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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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Peter Waples. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

WAPLES, Peter. (Delaware, 1814--Dubuque, IA, Nov. 26, 1870). Hotel owner. Waples came to Dubuque in 1838 and quickly became one of the city's most industrious businessmen, operating as many as three stores. Waples constructed the Waples Hotel in 1844 on the northeast corner of Second and Main STREETS. He also played an important role in construction of the WAPLES CUT from the old levee to the main channel of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

Until the outbreak of the CIVIL WAR, Waples had conducted a prosperous clothing manufacturing business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With debts of nearly $300,000 owed him from customers in the South, Waples began a frantic travel schedule during the first year of the war to make collections. Although the travel proved financially successful, his health was ruined. Waples returned to Dubuque at the insistence of his son, Dr. Marshall H. WAPLES. He died in the home of his son-in-law Richard A. BABBAGE.



Goodspeed, Weston Arthur. The History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago : Goodspeed Historical Association, 1911, p. 517