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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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VAN DUYN, John. (Grinnell, IA, Oct. 3, 1949- ). With his family, Van Duyn moved to Dubuque in 1983 after commuting between Mason City, Iowa, and Dubuque for eight years while a limited partner in the DUBUQUE INN-BEST WESTERN. After selling retail stores owned in Mason City, Iowa, and Austin, Minnesota, Van Duyn bought the Best Western. In 1983 he was awarded the "Boss of the Year" award from the JAYCEES for improving the work and private lives of his employees. (1)

Three years later INN PLAZA, with rental space for twenty-four tenants, was acquired. In 1988 as manager of the Dubuque Inn and spokesman for the Dubuque Lodging Association, he credited the opening of the dog track with a sharp increase in business in the community. (2) Representing existing businesses, however, he was opposed that year to the proposed construction of a $6.5 million, five-story, 151-room hotel in the downtown area. While helping during the summer handle the increased tourism, the design of the hotel was inadequate to help the convention market. A 1985 study, he cited, said such a hotel would have a ballroom, exhibition hall, 10-15 meeting rooms and a national affiliation. (3)

In 1990 Van Duyn, general manager, marketing director, and co-owner of the Best Western Dubuque Inn and Inn Plaza, purchased the HOLIDAY INN, which became a Days Inn in January 1991. He sold the Best Western in 2005. The building was demolished and a Hampton Inn was built in its place. In 2007 he sold the former Holiday Inn. (4)

Van Duyn served as a member of the board for the Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau, CLARKE COLLEGE Development, DUBUQUE MUSEUM OF ART, and in 1990 was the chairman-elect for the board of trustees of FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST.



1. "Jaycees Honor 3 Businessmen," Telegraph Herald, January 25, 1987, p. 5

2. Chanaud, Timothy, "Food, Gas, Lodging Industries Win Big," Telegraph Herald, March 31, 1988, p. 45

3. Blocker, Sue, "Proposal Leaves Inns and Outs," Telegraph Herald, January 31, 1988, p. 1

4. "Kittle, M. D., "Coliseum Owner Buys Days Inn," Telegraph Herald, February 22, 2007, p. 1