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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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Lincoln Elementary School, once known as the Fourth Ward School, was built in 1867. This picture shows the school with an addition in 1886-1887.

LINCOLN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Originally known as the Fourth Ward School. Lincoln was renamed on December 23, 1889, in keeping with the board of education's desire to name all the buildings after famous Americans. In 1892 the board gave permission for Truch, Southworth and Company to mine under the school grounds for two years.

In 1905 a petition was filed to construct an addition to the building because of its crowded condition. The proposition to issue bonds was passed by a vote of 759 to 133. On September 26, 1938, a proposition to issue bonds for the construction of a new Lincoln School was passed by a vote of 4,763 to 1,265.

The building, completed with the financial assistance of a Public Works Administration grant at a cost of $203,997.69, was accepted on April 1, 1940. It was one of four elementary schools opened that year including Bryant, Fulton and Marshall. Old Bryant School constructed in 1869 was demolished first so its students were the first to move into their building. The old Lincoln building was demolished second. Lincoln was chosen as the school for the dedication of all four buildings because of its central location. (1)

Lincoln had the first female safety patrol captain in the history of the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. Sixth grade student, Janice Ahlers, served as captain in 1952. (2)

The Junior Great Books program began in 1965 with fifth graders at Lincoln and spread to other schools in the district. (3)

Presidential candidate Barack Obama speaks from a truck bed as he campaigns for office.

In 2007 Lincoln School was the site of one of the first campaign stops held in Iowa by Barack Obama. He went on to win the Democratic nomination and then the general campaign to become the 44th President of the United States.

In March 2018 school officials at Lincoln announced that a food pantry, in cooperation with St. Stephen's Food Bank, would be established at the school to provide food for families in need. This was the first school-based pantry established in the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. The pantry was only open to Lincoln School students and their parents. It was planned that the pantry would be open the second Wednesday of each month. (4)

In the fall of 2021, the school staff changed their tutoring program to include both academics and extracurricular activities. Students would have the opportunity of trying dance, basketball and volleyball in addition to improving their literacy skills. The change was hoped to encourage more students to participate and feel more a part of their school. (5)



1. Hogstrom, Erik, "1940: New Bryant Elementary School Opened," Telegraph Herald, April 2, 2020, p. 5A

2. "First Time Girl Captains School Safety Patrol," Telegraph Herald, September 21, 1952, p. 17

3. Slichter, Harry, "Great Books for Kids," Telegraph-Herald, Oct. 14, 1966, p. 3

4. Hinga, Allie. "Food for Thought," Lincoln Launches Pantry," Telegraph Herald, March 10, 2018, p. 1

5. Hinga, Allie, "After-School Options Fulfill Needs," Telegraph Herald, December 3, 2021, p. 1A