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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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Redstone Inn.jpg
REDSTONE (THE). Once the home of Elizabeth Cooper; the daughter of industrialist Augustin A. COOPER, and her husband, the Redstone (504 Bluff) is the last of three mansions built by A. A. Cooper. One home, the York, was demolished in 1934 to make room for the Federal Building on 6th Street. The GREYSTONE, across the street from the Redstone, was demolished in 1956 for a city parking lot. (1)

The 27-room Redstone was built for Cooper in 1894 and deeded to his daughter as a wedding gift. (2) Cooper undertook one of the city's most elaborate private heating projects in connection with its construction. To provide heat, two large boilers were installed on the lot opposite his house, GREYSTONE. These boilers provided steam heat for his own house and four others-- for the house of his daughter, Mrs. Waller, and the new house she is erecting; and the single but subdivided building owned by his daughter, Mrs. Sullivan. (3) Cooper did not believe that Daniel Sullivan, the husband, could earn a sufficient living for the family. If Sullivan failed as Cooper presumed, his daughter would have income property from half the building and a place to live in the other half. As things turned out, Sullivan (who was in business with Joseph Frederick STAMPFER) died rather young while taking a lunch break walking the railroad tracks. (4) Beginning in the 1920s, known at The Redstone had many owners.

The Redstone was a popular nightspot in the early 1970s. Artist Frank LICCIARDI operated GALLERIA (THE) from 1969 to 1972. David Schmitz took over the bar and renamed it The Hearth. The house was vacant for about one year before Roger Piekenbrock and Wayne Oxberger opened the bar they called The Redstone. (5) In 1977 the house was added to the NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES. (6) It was a featured part of the "Victorian House Tour and Progressive Dinner" program sponsored by the NATIONAL MISSISSIPPI RIVER MUSEUM AND AQUARIUM. (7)

Vacated in July 1983, the Redstone was threatened with demolition. The Dubuque Historic Improvement Company comprosed of sixteen investors provided $300,000 to finance renovation. Originally the purchase of the home was said to be linked to the new buyers receiving a $125,000 low interest federal loan. When this was not received, the asking price was lowered $14,000 from the original offer of $154,000. (8) An additional $550,000 was borrowed from the DUBUQUE BANK AND TRUST COMPANY and $35,000 from the City of Dubuque. (9)

Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Renovation, begun on October 15, 1984, resulted in a bed-and breakfast offering fifteen rooms including deluxe suites with sitting rooms and marble fireplaces. (10) Work ended in time for the opening ceremonies held on April 9, 1985. A preview of the renovation saw an estimated 2,000 people wait up to fifty-five minutes to walk through the home. (11) The official grand opening was held during DUBUQUEFEST/VERY SPECIAL ARTS May 18-19, 1985. (12)

In 1985 the Redstone was put up for sale at a price of $875,000. (13) With no buyers, the house was placed back on the market in May 1999 at a price of $660,000. (14) It was later sold, and in 2016 remained a bed-and-breakfast location in Dubuque.



1. Hendricks, Mike. "Redstone Gets New Lease on Life as a Hotel," Telegraph Herald, Oct. 12, 1984, p. 2. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=tsRFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4b0MAAAAIBAJ&pg=4289,1229741&dq=redstone+dubuque&hl=en

2. Bergstrom, Kathy. "Group Decides to 'Relax,' Sell Redstone," Telegraph Herald, Oct. 25, 1996, p. 2. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=JlZFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=1rsMAAAAIBAJ&pg=2743,4200979&dq=aa+cooper+dubuque&hl=en

3. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, October 12, 1894, p. 4

4. Fischer, Katherine. E-mail. March 23, 2016

5. Goessl, Joan. "Fate of Redstone Hinges on Possible Buyer," Telegraph Herald, July 29, 1983, p. 2. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XudFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=7uwMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3635,3157745&dq=redstone+dubuque&hl=en

6. "Three Buildings Get Historical Status," Telegraph Herald, Jan. 9, 1977, p. 6. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=sNdBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=C6oMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6509,811008&dq=redstone+dubuque&hl=en

7. "Victorian House Tour and Progressive Dinner" (pamphlet) Online: http://www.gfba.org/convention/Fri_Photo_of_Victorian_Houses%5B1%5D.pdf

8. Bergstrom, Kathy.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Kirchen, Rich. "2000 Tour Redstone Inn," Telegraph Herald, Apr. 15, 1985, p. 2. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=hCFRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=9dMMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6519,1733560&dq=redstone+dubuque&hl=en

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. Berg, Renee. "With Renewed Focus, Group Makes Another Pitch to Sell Redstone Inn," Telegraph Herald, July 8, 1999, p. 3. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Op9dAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3lwNAAAAIBAJ&pg=2408,1666406&dq=redstone+dubuque&hl=en