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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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MACLAY, John Herbert

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MACLAY, John Herbert. (Dubuque, IA, Dec. 29, 1873--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 30, 1955). MAYOR. In 1889, Maclay was hired by the William L. Bradley Real Estate Company in Dubuque. He remained with the company and in 1940 was the secretary-treasurer and manager of the firm which was then known as BRADLEY & MACLAY. (1)

Maclay, a member of the Dubuque City Council from 1926 to 1929, held the office of mayor from 1928 to 1929. (2) Maclay might have joined with others in greeting the "Prosperity Special" on the ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD that clanged through Dugbuque on New Year's Day. The 35 freight cars carried 150 farm tractors to farmers in Illinois from the Hart-Parr Conpany of Charles City, Iowa. (3) During his term as mayor, the city's first municipal airport opened on May 20, 1928 at NUTWOOD PARK. PEDDLERS who sold trinkets along the street were to be barred from Dubuque. Paving was being completed along the MILITARY ROAD and among the unique companies attracted to Dubuque was MAIZEWOOD INSULATION COMPANY. The era of HORSE DRINKING FOUNTAINS came to an end in July, 1928. In 1929 Congress authorized the construction of locks and dams along the Mississippi--a major event for Dubuque's development. Only FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF DUBUQUE and AMERICAN TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK of six banks in operation survived the 1929 bank closings during the GREAT DEPRESSION. In 1929 the first street car line, Linwood, was replaced by city buses. COMISKEY PARK was dedicated on June 20, 1929. During the summer of 1929, BUNKER HILL GOLF COURSE was expanded to eighteen holes.

A member of the board of the Chamber of Commerce from 1924 to 1940, Maclay served as its president from 1937 to 1938. He became president of the KEY CITY GAS COMPANY in 1935 and served for nearly twenty years as its president. (4) He also served as secretary of the Grand Opera Company and trustee of MOUNT PLEASANT HOME.


1. "John H. Maclay," Citizens Historical Association of Indianapolis, January 13, 1940, Vertical Files, Carnegie-Stout Public Library

2. "J. H. Maclay, Long-Time Local Realtor and Gas Co. Head, Dies," The Telegraph-Herald, October 2, 1955, p. 1

3. "A "Prosperity Special," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal January 1, 1929, p. 6

4. "J. J. Maclay, Long-Time..."