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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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FLORA PARK. The popular westside park was created through the generous donation in April 1955 of $100,000 by the WAHLERT FOUNDATION. (1) The gift allowed the city council to accept the offer of William L. MOLO to give the city the 7.5 acre plot called SILVER ACRES along with the 10.88 acres known as Sylvester Place. The latter parcel was appraised by a condemnation jury at $21,760. With the ten acres the city had already purchased, the recreation area included more than 28 acres of land.

The pool at the park created a great deal of interest. Constructed 75-feet wide and 198-feet long, the pool was constructed using national competitive swimming standards and fit under the classification of a 60-meter pool--the kind used for AAU and NCAA competition. It was marked off in nine racing lanes. When asked, city officials suggested there was a good possibility it would be used for swimming competition. (1)

In 1960 a gift of $30,000 by the Wahlert Foundation allowed the purchase of 26,345 square feet of land adjacent to Flora Park. The donation was used to purchase Ertl Company property near the end of Wilbricht Lane. The Ertl Company had moved its manufacturing operation to Dyersville in 1959. Immediate plans for the land and buildings had not been made at the time of the purchase although officials indicated they would be used for recreational of park purposes. (2)

Relocated from the site of Hempstead High School to Flora Park, "The Barn" became the home of a successful theater company, the BARN COMMUNITY THEATER. Later this renovated building became the DUBUQUE MONTESSORI SCHOOL.

In March 1989 city voters approved borrowing $3.25 million to demolish and replace the old Municipal Pool and the Flora Park pool. In June 1991 the $1.7 million renovation to the Flora pool was expected to draw 80,000 during the summer. New attraction to the pool included two water slides, spray fountains, and sunbathing areas. (3)

The park was named by the Dubuque Park Department in memory of Wahlert's wife, Flora.



1. Simplot, John. "Big Splash in Dubuque When New Pool Opens," Telegraph Herald, April 3, 1955

2. $30,000 Gift for Land Made By Wahlert Foundation," Telegraph Herald, May 18, 1960, p. 1

3. Japson, Bruce. "Officials: 80,000 to Use Pool," Telegraph Herald, June 2, 1991, p. 3A