Dubuque is located along the Mississippi River at the junction of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It serves as the main commercial, industrial, educational, and cultural center for the Tri-State Area. One of the few cities in Iowa with hills, it is also a tourist destination featuring unique architecture and river views.
A Center for Culture with Five Institutions of Higher Learning
History the first permanent settler was pioneer Julien Dubuque, who arrived in 1785 to mine the area’s rich lead deposits. After the lead resources were exhausted, Dubuque became a center for the timber industry because of its proximity to forests in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Other major businesses included boat building, brewing and railroads. Diamond Jo Line established a shipyard at Eagle Point in 1878. Industrial activity remained the mainstay of the economy until the 1980s followed by diversification away from heavy industry towards tourism, high-tech and publishing in the 1990s.
Downtown Dubuque is the center of the city’s transportation and commercial sectors, and functions as the hub to the various outlying districts and neighborhoods. An area of special note is the Port of Dubuque which has seen a massive amount of new investment and new construction. The downtown area includes significant buildings, many of which are historic, reflecting the city’s early and continuing importance to the region.
The Story of Mobility in America
Maritime Museums in Historic Towns
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The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
River Works Discovery® educates children and their families about the commerce, culture and conservation of the great rivers of America and their watersheds. An outreach program of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and the National Rivers Hall of Fame. Curriculum is designed to engage the learner and encourage further exploration of our rivers. This multi-disciplinary program focuses on math, history, geography and mapping.
Mathias Ham Historic Site explore Dubuque’s rich history at our unique historic site. Owned and operated by the Dubuque County Historical Society and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this historic property includes the Mathias Ham House, Iowa’s oldest log cabin, the Humke Schoolhouse from Centralia, and a historic granary. Costumed interpreters provide guided tours of the site, sharing the rich history of Mathias Ham, the city of Dubuque, life on the Mississippi River, and life during the Victorian era.
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