, January 1, 1869; Herald, December 13, 1868).
90 Main: Bishop’s Block, 1887, 31-02161, a city landmark, two-part commercial block,
highest rating in Kriviskey’s survey.
Bishops Block, 90 Main (HABS documentation).
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 5
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
This building represents the best design work of local architect F. D. Hyde. It
represents an early and massive warehouse design, one that attests to the growing
importance of jobbing and warehousing to the city’s economy. Marshall M. Walker,
wholesale grocers occupied the new building for five years, followed by the John T.
Hancock Company, and after 1908 the Western Grocery Company. The last named
was here into the 1950s.
99 Main: Joseph Motor Sales Company, auto showroom/garage building, 3102162c.1925.
The rear gable roof portion of this building pre-dates 1884 and served as the
livery for the Chicago Hotel which opened in 1870. As such it is a very early surviving
example of that building type and likely one of the earliest ones extant. Auto firms
continued to occupy this building until after World War II. McGhee Hatchery and Farm
Supply Store was here by 1964 and that firm survived as of 1988 as the Sweeney Surge
Dairy Equipment Sales and Service Center (HABS documentation).
210-12 West First Street, 31-04750
This three-story, double block, two-part commercial block occupies the southwest
corner of Main and First streets and is under rehabilitation. The corner store measures
20x62 with floor heights of 12 feet (ground), 8.5 feet (second and third). The building
was previously covered with a metal slip cover and has not been available for
evaluation.The building is currently covered with scaffolding and it is impossible to obtain
a good photograph of it. The west side wall has been completely replaced with new
appropriate brickwork. The façade and cast iron storefronts are being restored. Many
windows were consolidated using steel I-beams and the challenge will be to reconstruct
the original fenestration. The storefronts are very well preserved. One exceptional
feature is what appears to be an internal relieving arch of brick that runs across the
center of the plan, north to south. This block consists of three storefronts, all of which
are dated to 1865-70. Robert Jess operated a grocery/saloon in the eastern double
storefront 1865-96. It housed saloons well after that period. Edward McLane is known
to have built a three-story double brick storefront at Main and First in 1870, costing $45,000 (Herald, December 18, 1870; Times, December 18, 1870). J. and P. Sullivan built
the westernmost storefront to house their harness making firm in 1870, and remained
there through 1913. The three-story building measured 20x45 (Times, December 18,
1870).
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 6
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
214 West First Street, 1988 appearance
Group 3: Buildings located west of Main Street: These three buildings, while smaller in scale,
are contiguous and represent an early and important range of commercial building types.
245-49 West First-31-04751: US Cellular/Pawsitively Pets (current tenants), double
block, pre-1872.
As of 1884-91 this was the three-story Montana House. There was a saloon on the
ground floor in the west storefront. A two-story connection led to the hotel livery
immediately north. By 1909 the storefronts had a barber and restaurant, west to east.
By 1936 a woodworking shop was in the east half. A produce warehouse was there in
1962. The three-story plan (two-part commercial) measures 40x45 and there is a singlestory 40x20 brick rear addition. Floor levels measure 6.5 feet (basement), 12.5 feet
(ground floor), 11 feet (second) and nine feet (third).
231 West Second-31-04752: Dubuque Cracker Bakery, Hartsock & Simpson Block,
Kitchens By Bakey/Relm House current tenants, double three-story brick block, 1857.
This building appears to be and is documented to be one of the oldest surviving
commercial buildings in the city, dating to 1857. Hartsock & Simpson built a doublestorefront three-story brick building for $7,000 in 1857 (Herald, March 8, 1857). J. E.
Fairbank’s Dubuque Steam Bakery was in operation at this site as early as 1869. He
added the two-story building to the west in 1872 at a cost of $3,800 (Times, November
23, 1872). His firm is listed here through 1876 and he enlarged an oven at the cost of
$2,000 in 1879 (Times, November 16, 1879). The 1884 Sanborn Map shows E. W.
Alsee’s Dubuque Cracker Bakery here. This building was a flour warehouse. There was
a two-story rear storage building with a first floor stone wall construction. A square-cut
first story porch projected from the east half of the building. Albee’s firm, renamed the
American ___ Cracker Company, remained as of 1891 and in 1908 made $2,000 in
improvements to the building (Telegraph-Herald, December 27, 1908). The porch
remained. The company boiler was underground beneath the street. By 1909 a cigar
box factory occupied the two-story west end, a milk store the right hand side, and a tin
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 7
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
shop the left hand side of the three-story portion. By 1936 a garage was to the west, the
porch was gone and a side exterior stairway was on the alleyway. By 1962 a tire service
was to the west, and the stairs remained. Directories place Thompson & Hogan grocery
in 231 West 2nd 1925-41, followed by Vincent J. Hogan, grocer, as of 1952. There were
three or four apartments above the two stores. 235 West Second housed the American
Taxi Company in 1921, Crystal Garage (1925), the Dubuque Supply Company (1934)
and the Continental Baking Company (1952).
District Gains and Losses Since National Register Listing:
The narrow, elongated district was particularly vulnerable to the loss of integrity through
demolition, particularly because it was listed with numerous pre-existing vacant lots or large newer
buildings such as the Julien Inn. As of 1962 there were vacant parcels only in the 100s block (east
side, 136-46 and a half lot to the south) and the 300s block (northwest corner at Third, the bus depot
being on the corner with a vacant half lot to the north. When the district was listed in 1982, 260-70
Main had been demolished and 290-98 Main rebuilt or reduced to a single-story building. A major
three-story triple storefront, 201-21 Main had been demolished, and three buildings, flanking 345 Main,
had been lost.
Of the original 33 buildings surviving at the point of listing in 1982, at least five more have been
lost, the most notable being the Merchant’s Hotel and Annex, which subsumed storefronts at 304-310320. It’s loss and its replacement was a faux Queen Anne block was by far the most serious integrity
impact to the district since it’s listing in 1982. Not only was the Merchant’s Hotel the last surviving preCivil War hotel, but its loss, coupled with the demolition of 310 Main, left a massive visual gap in the
district, one that is exacerbated by the presence of the massive Julien Hotel immediately south. The
total number of buildings lost numbered six storefronts in this block alone (demolition permits are found
for 300, 304, 306-10, and 336 Main for 1999-2000). Another casualty was 301 Main, the single-story
remnant, taken down in 1999. Finally 106 Main, a four-story double front, was demolished, increasing
the already large void on that block front.
Today there is no fully intact block the entire length of the district. The 100s block most closely
approximates this, and its east side is a fragment of what it once was. What now barely holds the
district together is the sheer visual strength of the west side of Main between First and Third. The
center of the district is devastated visually by the combined impact of the Julien Hotel, the noncontributing building to the north, and then the new construction at 300 Main. A huge vacant area on
the west side of Main beginning at 3rd compounds this cumulative void. One wonders what might have
been gained had the new building occupied the parking lot on the west side of Main, leaving the historic
buildings in place?
The construction of U.S. Highway 61 immediately south of the district during the late 1980s
demolished the smallest possible number of buildings given the larger number that were HABS
documented in anticipation of their demolition. Of those buildings lost (all of the buildings on the west
side of Main Street, from Jones to 65 Main, demolition permits were drawn in 1988-89 for 41, 51, 56,
64, 68 Main) just two appear to have been significant losses. These were 64 Main, Jackson Vinegar
Company Warehouse, built in 1913 for $45,000 (Telegraph-Herald, December 23, 1913), and Ede’s
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 8
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Robe Tanning Company Factory, 41 Main Street, built 1906 (Telegraph-Herald, December 30, 1906).
The 64 Main building offered one of the better examples of applied geometric design overlaid on a
traditional faux cast iron storefront. The Ede factory was historically significant and interpreted the
industrial role of this part of the city as well as the importance of processing hides from the slaughter
house industry. Highway design considerations and not historic preservation concerns appear to have
determined what was lost. In the end, the very best buildings were saved and it would be difficult to
comprehend the loss had the right-of-way followed First Street and caused the removal of the Bishop’s
Block.
As a whole the district has had its ups and downs relative to historic restorations. The
demolition and construction of the Main Street Iowa Welcome Center and a related parking ramp.
damaged the foundations of several adjacent historical buildings. Recent fires severely damaged 342
and 180 Main. Just one historic tax act project (the Cooper Building) has been completed and it was
problematic for many years. The large yet narrow building at 100 Main has received all new windows
and is being redeveloped for housing. Currently the middle portion of the district is enjoying a
resurgence in specialty shopping, restaurants and coffee houses. It won’t be long until the issue of infill
construction will become an issue.
A review of photographs taken by Betty McAndrew in 1986 clearly indicates that numerous
storefronts have been restored and a number of very contemporary storefront infills have been
removed. At least two storefronts were restored using state restoration grants
Contributing/Non-Contributing Status:
One measure of strength for the district is the predominance of contributing properties in the
face of demolitions. Just five addresses are non-contributing although admittedly two of these are
imposing buildings. 156 Main is a one-story remnant of a larger building. 200-220 Main is the Julien
Inn. 290-98 Main is new construction. 300 Main is the new Iowa Welcome Center. 365-75 Main is
also recent construction. The total contributing count is 26, non-contributing seven.
District Description:
The Old Main Street District climbs up the southernmost edge of the raised terrace upon which
the city and downtown first developed. The lowermost portion of the district, but more particularly the
land to the south and east, was massively raised and drained over time by successive filling operations.
In fact the south end of Main Street, below Second Street, tended to be less commercial, and more
jobbing and warehouse oriented for much of its history. This role is strongly represented by all of the
larger blocks in that portion of the district. The 300s block is more typically commercial in its
architecture and the buildings reflect the presence of stores, offices and banks in that area. The sheer
commercial importance of the district is reflected in the fact that almost all of the historical buildings are
at least three stories tall, and many others even taller.
Building Inventory and Historical and Architectural Notes:
100 Main Street: 31-02163, 1910 (Sanborn date)
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 9
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
This five story two-part commercial block housed a wholesale drug firm c.1909-62. This
building is of fireproof reinforced concrete construction and likely is one of the city’s earliest examples
of a taller building employing that method of construction. Its windows have recently been completely
replaced and the property is being re-developed.
First and Main streets, view west, c.1975
(Center for Dubuque History, Photo BSM #122)
[106-20 Main Street-31-02165, non-extant, four story building), 1906.
Dennis Brothers Wholesale Flour & Feed relocated to this parcel and built this four-story
building in 1906 at a cost of $20,000 (Telegraph-Herald, December 30, 1906). The firm was still here
as late as 1948. A wholesale drugs firm was here as of 1962. The Chicago-Dubuque Motor
Transportation Company and Stampfers Bakeries were here as of 1952. The building was demolished
after the district was listed.]
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 10
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Pre-1910 photo, viewed to the northeast, note the absence of 100 Main
(Greater Dubuque, 1911)
101-23 Main Street: O’Neill Block, 31-02164, pre-1884, 1903
Building dimensions are 68x80 with a 34x24 wing in the southwest corner. Floor heights are
seven (basement), 13 feet main floor, and nine feet above that. This is a two-part commercial block
and double storefront. The notable feature is the stepping forward of the upper brickwork midway
between each floor and the use of elongated brick window hoods which rise from the mid-point of this
protruding wall plane (mid-point of the window sash) and run all the way upwards to the window tops.
This occurs on both floors, the hoods being rounded on the second floor and squared on the third.
There is a centered brick pediment with nameplate. The 1884 Sanborn Map indicates the presence of
a telegraph office (second floor) and grocery, clothing store and saloon in the three storefronts from
south to north. The southern storefront historically housed groceries, from as early as 1859.
Implement dealers and commission houses ruled through the 1870s and 1880s, but the grocery was
back by 1890. William Lawther, the candy maker to the north, purchased this block just prior to 1903
and “remodeled and modernized it, making it one of the most modern improvements.” Heat was
supplied from the candy factory (Enterprise, December 19, 1903). 103 Main was termed the “Lawther
Block” as of 1909 and Novelty Iron Works had a office here then. Earle Brokerage Company was in
103 1909-34, as was Meade & Sullivan grocers (1913), followed by John McKeown (1918-25).
Gladstone Flats were at 113 Main as of 1909-41 (eight units). 121 Main housed the Sylvester Dike
Boiler Compound (1909-18), an altar company (1918), tire sales (1921), was vacant 1921-23, a
construction company (1948) and Schmid Realty and a beauty shop in 1952.
129 Main Street: Knippel’s Religious Goods, 31-02166, post-1872, pre-1884
This is a narrow two-part commercial block (19x68 front, 19x41 rear extension) with floor
heights of 7.5 feet (basement), 11.5 ground floor and above. This is a three-story building. This
building was a bakery as of 1884-1909, with Henry Sussman’s bakery here as of 1899-1924. Martin
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
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Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Carroll’s bakery preceded him, from 1875-91. The building likely post-dates 1871, given the absence of
a bakery here prior to that year as well as the fact that the 1872 lithograph shows a two-story building
here. This building and the bakery suffered damage when the Lawther Candy Factory was destroyed
by fire in 1906 (Telegraph-Herald, September 23, 1906).
Lagomarcino-Grupe Wholesale Fruit Company, 136-148 Main Street (non-extant),
this building pre-dated 1872 and as of 1884 housed a agricultural implements firm, a flour and grain
dealership and book bindery occupied the building in 1891 (Greater Dubuque, 1911)
137-53 Main Street: William Lawther Candy Company, 31-02167, 1907
This is an imposing two-part commercial block, five stories in height (75x114, floor heights of
10.5 (basement), 14 feet (ground) and 11-12 feet above that level). Wall thicknesses are 24” up to the
top of the second story, then 20” at the third floor, and 16” for the top two levels. The elevator is in the
south center of the plan, power plant in the southwest corner. Stairs are in the southeast corner. This
building replaced its burned predecessor in 1907 and cost $75,000. It featured a Bedford stone and
pressed brick front. The building has its origins as a three-story double-front, in 1872 when Lawther
installed a new storefront. J. H. Roach, confectioner, first appears at 137 Main in 1880. Roach & Co. is
there through 1884 (Sanborn Map), was replaced by the Key City Steam Candy Factory as of 1890.
William Lawther Candy Company occupied the building beginning in 1891 (Sanborn Map) and
remained through 1913, perhaps 1925. Sanborn Maps show two-four story buildings by 1891, and the
present building by 1909/36. A chemical company occupied the lower two floors by 1934, and Weber
Paper was here as of 1962. The 1909/36 map shows brick faced tile side walls which argues for an allnew building. The Enterprise claimed that this was “the largest and longest established candy factory
in the state.” Lawther’s market extended into South Dakota, Minnesota, all of Iowa and Northern Illinois.
The evolution of the building is confirmed, from a double-front three-story block on the southern end,
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
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Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
gaining a fourth floor, and in 1902, a third four story front on the north end (Enterprise, December 19,
1903; Telegraph-Herald, December 29, 1907; Iowa Insurance Service Bureau Map, Lawther Building,
October 1944).
1903 image, view west (Enterprise, December 12, 1903)
Lawther Confectioners, view southwest, 145 Main, c.1890s
(Center for Dubuque History, Photo VDM 7911)
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Site Number 31-00002
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Continuation Sheet
Related District Number
Page 13
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
(Greater Dubuque, 1911)
The Telegraph-Herald observed December 29, 1907:
With the completion of the William Lawther Co.’s new factory at 137-145-153 Main
street, Dubuque will have become possessed of one of the finest factory buildings in the
state. After the disastrous fire which totally destroyed the Lawther factoryf some time
ago the company immediately laid plans to erect a new and bigger building than ever.
The structure is five stories high and has a basement. The front was made of Bedford
stone and pressed brick.
156 Main Street: Henry Kruse & Son Leather and Shoe Store, 31-02168, pre-1872
This building was non-contributing at the time of the district listing. The Assessor dates it to
c.1900 so it is likely a single-story remnant of a larger building, given its 13-feet high ground floor
ceilings. Kruse’s firm was here 1899-1913. Sanborn Maps show that the two-story original building,
which early houses groceries and confectionaries, pre-dated 1884. The 1872 lithograph shows a triplefront two-story block in place, this being the southernmost one-third of that block.
163 Main Street: 31-02169, c.1913? (Olde Towne Antiques)
This is a two-part commercial block, two stories high (22x114, floor heights of nine feet
(basement), 13 feet, ground level, and 11 feet second floor). This building might date to c.1909 at
which time a building extended all the way back to the alley. Dubuque Showcase and Cabinet Works
was here as of 1913.
169 Main Street: 31-02170, pre-1884 (Anderson Design)
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Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
This is a two-part commercial block, three stories in height (20x50, front portion, 20x40 back
portion, with ceiling heights of 10 feet in the basement, 9.6-11.6 on the ground floor, 9.6 on the second
floor, and nine feet on the third floor). This building pre-dates 1884 and housed Harris Notions, and as
of 1891, Harris Department Store. McMullen Real Estate was here 1909-52.
177- 85 Main Street: 31-02173, pre-1884 (Gordons/vacant)
The two halves of this block are separately owned and assessed. This is a two-part commercial
block. The south half measures 20x50 and there is a 20x40 one/two-story rear addition. The north half
measures 17.5x50 with a 40 feet long one story brick rear addition. Ceiling heights are 7.6 in the
basement, 12.6 on the ground floor, 10 feet on the second floor, and nine feet on the third floor. A
boots and shoes store occupied 177 as early as 1875 (John Phelan, through 1891) through 1925. A
wholesale candy firm was there in 1934.
180-82 Main Street: Counted as two buildings by state, 31-02174-180, and 31-0275-182, pre-1872.
The two halves of this block are separately owned and assessed. This is a two-part commercial
block. The plan measures 43.5x113 and the ceiling heights are 9.5 feet (basement), 13.6 on the
ground floor, and the same on the upper floor. The 1872 lithograph shows a triple-front two-story block
in place, these being the middle and northernmost two-thirds of that block. Both buildings fully
extended to the alley as of 1884. The current addresses appear by 1870. Confectioners, fruit stores,
and groceries occupied both halves through the 1890s. Duggan’s Hardware was in 182 under various
names 1899-1925 (this might be due to a miss-numbering, see below).
190-98 Main Street: Counted as two buildings by state, 31-02164-190, and 31-0278-192, pre-1884.
The two halves of this block are separately owned and assessed. This is a two-part commercial
block. The two parts are slightly uneven in length and might represent two buildings with a common
later-date frontage. 190 Main measures 20x70, with 10x20 two-story and 10x20 single story rear
additions. 198 Main measures 20.5x65, has two rear porch levels (20x7) and a single story rear
addition (20.5x20). Floor heights are the same in both halves, being seven feet in the basement, 10.5
feet on the ground floor, and 8.5 feet above that level. As of 1884, the stores were both 70 feet deep.
Dr. Asa Horr, a noted Dubuquer, had his office here as of 1870-71 (190 Main). James Odam ran a
boarding house in 198 and a notions store in 190 as of 1875. Duggan, Sullivan and Kinsells Hardware
was in 190 as of 1880 and remained through 1899, possibly moving south one store at that time. Trenk
Wire Work was here 1913-18. H. F. Trenk established the company in early 1881 and it claimed to be
the only wire factory west of Chicago and north of St. Louis (Dubuque Trade Journal, April 20, 1884).
The Burlington House hotel was in 198 Main as of 1899. Mrs. Cavanaugh ran a boarding house there
in 1880.
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 15
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Trenk Wire Works, 190 Main, 1915 City Directory
195-97 Main Street: Dubuque Glass Company, 31-02187, c.1875, pre-1884
This is a two-part commercial block and is a double storefront. The southern half measures
30x114 and ceiling heights measure 13 feet at the ground level, 11 feet on the second floor, and 12.5
on the third level. Wholesale grocers (W. H. Rumpf, 1875-80, Rumpf, Hosferd & Ferring, 1883, Fred A.
Rumpf, 1890) occupied this building from its construction until the early 1890s. This building was
refaced in 1968
195 Main Street, view southwest (Greater Dubuque, 1911, p. 58)
The firm of B. L. and J. O. Platt, W. Buckingham, and E. E. Cornell and Company was
established c.1899 and produced overalls, shirts, trousers and employed 150 workers (Greater
Dubuque, 1911, p. 58). The building has been unified to a single tenant and is counted as one
property.
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Main, north from below 2nd Street, second Julien Hotel (1890) in right of center
200-20 Main Street: Julien Motor Inn, 31-02179
First Julien Hotel, view northeast (Center for Dubuque History, Photo LS602)
The Julien Hotel is a non-contributing property within the district. The first building was replaced
in 1890 (see photo above) and again in 1910. The second building appears in the picture that
precedes the one shown above. The present building was realigned to a north/west orientation,
substantially different from its predecessors.
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
West side 200s Main, view northwest, c.1890
(Center For Dubuque History, Photo 4683)
[205-29 Main Street, 1868-69, non-extant:
W. P. Large’s boots & shoes occupied the southern storefront of a triple-front block at 205-29
Main, shown above. By 1909 it was occupied by Eberhard B. Piekenbrock & Sons Shoe Manufacturers
on the upper levels and a retail business on the ground floor. The firm dated to 1866. It was still extant
as of 1962 but is no longer standing. Note the prominence of the Town Clock, then in its original
location above Eighth Street.
This is quite possibly the Marson Block, located on 2nd and Main. Builder John Keenan had the
contract and spent the winter of 1868-69 making preparations making casings, doors, to start the
building quickly in the spring. The building measured 78x114 stood three stories and had a stone
column front. The Herald reported “the walls are of unusual thickness, rendering the building one of the
strongest and most durable in the city. It is designed exclusively for accommodating the wholesale
trade,” three storefronts each with patent hoisting apparatus, $23,000 (Herald, December 10, 1868;
December 16, 1869).
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Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
View to the northwest, c.1911 (Greater Dubuque, 1911)]
233-41 or 251 Main Street: 31-02180, pre-1884
This is a two-part commercial block, three stories high. The two storefronts are of unequal
length, the southern one measures 21x114, while the northern one is just 54 feet deep with a 36-feet
long two-story rear addition. Ceiling heights measure eight feet (basement), 10.5 (ground floor), and
9.6 (upper floors). Caesar Brothers Confectionary was in 233 1875-80, followed by McLaughlin & Reilly
Booksellers by 1883. Liquor stores then were present through 1913. A grocer was in 241 as of 1875
(H. Meyer through 1883, Quade & Roddy, 1890). This is counted as two buildings.
253 Main Street: 31-02181, pre-1884
This is a two-part commercial block, three stories high. The plan measures 25x114, overall
height is 31.6 feet, with ceiling heights of eight feet (basement), 10.5 feet (ground level), and 8.5 feet on
the upper levels. This was a tin shop (Mason & Son) in 1884, wholesale grocery (Ryder Bros.) 1891,
and Plass Toggery Shop followed 1918-34.
261-263-269 Main Street: 31-02182, pre-1884
This is a two-part commercial block and contains three storefronts, three stories high. It is
counted as three buildings. The plan measures 48x50 (three stories) with a 48x30 single-story rear
brick addition. Ceiling heights measure 8.5 feet (basement), 14 feet (ground floor), 10 feet (second)
and 9.5 feet on the upper floor. The numbers 261-65 appear in directories by 1880 at which time Jake
Sievers had a hotel there. He remained as of 1883 with a restaurant and saloon in the two southern
storefronts. Sanborn Maps of 1884 fail to show the hotel. George Casutt had a billiards hall at 263-65
Main as of 1890, a saloon. The Tri-State Hotel occupied 265 Main 1913-1934. Bennett & Sons
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Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Undertakers and Doran & Kries Monuments were at 253 and 279 Main 1918-25. Lawther & Co. Real
Estate was in 261 Main 1909-52.
290-298 Main Street: State addresses as 284-90, 31-02183, post 1909/36.
This single-story double building was non-contributing at the time of the district listing. The
Assessor card for 290 Main dates same to c.1880 and gives the building dimensions as 43x113. A
double three-story building pre-dated 1884, its front half being full height, rear additions were two
stories high. As late as 1962 these buildings remained.
299 Main Street/206-10 West Third Street: Cooper, A. A., Building, 31-02184, 1868.
This is a two-part commercial block. It stands four stories high and the plan measures 64x114.
Ceiling heights are eight feet in the basement, 13.5 on the ground floor, 11.5 feet on the second floor,
10 feet on the third floor and nine feet on the fourth floor. The rear porches were replaced in 1978 and
the whole building was refurbished during the 1980’s-early 1990’s. The present building was extant as
of 1883, at which time it was called the A. A. Cooper Wagon Manufactury. That company extended to
the west side of the block and there was a catwalk across the alley to another four-story building. By
1891 that part of the block was even more built-up as part of the same firm. By 1909/36 this was called
the Austin Building and there were apartments on the upper floors. By 1962 there were West Third
Street storefronts addressed as 206-40. Cooper Wagon Co. was here as late as 1921/22. Cooper
erected this building on this corner in 1868 and added to the complex in 1881, 1882 and 1883. This
building is present on both the 1872 and 1884 lithographs.
(Dubuque Trade Journal, August 21, 1882)
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 20
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
West side of 300’s Main, looking northwest, note how the buildings are of varied height
(Center for Dubuque History, Photo KRK 2420)
300 Main Street, 31-04754, Iowa Welcome Center.
This is all-new construction, executed in a faux-Queen Anne fashion. It is non-contributing to
the district and is not a model for future infill construction, unless an argument can be made for making
new designs obviously modern.
[301 Main Street: 31-02185, single story building demolished 1999]
[304-10 Main Street: (non-extant, demolished 1999, 31-02186)
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Merchant’s Hotel, 1858, view northwest, photo c.1890 (Dubuque County Historical Society)]
[320 Main Street: 31-03206 (non-extant, demolished 2000, annex)]
[330-36 Main Street, 31-02187, non-extant, demolished 2000, three story building]
336 Main Street, non-extant (Greater Dubuque, 1911)
[339 Main Street, pre-1884, non-extant, demolished post-1962, pre-1982, no state site number found.
The Assessor addresses this property as 327-35 Main. This is a two-part commercial block.
The 1884 Sanborn Map indicates that this was a short, square three-story double block. M. J. Mulgrew
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Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
had a bakery in the south half 1880-91. The 1884 Sanborn Map places a marble shop next door,
although the directories place John Reinecke, marble dealer, at 336 Main in 1880, with no 1883 listing.]
342 Main Street: German Bank, 31-02188, 1903
Architect’s drawing, Williamson & Spencer, 342 Main (Enterprise, November 3, 1901)
This is a two-part commercial block. This three-story plan measures 30x56 with a 30x43 singlestory rear addition (ceiling heights measure nine feet at the basement level, 16 feet on the ground floor,
and 10 feet on the upper floors). Two serious fires in 2002 and 2003 closed the Silver Dollar
bar/restaurant. The architects termed their design Italian Renaissance in style. The bank featured a
three-story vault, first story granite piers, and central bay windows. This bank replaced an earlier threestory building built in 1881 (the first building dated to 1856) that also held the same banking house. It
was at this address as early as 1890. The bank was renamed in 1918 and remained here as the
Pioneer Trust & Savings Bank through 1925. It was then a tavern.
345 Main Street: 31-02189, pre-1891
A two-story single storefront was on this site as of 1884, with the same short front section and it
is most probable that this building gained a floor between that year and 1891.
356-364 Main Street: Bonson’s Block, 31-02191, 1874
This is a double storefront, two-part commercial block. It is counted as a single building. This is
a broader plan (43x113) with ceiling heights of 10 feet (basement), 14 feet (ground level) 12 feet
(second) and 11 feet (third). Architect/contractor John Keenan built this three-story block (43x114) for
owner Richard Bonson in 1873. The first tenant firm was William C. Chamberlain’s hardware and seed
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
store. The building featured a cut stone front, massive iron columns and French plate glass, and was
valued at $15,000. It was then addressed as 62-64 Main. J. C. Christman, Hardware was already at
356 Main by 1875.
Bonson’s New Block, 1874 (Times, February 17, 1874)
364-56 Main (Enterprise, September 26, 1903)
The 1884 Sanborn Map shows a full-length double storefront in place, housing a dry goods warehouse.
The famous John Bell & Company Dry Goods Company, the firm that occupied the Clock Tower
Building when it collapsed, was in this building as of 1880 and 1883. Jaeger, Lang & Co. wines and
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
liquors were here as of 1899-1903, being followed by numerous clothing stores, including Roshek
Brothers as of 1925. Peoples Natural Gas occupied the building in 1962 (Herald, May 20, November
11, 1873, February 17, 1874).
364-56 Main (Greater Dubuque, 1911)
Jones Brothers Garment Company was established c.1899 and incorporated in 1907 at
$50,000. It employed 50 skilled workers and five salesmen (Greater Dubuque, 1911, p.72).
Bishop & Bishop, Shirt & Pennant Manufacturers (Greater Dubuque, 1911)
This firm was established c.1908 and produced tailor made shirts and shirtwaists.
372 Main Street: 31-02192, 1910-11 (Ellen’s Floral)
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 25
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
This is a two-part commercial block. This is a shorter and narrower storefront (2x113) with floor
elevations of 9.5 feet (basement), 10.5 (ground) and 12 feet on the second floor. This fireproof building
replaced a three-story building. Henry W. Kruse, hides and furs occupied this address as early as 1891
and remained here through 1909. H. H. Mehlhop’s cigar store was here as of 1925.
372 Main Street (Greater Dubuque, 1911)
372 Main Street, (Greater Dubuque, 1911)
John Mehlhop started a wholesale grocery in the city c.1850 and established a five-state market
area. H. H. Mehlhop succeeded him c.1901 and made a specialty of importing teas and fine cigars.
His new building was termed the “most nearly fireproof structure in the city” was built by 1911 “in the
heart of the business district” (Greater Dubuque, 1911, p. 44).
365-375 Main Street: 31-04753, prior to 1962.
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
This building was non-contributing at the time of the district listing as 353-75 Main. It is a triplestorefront, single-story plan.
378 Main Street: 31-02193, pre-1884.
This is a two-part commercial block. The plan measures 20x113, with ceiling heights of 7.5 feet
(basement), 14 feet (ground), and 11 feet on the upper levels. Healy Bros. Hardware was here in 1880,
Christman & Healy Hardware in 1883-99, G. F. Kauffman, millinery was here 1925-34.
391-95 Main Street: 31-02194 as 395 Main, pre-1884
This is a two-part commercial block. The plan measures 44x114 with floor levels of seven feet
(basement), 11 feet (ground), 10.5 feet (second), and 12 feet (third). The present brick storefront dates
to 1982. Sanborn Maps show that the southern half is slightly shorter, the other extends fully to the
alley. The 1884 map shows third floor lodge rooms in the north half. Iron posts support the lower floor.
P. M. Platt’s Clothing Store was in 395 Main as of 1875. The Boston One Price Clothing Store was
here as of 1890-1899. By 1913 this was a garage and the Dubuque Overland Auto Company was here
as of 1918.
396-98 Main Street: 31-02195 as 398 Main, pre-1884
This is a two-part commercial block. The storefront has been built in and unified and the
building counts as one building. The plan measures 44x113 with ceiling heights of 10.5 feet
(basement), 14 feet (ground), and 11 feet on the two upper levels. The building was converted to
residential shelter use beginning in 1996, and the work was completed four years later. The 1884
Sanborn Map indicates the use of iron column supports and the presence of third floor lodge rooms.
John Melhop had a grocery here in 1875, followed by Schroeder & Kleine by 1883-90, who were also
grocers. John Ellwanger, wines & liquors, was here from 1899 through 1913. The Dubuque High
Bridge Company was here 1899-1909.
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
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Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Ballin & Kaufman, 4th and Main, 1888
(Times, November 29, 1888)
405 Main Street: Orpheum Theater, 31-02196, 1910
This building was built as the Majestic Theater in 1910, costing $70,000. This corner has
always been a theater site since the founding of the city. The first substantial opera house was here as
of 1882. The Bijou Theater was built in 1909 and was burned the next year. This building replaced it in
1910. By the 1930s this was known as Spensley’s Orpheum Theater. The historic theater serves as a
fitting northern “bookend” to the district. The new Five Flags Theater complex is not included in the
district.
8. Narrative Statement of Significance:
The Old Main Historic District, despite its many losses since it was listed, comprises many of
Dubuque’s earliest surviving commercial buildings, and includes a number of very significant historical
buildings. The district represents the city’s earliest commercial street and the last remnant of what was
always the heart of the city’s downtown center. The intermixing of industrial and jobbing, wholesale
firms with retailers is reflective of the historic mixed land use model in the city.
The individual building histories indicate that nearly all of the buildings or building cores pre-date
1884. Necessarily storefronts or storefront ornamentation frequently represents much later
construction dates and these dates are more difficult to document. Many buildings had their origins in
the substantial post-Civil War rebuilding of the downtown. A number represent the onset of the
wholesaling (mid-1850s) and jobbing industry (mid-1870s) in the city during those same years.
The downtown streets are not aligned with compass directions and do not parallel the river. The
original downtown located on the southern edge of a fairly broad raised terrace. Even today, the
elevation drops considerably to the south from Second Street, as well as east from Main Street, and
Main Street turns to the west below First Street. This deviation was necessitated by the presence of
slough land directly below the downtown proper. As the map shown below indicates, much of what is
now raised and solid ground to the east and south of lower Main Street, was originally open water or
wetlands seasonally. Considerable filling in those directions was carried on throughout the history of
the city.
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 28
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Why Main Street (darkened) was angled west below First Street
(Plat copied from 90 Main abstract)
Lithographic aerial view, 1872
(Birds Eye View of the City of Dubuque, Iowa, 1872)
This excerpt from the 1872 city lithograph graphically shows how close the downtown proper
was to the sloughs which separated the city from the Mississippi River to the east. The area south of
Main Street was infilled first by the causeways which connected to the lower wharf, and then by the
railroads, which established their stations and yards in this area. The streets within the district proper,
particularly east of Main and south of First, were raised up dramatically so as to provide additional
flood-proofed building sites.
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State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 29
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
1858 overview (Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, October 24, 1858)
The Dubuque downtown was located along Main between 1st and 3rd streets. Already by 1853
the center of this district was gravitating northward, and the first hard surfaced street was on Main
between 5th and 6th streets. Beginning in the mid-1850s brick buildings began to displace the original
frame store buildings. By 1857 a strong wholesale trade was moving the city’s economy beyond local
retail trade and lead mine receipts. By 1862 the most valuable portion of Main Street was between 6th
and 7th streets where the banks (at 6th) and post office (7th) clustered.
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Site Number 31-00002
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Continuation Sheet
Related District Number
Page 30
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
th
Main Street, view south from 4 Street, 1858 (Ballou)
This 1858 lithograph depicts a distinctly different commercial architecture. The buildings are no
more than three stories high. The facades are plainly finished and there are few protective awnings
and fewer fancy cornices.
Main Street, 1858, view north from below 2
nd
Street (Ballou)
The two buildings on the southeast corner of Main and 2nd streets appear to survive today (29098 Main Street). If true, they are likely the earliest commercial examples in the city apart from the City
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 31
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Hall and other public buildings. Note the prevalence of frame stores on the west side of Main in both of
the 1858 views.
1865 downtown business guide (Annual Directory, 1865)
(the southern half of the downtown appears in the right-half of the image)
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 32
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
This commercial directory underscores the languishing in importance of the south end of Main
Street. Perhaps subscribers were simply loathe to make the small payments to be listed, at any rate
few entries are to be found below 2nd Street.
District detail, 1872 lithograph, First Street (left) to Fourth Street (right).
This second detail focuses on the district proper, and Main Street runs diagonally across the
center of the image. A good number of two-story blocks remained on Main Street and several larger
blocks were side-gable plans. Note the considerable building up of First Street, as well as along the
east side of Locust Street. The latter street was filled with largely industrial and warehousing land uses
at its southern end. The same was true of Iowa Street, shown in the lower part of the image. The
sheer scale of commercial building up is the important point of the picture. All of the key buildings or
their antecedents, were present, save for the southern end of the district.
Dubuque was proud of its downtown but their pride transcended simple community loyalty and
boosterism. When Main Street was double tracked for streetcars in mid-October 1884, the Trade
Journal observed that “Main Street is assuming an appearance elegant and metropolitan.” It was this
“metropolitan” aspect that betrays the Dubuque perspective. They aspired to and believed that their
downtown had achieved a scale that rivaled the larger cities. This went way beyond the parochial goal
of out-pacing competing Iowa cities (Dubuque Trade Journal, October 10, 1884).
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 33
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
1889 Lithographic Aerial View
(Perspective Map of the City of Dubuque, Iowa, 1889)
This second overview post-dates the 1872 image by 17 years. Surprisingly little has changed
along the lower end of Main Street. The only building up has occurred on the 300s block, along the
east side of Main Street. Notably the massive Bishop’s Block was present and signified a more
intensive development of Main Street below First Street. Similar southward development had taken
place along Iowa and Locust streets.
Panoramic view, Main between Third (left) and Jones (right), view east from the bluffs
(Center For Dubuque History, Loras College, Photographs, Hoffman # 012412)
This overview looking east from a vantage point above West First Street, profiles the Main
Street district, set against the backdrop of the river and the Ice Harbor. This photograph was taken
c.1890. The Lawther Candy factory is the four-story building at left of center.
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 34
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Main Street viewed south from Third Street, c.1910 (Greater Dubuque, 1911)
This image pre-dates the destruction by fire of the second Julien Hotel in 1910. Note the
perfunctory appearance of the facades to the north of the hotel in the 200s block. None of the buildings
offer metal cornices. Note the lower profiles of the buildings in the 100s block, along the east side of
Main Street. These are two-story blocks but they appear lower due to the drop in elevation to the
south. The turret cap of the Bishop’s Block is visible to the south.
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 35
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Panoramic view, Main Street between Fourth and just below Third Street, c.1910
(Greater Dubuque, 1911)
This image complements the preceding one, depicting the upper end of the district area. The
second Julien Hotel is visible at far right. The five-story building visible just north of the hotel is on Iowa
Street. The Cooper Wagon Works is visible in the right foreground, extending west to Locust Street.
The five-story Bell Brothers Clothing Factory, visible at the lower left, is at Fourth and Locust streets.
The black-roofed long building, visible to the left of center, on the west side of Main, above Third Street,
is the Admiral Hotel, formerly the Germania House.
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Site Number 31-00002
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Related District Number
Page 36
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Aerial view to the north, c.1960
This image nicely depicts the commercial dominance of Main Street, as well as the larger
industrial and warehousing plants along Iowa (to the east of Main) and Locust (west of Main). The
downtown center is well to the north, where the tallest buildings cluster, and the Town Clock remains in
its original location at 8th and Main, dwarfed by its overgrown neighbors. Flatiron Park is visible at
bottom center, as are the railroad facilities and trackage that formed the riverfront boundary of the
downtown proper. Most of the buildings in the foreground and virtually all of the buildings fronting on
Iowa below 4th Street, are non-extant.
9. Major Bibliographical References:
City Directories, 1857-1952
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1884, 1891, 1909/36
Dubuque City Directories
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 37
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Bruce Kriviskey, Dubuque, Iowa--Architectural Survey 1978/1979, Atlas of City Wide and District
Survey Maps, Dubuque; n.p., c.1979
County Assessor’s Data
Birds Eye View of the City of Dubuque, Iowa, 1872
Perspective Map of the City of Dubuque, Iowa, 1889
HABS Documentation, December 1988 (Fraser, Clayton B., Fraserdesigns, Loveland Colorado)
Joseph Motor Sales Company Showroom, 99 Main Street, HABS No. IA-160-BP
Bishop’s Block, 90 Main Street, HABS No. IA-160-BA
80 Main Street, HABS No. IA-160-BC
76 Main Street, HABS No. IA-160-BD
Bennett House Hotel, 84 Main Street, HABS No. IA-160-BB
Peter Even and Son Auto Company Showroom, HABS No. IA-160-BO
Thomas J. Mulgrew Company Office Building, 30 Main Street, HABS No. IA-160-BK
Ede’s Robe Tanning Company Factory, 41 Main Street, HABS No. IA-160-BN
Jackson Vinegar Company Warehouse, 64 Main Street, HABS No. IA-160-BF
11
Additional Documentation:
Legal Description:
The west halves of Blocks 2, 5 and 6, the east halves of Blocks 3, 4 and 9, plus the Orpheum theatre
parcel in block 43.
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 38
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Map:
District Map
(heavy black lines denote current district, lesser line denotes potential additions)
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa Site Inventory Form
Continuation Sheet
Site Number 31-00002
Related District Number
Page 39
Old Main Historic District
Name of Property
Main Street, blocks 100-300
Address
Dubuque
County
Dubuque
City
Photographs:
Roll 7464:
Frame:
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
north, Main Street from 2nd
Cooper Building, southwest
east side of Main, below 3rd, northeast
west side of Main, below 2nd, northwest
northwest corner 2nd and Main, northwest
east side Main south of 2nd, northeast
O’Neill Block, northwest corner 1st and Main, northwest
east side Main, south of 1st, northeast
Roll 7465:
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
west side Main, south of 1st, northwest
same
east side Main, south of 1st, northeast
100 Main, northeast
vacant lot north of above, northeast
vacant lot, northwest corner 2nd and Main, northwest
same from further south
Main Street looking south from 300s block
New welcome center, east side 200s block of Main Street, northeast