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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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Photo courtesy: City of Dubuque

JOHN G. BERGFELD RECREATION AREA. Hiking, walking, and fishing area west of Dubuque south of Middle Road along Seippel Road. The recreation area is named for the second heart recipient from Dubuque. In 1985 Bergfeld was given a 97% chance that he would live a year after his surgery. He went on to live ten years with his new heart and died on April 24, 1996.

In 1998 Ken Bergfeld, son of John Bergfeld, sold part of his dairy farm to the city of Dubuque for an office park and recreation area. He asked that something be named after his father. They had farmed the site for eighteen years.

In October, 1998, the city designated the John G. Bergfeld Recreation Area. Developers constructed and stocked a lake along the stream Bergfeld often fished with his granddaughters. The site in 2010 had ramps from the parking lot to the lake to create a handicapped accessible site for fishing.

Whitewater Bridge over Whitewater Creek in 1995

In 2011 a dramatic change came to the recreation area with the addition of the Whitewater Creek Bridge. For decades the former span of railroad bridge had carried traffic over Whitewater Creek near Fillmore. From 1872 to 1899, however, it had carried trains the final few hundred yards across the MISSISSIPPI RIVER from East Dubuque to Dubuque over a slough near Sixth Street. When the city filled in the slough, the bridge became obsolete.