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AINSWORTH SPRINGS

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1906 location
1900 advertisement
AINSWORTH SPRINGS. In 1873 Ainsworth Springs was already enjoying immense popularity as a camping or picnic site. It was reported on August 15th, 1873 that nearly three hundred people belonging to the Congregational society using five passenger railroad cars for transportation spent the previous day at the springs for a picnic. (1) In 1878 Captain Wm. Dolson announced an excursion for the 4th of July. The steamer Emma and two or three barges decorated for the occasion were to leave the levee at 9:00 a.m. The first stop would be at EAGLE POINT to pick up more passengers and then proceed to Ainsworth Springs. Passengers wishing to go further could travel on to Cassville for an hour or two before everyone would return to Dubuque before night. The cost was fifty cents for the round trip. (2)

Buildings at the springs included a large pavilion which was used by 1898 for shelter and dancing. (3)

It was announced on May 21, 1902 by officials of the YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.) that the organization had purchased the "Orton cottage" at Ainsworth Springs. As the new owner, the cabin was to be used as a lodge for as many as twenty people for many outings organized by the organization during the summer. (4) That first year, the Y.M.C.A. used the cabin for only one month with all of the equipment returned to the city in September. In all, the camp was occupied one week each by the juniors, boys, young men, and business men's classes. (5) In 1903 officials announced that the cottage could be rented to friends of the organization during the months of August and September. (6)

As early as July, 1902, Fourth of July celebrations were held at Ainsworth Springs. Railroad transportation was available on the CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE, AND ST. PAUL RAILROAD or by boat. It was advertised that the "labor picnic" was expected to be one of the largest. (7)

In 1906 officials of the local Y.M.C.A. had for several years planned an annual camping trip to the springs. Each boy was to take a knife, fork, two spoons, one plate, cup and saucer, glass, oil or rubber blanket to put under ticking, one empty ticking for each two boys two pair of socks, one pair of tennis slippers, one extra suit of light weight underwear, one suit of heavy underwear for cold nights, one extra wood shirt, one extra outing shirt, one extra pair of pants, an extra coat and two dark blankets.

The camp that year from August 20th to 27th under the leadership of H. Lawrence Eddy, was to be operated like a military base with a captain appointed for every seven to eight boys. The schedule announced in the newspaper was: (8)

    Reville. . . . . . . . . . . .  6:30 a.m.
    Setting Up Exercises . . . . .  6:45 a.m.
    Mess . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7:00 a.m.
    Morning Hillside Watch . . . .  7:30 a.m.
    Sports . . . . . . . . . . . .  8:30-11:45 a.m.
    Policy Camp for a merit badge.  1:15 p.m.
    Sports . . . . . . . . . . . .  1:30-3:30 p.m.
    Swimming . . . . . . . . . . .  4:30-5:30 p.m.
    Camp Glee Club . . . . . . . .  3:00-4:20 p.m.
    Mess . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6:00 p.m.
    Camp Fire "Jolly"  . . . . . .  7:00-8:30 p.m.
    Taps . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9:30 p.m.

A popular camping site north of Dubuque, Ainsworth Springs was put up for sale on May 7, 1910 on the steps of the DUBUQUE COUNTY COURTHOUSE. (9)

In 1915 the members of the Lake Peosta Launch Club announced their annual picnic would be held at Ainsworth Springs. Fifty boats were expected to leave the 8th Street boat ramp to parade, in tandem, as far as the "upper bridge" at EAGLE POINT where ranks would be broken and each boat permitted to set its own speed. A program of boat races, foot races, and a baseball game were planned. (10)

There were no reports of the site being using after 1920.


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Source:

1. "The Excursion," The Daily Herald, August 15, 1873, p. 4

2. "One of the Excursions for the 4th," The Daily Herald, June 26, 1878, p. 4

3. "The River Event," The Dubuque Herald, July 16, 1898, p. 8

4. "Will be a Summer Cottage," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 21, 1902, p. 6

5. "To Abandon the Camp," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, September 4, 1902, p. 8

5. "Planning an Outing," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, June 25, 1903, p. 3

5. "City in Brief," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, July 1, 1902, p. 15

6. "Camp Life for Young America," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 5, 1906, p. 3

7. "City in Brief," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 1, 1910, p. 4

8. "Ready for Annual Picnic," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, June 16, 1915, p. 10