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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN


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CITY DIRECTORY. Dubuque's first city directory was printed in 1855. An industrious printer named Adams found that Dubuque had a population of 12,056. Among the business statistics were the names of eleven hotels and sixty-six STREETS and avenues. John G. SHIELDS was the MAYOR; Mathias HAM, was an alderman. (1)

Only a limited number of the 118-page volume was printed. Within the introduction, the publishers expressed their sincere hope that city authorities would quickly see that the numbering of stores and dwellings was done along every street. Among the reasons this had not been done was the absence of maul delivery. Individuals were listed as

             McNier, James, Miner, r Locust between
             4th and 5th. (2) 

The numbering along Main Street was completed by August 26, 1873. (3)

Of the thirteen churches listed in 1855, only ST. LUKE'S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH and ST. RAPHAEL'S CATHEDRAL were standing in the same location in 1946. Two Masonic lodges were active: the Dubuque lodge had a hall on Main between 4th and 5th and the Metropolitan lodge at Fourth and Main. Only two business firms listed in 1855 were still operating under their same names--JULIEN HOTEL and the DUBUQUE FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY. Among the occupations listed in 1855 which were no longer listed in 1946 wre saddlers, daguerreotypist, carriage makers, and livery keepers. (4)

The directory in 1855 contained 116 pages with three-quarters devoted to advertising. Most of the business in the city was center around First and Fourth STREETS and most of the businesses purchasing advertising were listed in the area. (5)



1. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, August 26, 1873, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18730826&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. Duddleson, Irvin F. "First Directory in '55," Telegraph-Herald'Italic text, April 28, 1946, p. 12

3. "Caught on the Fly,"

4. Duddleson

5. Duddleson