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Main Street, Between 2nd and 9th Streets, Dubuque, Iowa

Starting in the south at 2nd Street, at the Hotel Julien Dubuque, named after the founder of the City of Dubuque, we head north through the southern part of downtown on Main Street. To the east, much of the old industrial area was destroyed by a highway built in the 1960s. There was even a packing plant just a block or two away.

The revitalization that we’d seen up north in downtown has also come to this portion of Main Street, as well, with beautiful examples of Italianate storefronts.

This amazing bank building interrupts the Italianate row with amazing terracotta columns; the German Bank was one of the oldest financial institutions in Dubuque.

There is an opera house that is now a theater at one corner, with heavy white terracotta cornices.

Unfortunately, the mid Twentieth Century intervenes for a couple of blocks with its ugly, bland boxes and its obsessions with acres of asphalt parking lots, destroying the vibrant urban fabric which we can assume was once here, considering it exists to both the north and south of this area.

It picks up again to the north, with some newer buildings that are built up along the sidewalk, as they should be in a dense downtown environment.

Main Street was closed to traffic for a pedestrian mall, which like in most places in America, does not work as it does in Europe. The street has been opened back up now.

The Town Clock is an interesting story; it was built in 1864, but was moved when the building it was on was demolished and put in the middle of the street in 1971. I loved the 1970s and all the crazy urban renewal ideas!

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