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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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IOWA STATE FAIR. Annual spectacular featuring top rated entertainers and exhibits. On September 30 and October 1, 2 and 3, 1862 the State Fair was held in Dubuque. The city and county made donations of money to secure this event. The city also at its own expense and that of the leading business men enclosed the grounds, cleared the track, erected the buildings. The local committee were Richard BONSON, Edward R. SHANKLAND, John KING, Solon LANGWORTHY, William C. CHAMBERLAIN, Henry S. HETHERINGTON and Peter Melendy. (1)

The fair held in Dubuque in September 1863 saw total receipts of $5,200 including gate money, entries, and fees of all kinds. Over $4,000 was paid out in premiums. After the bills were paid, the fair saw a profit of $400.00. (2)

In 1865 the city council refused to appropriate $500 for the State Fair to be held here in the fall of 1866. Within a few days, the citizens raised $3,421 to secure the fair for two years and prepare the grounds. The city, however, failed to get the fair in 1866. (3)

Interest in hosting the fair led John THOMPSON, Edward R. Shankland, and Henry S. Hetherington to travel to Des Moines in January 1882 to offer "tempting considerations" to the fair managers to hold their next meeting in Dubuque. (4) The vote on the site of the fair, however, was Des Moines--74 and Dubuque--18. (5)



1. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880 http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-16-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml

2. "Proceeds of the State Fair," Dubuque Democratic Herald, September 24, 2863, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=A36e8EsbUSoC&dat=18630924&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. Oldt, p. 17

4. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, January 5, 1882, p. 4

5. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, January 13, 1882, p. 4