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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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GOOSE HORN MINE. The Goose Horn Mine was located west of Grandview Avenue between the golf course and the Dodge Street fire engine house. Mr. J. J. Ott, the mine's owner/operator, had a lease on fourteen acres. (1) The first indication of a rich deposit was found at 170 feet. (2)

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in LEAD and ZINC were removed from the site during the peak MINING years in Dubuque. In the 1900s vast reserves of both ores were still found. Zinc deposits beneath the lead were found to be of "unequaled purity" in the tri-state region. (3) In 1913 the Goose Horn and mill once owned by the AVENUE TOP MINING COMPANY were sold to John Peter ELLWANGER, William H. MEUSER, and P. F. Ryder. (5).

In January, 1914 the Goose Horn Mine had several cars of zinc ore ready for shipment, but were waiting for prices to rise to sell. The mine was running at full capacity every day. A mill operated by the company was processing ore mined over a the previous year while new ore was stored in openings below ground. Once the ore stored in the openings had been brought to the surface, plans called for three shifts of miners each working an eight hour day. (6)

Prices of zinc, however, dropped. It was presumed that the Milwaukee Railroad in constructing an extension into Montana had accidentally uncovered large amounts. (7) Prices high enough to be profitable returned by 1915. (8) Around 1920 the "industry vanished" owing to the exhaustion of the principal mines, lessened richness of the ore in others, water in the mines higher wage scales and depression in the value of the product. (9)

No date for the closing of the mine has been found.



1. "Interest in Big Joe Sold," Telegraph Herald, January 11, 1907, p. 6

2. "Good News From the Goose Horn," Telegraph Herald, March 13, 1910, p. 8

3. "Ore Mill Nearly Ready," Telegraph-Herald, August 13, 1913, p. 2

4. "Interest in Big Joe..."

5. "Avenue Top Mill Changes Hands," Telegraph-Herald, June 10, 1913, p. 20

6. "Ore Being Shipped From Dubuque," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, January 13, 1914, p. 8

7. "Ore Mill Is Soon to be in Operation," Telegraph-Herald, July 30, 1913, p. 6

8. "Start Mining Operation," Telegraph-Herald, July 28, 1915, p. 11

9. "Julien Dubuque and the Lead Mines," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 15, 1923, p. 11