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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.


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A souvenir of a Saengerbund festival. Photo Courtesy: Bob Reding

DUBUQUE SAENGERBUND. The Saengerbund was formed through the merger of the Dubuque and Helvetia Maennechors and reflected the heritage GERMANS brought to the area. The former group had been formed on August 8, 1868, while the latter developed during the spring of 1870. The Dubuque Saengerbund, founded in 1883, focused on vocal excellence. An initiation fee of one dollar was charged with annual dues of three dollars. Fred HOPPE, the director, led practice sessions weekly on Wednesday evenings at DUBUQUE CITY HALL.

The Saengerbund Auditorium stood at the southeast corner of Kaufmann and Central. Photo courtesy: James E. Jacobsen

The SAENGERBUND AUDITORIUM was constructed in 1896. This massive frame building costing $6,000 housed the “German Day” events of October 16, 1902, described as “the grandest spectacle ever witnessed in Dubuque.” The regional event featured a 13-block long parade. The hall was demolished soon after this event, but fundraising assured that a new building was established.

The singing society continued and prospered. At its height, the organization indcluded an estimated seventy-five Dubuque residents, according to Ferdinand Schnebeck who served as president from 1940 through 1954. WORLD WAR II caused the group to go inactive, and it was difficult to reorganize. (1)

Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald, June 21, 1957 and Diane Harris



1. Dahlinger, Mark. "Singing Society Still Alive," Telegraph Herald, August 1, 1954, p. 7

Jacobsen, James E. The Architectural and Historical Resources of Dubuque, Iowa, 1837-1955, p. 7