Main Street Between 13th and 15th Streets, Dubuque, Iowa

I think Main and Locust streets in Dubuque might have the best preserved row of upper-middle to upper class houses from the 1870s to 1890s in the Midwest. While there are some losses, for the most part, the street wall looks much the same as if you could go back in time to 1890, and walk down the two parallel thoroughfares. It is amazing. Just look at the house above, which is now a funeral home. The lumber business made Dubuque fabulously wealthy for many, and it shows. Much of the posts over the next week are houses located in the Jackson Park National Register Historic District.

Walking south, there is one example of Italianate house after another, with a variety that we do not see in many American cities any more. There are gable roofs, hip roofs, paired windows and more types of lintels for windows

The houses above and below were clearly built at the same time (though the house above did not originally have those two porch columns and balustrade hmm…). Perhaps they were built speculatively, or were business partners, or maybe for two sisters as wedding gifts from their father.

And then this house, the Nicholas J. Schrup Residence, looks like a house we might see in the Central West End or Compton Heights. Designed by Fridolin Heer, the architect of the courthouse, it was completed in 1908. Schrup was a banker at the financial institutions downtown.

You know how difficult it is to curve wood like that? It’s super difficult. It involves soaking the wood, and then slowly, ever so slowly bending it without cracking it. It takes patience and incredible skill.

“Hey guys, we don’t have enough money for a full human statue of St. John the Evangelist. Want to just put an eagle statue to represent him in the niche instead? Fine? OK, good.”

After we pass by St. John’s Episcopal Church, we see more houses on the east side of Main Street, perhaps a little less grand, but still resplendent in the late afternoon sun.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Slevin Kelevra says:

    This is some great stuff, but I am ready for a return to our City!

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Soon, Sara, soon!

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