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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.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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ORDINANCES. Ordinances are statues enacted by a city government. The Dubuque town board was formed in 1837 with Thomas S. WILSON serving as its president. The first official act was to pass resolutions calling for the removal of obstructions from the slough and MISSISSIPPI RIVER adjacent to the city making the river navigable for steamboats.

In 1840 the Iowa territorial government granted Dubuque a charter for a mayor-council form of government. Caleb H. BOOTH was elected the first mayor of Dubuque in 1841.

While concerns of government have remained the same in many ways, the ordinances of the early years show some of the unique concerns of the day. The early Dubuque City Council:

1) authorized the marshal to destroy all pigeons within the city limits (October, 1858)

2) Illegal for a man to ride a horse or draw a wagon over the sidewalks (July, 1854)

3) prohibited shopkeepers from suspecting anything from an awning (July, 1854)

4) prohibited taking a corpse out of or burying one in the city cemetery without the consent of the sexton (1854)

5) prohibited residents from allowing their hogs to run at large (April, 1843)

6) required residents to provide fire buckets for the new fire company. One bucket was required for a one-story building and two for a two-story building. (December, 1850)



Freeman, Don. "City Laws of Earlier Times Cause Laughter," Telegraph-Herald, August 19, 1945, p. 29