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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.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Company letterhead

EAGLE POINT LIME WORKS. North-end business of the early 1900s. Started in 1890 by George FENGLER, the lime works were located below the bluff at EAGLE POINT and had a peak production of 250 barrels daily. Lime was produced by heating limestone to temperatures up to 1300° C. This heating process, called calcination, resulted in the production of lime, or calcium oxide (CaO), and carbon dioxide (CO2). In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, lime was used mostly in construction for making mortar, plaster, and whitewash. It also was used for tanning hides, agricultural applications, and sanitation.

Lime kilns like these near Hurstville were once a part of an important industry in eastern Iowa.
Making lime could be as simple as digging a small pit into which fuel (usually wood) and limestone were placed in alternating layers and allowed to burn for several days. Vertical shaft kilns were built of stone, typically in the side of a hill. Alternating layers of limestone and fuel were fed into the top of the kiln; lime was drawn out of the bottom through a draft or draw tunnel, allowing continuous production. Some kilns were fashioned after beehive coke ovens. Sold throughout the Midwest, the lime produced by the Dubuque plant was advertised as strictly wood-burnt with a hardness that increased with age and a very white color as it dried.
Key Chain. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

The fact that it was sold in Michigan, where it was used in the iron factories, was said to prove the superiority of the Dubuque product. In addition to lime, the Eagle Point Limeworks carried a full line of fire brick, building brick, plastering hair, cement, and stucco. The rock quarry, later the property of Dubuque Stone Products, eventually became Eagle Point Fun Land.

The 1916-1917 White's Dubuque County Directory listed Lime near Lincoln Avenue as the address.

Docking area used by the Eagle Point Lime Works. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Barrels of lime. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Lime quarries at Eagle Point