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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: Bob Reding

LONGVIEW SKI JUMP. A ski jump called "Longview" existed prior to the summer of 1940 when the Greater Dubuque Association chose the site above the Sullivan farm for a picnic in June. Baseball, horseshoe pitching, handball, euchre, and bridge were included among the activities. 1) Interest in skiing led the GREATER DUBUQUE ASSOCIATION in September, 1940 to announce that an additional 75 feet would be added to the height of the Longview Ski Jump in time for two big events during the winter. The Association's plans for two ski meets in January and February made Dubuque the only Iowa city holding official ski events. (2)

This site, located three miles north of Dubuque along Peru Road and near FOUR MOUNDS, was opened on February 4, 1940 for the GREATER DUBUQUE ASSOCIATION ski-jumping exhibition. The site featured a 300-foot slide constructed on the north side of the steep bluff high above the Sullivan farm. This precaution was made to protect the snow. (3) Skiing activities had previously had to be cancelled due to lack of snow or melting.

Construction of Longview. Photo courtesy: Iowa History Digital Collections
Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald and Paul Hemmer
Longview prior to the addition.Photo courtesy: Iowa History Digital Collections
Climbing to the top of the ski jump. Photo courtesy: Iowa History Digital Collections
Skier taking off from the jump. Photo courtesy: Iowa History Digital Collections
Spotters located along the landing site to measure distance. Photo courtesy: Iowa History Digital Collections

Visitors had to walk two or three miles when crowds of four to five thousand people came to watch exhibition leaps of the Flying Eagles Club from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The Club ranged in age from 8 to 17. (4) Another attraction was Robert L. MARTIN, a native of Dubuque and described at the time as being "the only" African American" ski jumper in the world. Estimates of 225-foot jumps were made. The longest jump the first day was recorded at 110 feet. The following day Steve Egeness thrilled an estimated two thousand visitors with a jump of 142 feet.

Many attended the opening day on February 15, 1942 to inaugurate a huge new slide. Constructed thirty-seven feet higher than the previous slide, the eighty-foot tower provided a perpendicular drop from the top to river level of 286 feet. Work was also done on the take-off and underhill areas. According to reports of the time, this new slide was the third largest in the nation.

Preparations included expanding the traffic and parking facilities to 6,000 cars and plans for attending to the needs of up to 15,000 visitors. Some could sit in their cars and still enjoy an unobstructed view. The Milwaukee, Illinois Central, and Burlington railroads arranged special ski trains to carry fans to the events and provided the occasion with extensive publicity. (5)


Included in the audience were 250 enlisted men from the Savanna (Illinois) Ordinance Depot brought to Dubuque by special train by the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce. Special cars in Dubuque were attached to the Milwaukee railroad's ski special to serve Dubuque residents and others. An estimated forty jumpers were expected to take part in the activities sanctioned by the National Ski Association and conducted under the direction of the officials affiliated with the Longview Ski Club, a newly organized group. Adding additional color was the choosing of a "ski queen" from fourteen contestants. The entire event was broadcast by KDTH RADIO STATION. (6)

Renovations were made to the slide in 1945. The remodeled scaffold was 130 feet high assuring that the Longview jump remained one of the largest in the nation. The distance from the top of the slide to the bottom of the hill increased to 390 feet. Ski club officials were quoted as believing 225-225 foot jumps could be expected. (7) The present world's record was then 286 feet. In 1945 Dubuque was the only city in Iowa affiliated with the Central and U. S. Ski Associations. Interest in skiing had led the Longview Ski Club to consider plans for downhill skiing and tobogganing as well as a smaller jump for beginners and youngsters. (8)

On January 23, 1949 the Dubuque Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Longview Ski Club hosted their Winter Sports Event by having an international ski meet. Some of the finest ski jumpers in the United States with a number of European skiers were scheduled to participate. His his proclamation, Mayor Frank VAN DUELMAN announced that the city would receive publicity sent around the world from newsreels, all the larger wire services, radio stations, and the newspapers. Peter Hugstadt, the 1948 Olympic champion from Norway who also held the world record, announced his certainty that he could break the 1948 hill record of 192 feet. If the snow continued to fall, he believed he could jump over 220 feet. A day before the event there were 76 entries with hopes that number could rise above one hundred. Preliminary activities held Saturday included a banquet and dance at MELODY MILL and the naming of a queen and her court. (9)

1950 advertisement. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

The first national motorcycle hillclimbing championship in Dubuque was held at the Longview Ski jump on September 25, 1949. According to officials of the Hawkeye Motorcycle Club, sixty riders would be participating for the 1949 National Class C title. Each driver had two tries at the hill with the best time and distance determining the winner of the $1,500 prize and title. (10) The record of 9.2 seconds to reach the top was set by Sam Arena of Palo Alto, California. The record was not beaten in 1950 before a crowd of 2,000 spectators. (11) Longview ski hill was quite popular for motorcycle hill climbs until the 1960s. (12)




1. "GDA Will Hold Picnic Tuesday," Telegraph-Herald, June 30, 1940, p. 7

2. "Work on Ski Slide Will Start Monday," Telegraph-Herald, September 15, 1940, p. 17

3. "Eau Claire Youngsters in Exhibition Program," Telegraph-Herald, February 4, 1940, p. 13

4. Ibid.

5. "Many Cities Send Entries," Telegraph-Herald, January 11, 1942, p. 27

6. "Two National Champs Among Classy Entries," Telegraph-Herald, February 15, 1942, p. 29

7. "Will Raise Ski Slide 70 Feet," Telegraph-Herald, February 4, 1945, p. 14

8. Liska, Ed. "Ski Slide is Being Remodeled" Telegraph-Herald, November 11, 1945, p. 30

9. "Practice Leaps Made on Friday," Telegraph-Herald, January 21, 1949, p. 11

10. "60 Riders Enter 'Climb,' " Telegraph-Herald, September 25, 1949, p. 20

11. "Two Bike Riders Go Over the Top," Telegraph-Herald, August 28, 1950, p. 10

12. Hogstrom, Erik, "Site's Names Enrich Travel Through Time," Telegraph Herald, November 25, 2004, p. 1