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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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FEDERAL COURT. On July 1, 1973, a 123-year history of federal courts in Dubuque ended. The legacy began in 1849 when John J. Dyer, judge of the Iowa Judicial District, established a court in Dubuque. The site of the first session of court became under disagreement in 1950 when the hundredth anniversary was held. Rt. Rev. Msgr. M. M. Hoffman stated that the first session was held in the old Globe building on 6th and Main STREETS. The first session of federal court in Dubuque was called to order on January 7, 1850. Records of court proceedings were housed DUBUQUE COUNTY COURTHOUSE at Seventh and Clay (Central) STREETS. (1)

In 1882 Iowa was divided into the Northern and Southern Judicial Districts. Dubuque became the headquarters of the Northern District under Judge Oliver Perry SHIRAS. Dubuque remained the headquarter's office unti1 1962 when it was moved to Cedar Rapids. In 1973 the U.S. Deputy Clerk continued to occupy a suite on the second floor of the Federal Building at 6th and Bluff although a federal judge had not used a courtroom adjacent to the office since 1967. One of the primary reasons for the closing of the Dubuque office was to save rent. The General Services Administration announced it would begin charging federal agency tenants in 1974.



1. "Experts Argue Historic Site," Telegraph Herald, January 8, 1950, p. 17. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19500108&printsec=frontpage&hl=en