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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.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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DELLS OF DURANGO. Billed as "Dubuque's new suburban resort," the "Dells" opened in July, 1935 to "offer something entirely new in entertainment and recreation to the people of Dubuqueland." Included at the resort was a large dance pavilion with a tap room, picnic grounds and recreation field, tourist cottages and rooms, and an auto-servicing station.

The pavilion with a floor 90 feet by 40 feet was to be available at all times for private parties and dinner-dance occasions. At these times, the pavilion would be operated cabaret style with large numbers of tables leaving ample room for dancing. A kitchen and service equipment was declared capable of handling parties of any size. This service was available on advance orders only when a special lunch menu would be served.

The upper floors of the pavilion were remodeled for tourist rooms. At the time of the opening of the "Dells," one tourist cabin had been finished. Fixtures for the building were manufactured by the METZ MANUFACTURING COMPANY. The automotive service center sold Cities Service products from the IOWA OIL COMPANY (IOCO).

The setting of the resort in a valley led the operators to use as a slogan, "It's Cool at Durango." The Sim Sham Club Orchestra, a summer report musical group, was featured for the opening evening. Dancing would be available every evening.



"Public Invited to Participate in Opening," Telegraph-Herald, July 21, 1935, p. 7