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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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DUBUQUE MAIN STREET, LTD. A not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to the development and ongoing support of the downtown area. The organization serves eight downtown districts: Cable Car Square, Historic Old Main, Port of Dubuque/Ice Harbor, Town Clock District, Jackson Park, Couler Valley, Warehouse District, and the Upper Main/Farmers' Market. Dubuque Main Street works in a partnership between the public and private sectors to create business growth and vitality in the city center. (1)

The 1960s and 1970s saw Dubuque faced, like other cities across the United States, with retail businesses moving out of the downtown area to more suburban areas and malls. In Dubuque this resulted in first floor vacancy levels downtown reaching 55% and the lost of anchor stores. (2)

In 1984 a local coordinating committee was formed to investigate economic development and revitalization. In 1985 when the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Demonstration Program chose pilot cities for the Urban Main Street Program, Dubuque was the smallest of the seven cities selected. (3) The program revolved around a four-point approach with the goal of economic development with historical preservation. The design component called for using appropriate design concepts in signs, displays and landscaping to improve the downtown environment. Organization called for bringing together public and private groups with interested individuals working in coordination with a paid program manager to work more effectively. Promotional activity focused on advertising the downtown area as a source of activity, pride and potential economic development. Economic development involved diversifying the downtown economy, improving business practices, and finding new uses for vacant or unused spaces. (4)

In 2007, Dubuque Main Street was the longest-running urban Main Street program in the United States. It had been designated as one of the five Great American Main Street programs in 1995 and, in 2006 was one of only three Urban Pioneer Award winners in the nation. In 2007 the city of Dubuque was named an All America City. (5)

A DUBUQUE RACING ASSOCIATION grant enabled Dubuque Main Street to own and manage the event stage used under the TOWN CLOCK for many arts festivals. A second grant was used to purchase a trailer to haul the stage. (6)

In 2010 Dubuque Main Street sponsored "Dubuque...And All That Jazz" concert series during the summer, "Puttzin' Around Dubuque," a mini-golf outing in the spring, FARMERS' MARKET, Chili Cook Off, Cable Car Square Candle Walk, and Decorating Main Street. (7)

The 1987 Dubuque City Directory listed 633 Main.

The 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed 909 Fischer Building.



1. "2010 Season of the Arts," Julien's Journal, October 2010, p. 58

2. Ibid.

3. Jerde, Jay. "Dubuque Reinvests in Its Downtown Heritage," Telegraph Herald, October 12, 1997, p. 5F. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19971012&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.