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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.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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1926 photo. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
DUBUQUE GUN CLUB. In 1901 members of the Dubuque Gun Club offered a reward for the arrest and conviction of anyone POTHUNTING quail. (1) This was something of a new activity for the club which was primarily concerned with trapshooting competitions.

The first record of the club's existence was in January, 1885 when a notice appeared that the club would have a contest with the Greely club. (2) The next mention appeared in April as a reprint from the Burlington Gazette.

          The Dubuque Gun Club does its glass ball
          shooting on Sunday. This is much better
          than drinking and carousing. (3)

Sites for the trapshooting varied. In August, 1885 a newspaper account reported that the club had used Hooper's Island. (4) In November of that year, the last shoot of the season was held at the foot of Third Street. (5) Equipment was important in trapshooting. In September the newspaper reported that the club would be using its new Knoxville trap. (6) The club also had a rifle range.

The club attracted the attention of C. W. Budd, the world champion wing shot, in April, 1887. He used the occasion to display the guns of four companies he represented. Using a shotgun, Budd was able to kill twenty released Blue Rock pigeons in a row without a miss. (7)

Individuals began being named for their expertise in 1887. In May of that year, James W. CONCHAR led the contestants with 43 out of 46. (8) "Mr. Stennett," a member of the club, in competition at New Hampton took third place money in the first shoot, second in the second shoot, and first in the last two. (9) W. W. WORMOOD scored 205 out of 250 and Francis JAEGER scored 171 on the rifle range to defeat C. W. Budd who scored 147. (10)

Members listed in 1889 included George W. WUNDERLICH, David B. HENDERSON, James Forester, John GLOVER, Frank Jaeger, William S. MOLO, Frank Glab, Henry B. GLOVER, and William Jaeggi. (11)

The first annual tournament was held by the club on its grounds near the Shooting Park and Nutwood Driving Park on June 6-7, 1900. Officers of the included W. W. BONSON, president; Titus SCHMID, vice-president; Anthony F. HEEB, secretary-treasurer; Edward G. Imhof, assistant secretary-treasurer; and James O'Brien, field captain. The tournament was open to all amateurs. Professionals and equipment representatives were invited to participate and shoot for the price of the birds. An entrance fee of $1.50 was charged with five dollars added to each event by the club. Black-powder and 10-gauge guns were barred. (12) A. F. Heeb was the only local shooter to rank among the top eleven. His score of 303 out of a possible 360 placed him 8th with 328 being the best. (13).

The second annual tournament of the club began on May 28, 1901. In addition to local competitors, shooters came from Bellevue, Marshalltown, Elkader, Cedar Rapids, Williamsburg and Waterloo, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; Rochester, Minnesota; South Wayne, Indiana; Wabasha, Minnesota; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Portage, Wisconsin. (14) There were no local winners because no one entered in all events. (15) In December, fire destroyed the club house of the Dubuque Gun Club on the farm of Engelhardt Hemmi along the Sageville Road. (16)

The Shooting Park was the scene of the third annual target tournament. (17) Interest was again high with between ninety and one hundred competitors.

Tournament activity returned to the Shooting Park on May 26-27, 1903. The fourth annual target tournament drew celebrities of the sport including Tom Marshall, captain of the All American team; Fred Guilbert, native Iowan with an international reputation, and C. W. Budd who in 1903 had held more championships than any other shooter. (18) In the same month, the club took action making the last Thursday of each month an open house to the ladies interested in playing cards. An orchestra would furnish music for diners from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. and dancing until midnight. (19)

The Gun Club returned to its traditional site across from the Shooting Park in 1904. Celebrities including Marshall, Budd and Guilbert were again invited. The grounds were decorated with flags of different nations and refreshments were served at the Shooting Park. The gun club offered three traps freshly painted in white. The club house was painted red and white. (20) In September the club closed its season with an awards program. Weekly competition was held during June, Juy, August and September. Winners of three of the four month's were given trophies. In Class A, F. M. Jaeger was the winner. Ed Ryan won Class B. J. J. Murphy won all four months. (21)

In 1905 the same three celebrities attended the tournament in June.

In 1906 the Dubuque Gun Club was the recipient of a trophy from Dupont Powder Company of Wilmington, Delaware. The trophy was to be awarded to the winner of the handicap shoot held during the months of June, July and August on the local grounds. It was expected that there would be additional prizes offered by ammunition companies. (22)

By 1909 the membership of the club had declined to thirty. (23) A "joint shoot" was held with the Manchester club in May, 1910, but it was not considered a tournament. (24) In 1911 the club's first and second squads were both victorious in a competition held in Platteville, Wisconsin with their local club. (25)

In 1912 despite scaled back activities, the club hosted Jay R. Graham, the winner of the world's trapshooting championship at the Olympics. A representative of a major ammunition company, Graham presented an exhibit of his shooting ability. (26)

Graham returned to give an exhibition in August, 1913. (27) Through the efforts of the club, a game preserve was established at NEW MELLERAY MONASTERY and the first consignment of PHEASANTS was released in October, 1913. In 2017 there were no further notices in the online record of the Telegraph Herald of the club having any activity.

A new club by the same name was organized around 1923 and by 1924 had a membership of around sixty members. In April the membership was invited to a shooting contest at the Frank Fincel farm along Peru Road. Both Mr. and Mrs. Fincel were experienced trapshooters and modern equipment had been installed for the sport. (28)

In June, 1924 the club hosted its first annual registered trapshooting tournament near Center Grove. There were expected to be from 75 to 100 entrants with many having state or national reputations. One of those was Fred Gilbert of Spirit Lake, Iowa who was nationally known as a "98% shooter." Some professional shooters representing arms and ammunition businesses were also to participate. One of the local favorites was J. A. Stipp who had recently won the Iowa state competition breaking 47 targets out of 50. Another favorite was Frank Fincel. The club only had two traps with one of these held for use in case of emergency. (29) Mrs. E. L. King of Winona, Minnesota and Charles Hummell of LaPorte City tied for high honors with records of 142 out of 150 targets. Mrs. King's high run was 42 targets without a miss. (30)

On June 28, 1925 the club had a special Wife Day at the Center Grove trapshooting site. The inexperienced shooter was said to have the advantage. (31)

The second annual registered trap shoot at the Center Grove Traps was held on July 12 1925. Shooters from Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota were expected with a special invitation to women who wished to participate. Membership in the club has risen to forty-five. (32)

Practice times were offered club members at the Fincel farm or the Center Grove range between competitions. On September 13, 1925 members of the Dubuque Gun Club hosted shooters of the Hilltop Gun Club from East Dubuque at Center Grove. (33) In a similar event held in September 1926 Frank Fincel won top honors breaking 383 targets out of a possible 400 at an event held in East Dubuque. (34)

In 1927, the last reference to the club in the online reference to the Telegraph Herald, the club held a shooting match to honor William Kaynor, a charter member of the club and its secretary for many years, before his move out of the city. (35)



1. "Is a Good Move," The Dubuque Daily Herald, October 3, 1901, p. 8

2. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald, January 18, 1885, p. 8

3. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald, April 3, 1885, p. 8

4. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald, August 8, 1885, p. 4

5. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald October 16, 1885, p. 4

6. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald September 12, 1885, p. 4

7. "Good Shooting," The Dubuque Herald, April 7, 1887, p. 4

8. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald May 8, 1887, p. 8

9. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald May 20, 1887, p. 4

10. "Good Shooting"

11. "Dubuque Gun Club," The Herald, August 17, 1889, p. 4

12. "To Shoot Here in June," The Dubuque Herald, April 10, 1900, p. 6

13. "Broke Many Clay Birds," The Dubuque Herald, June 8, 1900, p. 8

14. "Gun Club Shoot," Dubuque Daily Telegraph, May 28, 1901, p. 3

15. 'The Shoot Ended," Dubuque Daily Telegraph, May 30, 1901, p. 5

16. "Cows in a Fire," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, December 20, 1901, p. 8

17. "A Gun Club Meet," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 25, 1902, p. 5

18. "Big Tournament," Telegraph-Herald, May 12, 1903, p. 1

19. "The Whirl of Society," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 24, 1903, p. 2

20. "Noted Marksmen in City for Big Meet," Telegraph-Herald, May 17, 1904, p. 5

21. "Gun Club Closed Season," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, September 18, 1904

22. "Dubuque Gun Club Receives Trophy From Dupont Powder Company," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, p. 1

23. "Officers Are Elected," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, January 8, 1909, p. 7

24. "Gun Club Has Joint Shoot," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 19, 1910, p. 8

25. "Local Gun Club in Victorious Meet," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, July 28, 1911, p. 10

26. "World's Champion Here," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, December 6, 1912, p. 12

27. "Trap Shot Champ Comes to Dubuque," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 10, 1913, p. 8

28. "Dubuque Gun Club Holds Shoot Today," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, April 27, 1924, p. 14

29. "First Registered Shoot to Attract Big Crowd Today," The Telegraph-Herald, June 29, 1924, p. 15

30. "Second Registered Event to Attract Big Crowd Today," The Telegraph-Herald, July 12, 1925, p. 13

31. "Sunday is Special Wife Day at Traps at Center Grove," Dubuque Telegraph Herald, June 5, 1925, p. 12

32. "Second Registered Event.."

33. "East Dubuque to Oppose Dubuque Gunners Today," Telegraph-Herald, September 13, 1925, p. 21

34. "Local Man High Gunman at Shoot," Telegraph-Herald, September 27, 1926, p. 2

35. "Local Gun Club to Honor Kaynor," Telegraph-Herald, September 4, 1927, p. 17