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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, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

AUDUBON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Originally known as the Fifth Ward School, the school was renamed Audubon on December 23,1889, after the board of education chose to rename all the buildings after famous Americans. In 1905 petitions were received by the Board to close the school because it was unsafe. Audubon was vacated on February 28, 1906, and the pupils were transferred to the Audubon Annex, Fulton, and Marshall.

In 1907 a new Audubon School was opened. B. J. HORCHEM served as the school's principal for thirty years. Shortly after the school's opening a petition was filed to change the name of the building to honor Charles G. KRETSCHMER. This failed to be approved. (1)

At the end of the 1942 school year, the future of Audubon looked bleak despite the protest of parents. The board of education voted to close the school due to small enrollment. This decision was rescinded in April, 1943 when the board chose to allow the school to remain open. Instead of closing Audubon, the enrollment would be equalized with the other neighborhood schools. (2)

In 1953-54 a classroom was opened at Audubon for the teaching on a half-day basis of mentally handicapped children.

The modern Audubon School was the first public building in Iowa to be bid under the "design-bid" concept. The plan required architects and contractors to form a team and submit a single bid on a construction project. (3)

On February 12, 1973, the board of education of the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT awarded the contract for design and construction to the bidding team of Durrant, Deininger, Dommer, Kramer and Gordon Architects and Willy Construction Company. The building was constructed without windows to lessen noise and discourage window breaking. (4)

Audubon, constructed at a cost of approximately $700,000, opened on September 4, 1973. A unique feature of the school was its center for training the mentally handicapped. The center included a kitchen, model bedrooms and a living room to teach housekeeping skills.

In 1997 Sue Albrecht and Char Bolgren, two fourth grade teachers at Aubudon, were among two hundred winners of a contest sponsored by Lifetouch National School Studios. Teachers were asked to submit their ideas for getting children to think creatively. The teachers had asked their students to think back to favorite memories and then to write a postcard to someone involved in the memory. The contest received 6,300 entries. The two Audubon teachers received a donation of $250 for their school. (5)



1. Gibson, Michael. "Yesterday and Today," The Golden View, September, 2015, p. 16

2. "Board Voids First Order," Telegraph-Herald, April 13, 1943, p. 6

3. Gibson, p. 17

4. Ibid.

5. Krapfl, Mike. "Audubon School Writing Project Wins Award for Creativity," Telegraph Herald, February 19, 1997, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970219&printsec=frontpage&hl=en