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Encyclopedia Dubuque



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HILL STREET AND WEST DUBUQUE STEAM RAILWAY COMPANY. Short-lived transportation system begun in 1877. The promoter of the idea, Julius K. GRAVES, joined with Solon LANGWORTHY, Edward LANGWORTHY, H.B. GLOVER, and Robert Hutcheson COLLIER in April 1877, to discuss the construction of a railway up the bluffs by way of Hill Street.

The Company was organized, and a petition was filed with the City Council for an ordinance granting right-of-way. The road began at the corner of Main and Eighth STREETS before moving west on Eighth to Hill Street and then on to Third, Alpine, and finally to Julien Avenue and Broad Street which was the terminus until July 3, 1879 when an extension was completed to the Western Brewery.

Given a franchise by the city, the company, with its depot at Eighth and Main, laid its tracks down the middle of the street. The trial test of the operation was made on July 12, 1877. The first regular train started from Main Street two days later. Its one engine, however, had such difficulty climbing the hills while staying on schedule that passengers began calling the line the "Steam Dummy."

Threatened with the suspension of their charter, the Company attempted improvements without result. In 1884 the company pulled up its tracks and left for the flat lands of Florida.