Main Street Between 11th Street and 9th Streets, Dubuque, Iowa

I cut over from Locust Street towards Main Street; like many cities in America, living close to the central business district was once prestigious, before the noise and smoke of the automobile made it less desirable.

The incredibly beautiful Second Empire townhouses left behind along Main Street and its side streets remind me of what we lost in St. Louis, particularly in Mill Creek. St. Louis once had thousands of houses that looked just like this, and they were knocked down. Some rows like this still exist here and there, in Soulard for example. But not many.

Another style of commercial building, which again we once in abundance, is the three story Italianate storefront building. Below, one hundred years ago, the first ten buildings could have been a street scene in St. Louis.

Perhaps what aided in their salvation is that Main Street was never abandoned, but it never got too wealthy to necessitate the demolition of the historic buildings for new Modernist skyscrapers.

I like how Dubuque’s downtown still has a sense of hominess to it as well, where am “old school” place such as Yen Ching can survive, while I could also dine at the amazing Oolong Asian Cuisine, a newer restaurant, can peacefully coexist without concerns about gentrification.

Below, the American Trust and Savings Bank is a wonderful example of a rare style of architecture for a historic skyscraper, the Renaissance Revival. It is the second oldest bank in Dubuque, according to Encyclopedia Dubuque.

Just like a Florentine palazzo, there is a shield above the front portal. Much like the skyscrapers of Louis Sullivan, the buildings follows the exterior appearance of its Renaissance predecessor, but usually not so literally. The buildings, constructed in 1923, was originally the home of the Federal Bank and Trust Company.

Moving along, we see more examples of Italianate storefront architecture which survived the advent of newer buildings.

Finally, at the corner with 9th Street is this amazing terracotta clad building, which hugs the contours of its location, with a beautiful curved entrance accented with Corinthian columns.


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