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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

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


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Eagle Point in Dubuque
EAGLE POINT. The naming of the hill on which EAGLE POINT PARK is located goes back to 1828-1829. A man discovered an eagle's nest in a tree near the town of Dryden, New York, east of Ithaca. The tree was cut down, and the young eagles were captured. (1)
One of the eaglets was given to Mr. Roswell Randall, a prominent merchant in Courtland Villa, New York, who carefully raised the bird over the next two or three years. Randall kept the magnificent bird caged along the walk leading to his mansion. He later gave the bird to a neighbor, Mr. William Bassett, a local engraver and silversmith. (2)

On the Fourth of July 1831, Bassett released the bird after riveting around one of its legs a silver clasp that read," To Henry Clay, Louisville, Ky., from Wm. Bassett, Courtland Villa, Courtland County, N.Y." (3)

On July 11, 1831, according to a story that appeared in western newspapers, a large bald eagle was shot by a Native American on a towering bluff on the western shore of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER. (1) The eagle, measuring an immense seven feet three inches from wing-tip to wing-tip carried the silver band attached by Bassett in New York. Since that date, the site of the eagle's death has carried the name Eagle Point. (4)

Early town with just the start of mining. Lime kilns may be seen behind some buildings.
Business thrived at Eagle Point. Image courtesy: Joe Jacobsmeier
Image courtesy: John Knepper
Eagle Point stone quarry. Photo courtesy: Paul Lembke
A stone from the quarry caused damage to this house. Photo courtesy: Paul Lembke
Postcard showing boat building. Image courtesy: Bob Johnsen

In 1837 the area was laid out as a town established by Mathias HAM, Thomas MCCRANEY, F. K. O'FERRALL, and John Foley. A center of business activity, the area was the home of BOAT BUILDING, the EAGLE POINT FERRY and the EAGLE POINT LIME WORKS. (5)

In 1907 well-known park specialist Charles M. Robinson was quoted as saying: "I have never seen a place where the Almighty has doe more and mankind less than Dubuque." (6)

Enjoying the beach at Eagle Point. Photo courtesy: Robert Klauer

Below the Point and near where the Dubuque Municipal Swimming Pool was constructed in 1936 was EAGLE POINT BEACH.

Photo courtesy:John Knepper



1. Oldt, Franklin T. The History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880, Online: http://books.google.com/books?id=u9xDAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA464&lpg=PA464&dq=Burton%27s+Furnace+%28dubuque+history%29&source=bl&ots=0CkCGLFR0v&sig=a0Ou1vN3ew6nQUYoq2aOJsXF9Mg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=j3HVT5XALaP42QXVp9iFDw&ved=0CGgQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Burton%27s%20Furnace%20%28dubuque%20history%29&f=false (p. 525)

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Chandler, Curt. "Eagle Point History," Telegraph Herald, May 21, 1978, p. 35