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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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KELLY'S BLUFF. Hill located behind ST. RAPHAEL'S CATHEDRAL and above 2nd Street. The area was named for the mysterious miner, Thomas KELLY who may have buried a fortune in gold on the site.

Many people did search the area. In 1900 two boys herding cattle on the bluff discovered a small iron chest. Taking the box to Elizabeth Kelly, a sister of Thomas Kelly, the three broke the lock and found $10,000 in ten and twenty dollar gold coins. Earlier a boy had discovered $1,200 in gold coins in a tin can while a man had found $1,800 in another tin can.

A story in the late 1990s said that an employee of the JOHN DEERE DUBUQUE WORKS made a large find but did not tell others. Over the years, according to the story, he sold off the coins he found. This story, however, has never been proven.



Dubuque Folklore. American Trust and Savings Bank. 1976

Jacobsen, James E. The Architectural and Historical Resources of Dubuque, Iowa, 1837-1955, p. 7