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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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It could have been called "Cooper's Corners." The palatial home of A.A. Cooper in the lower left corner of this picture with its manicured lawn and immense stable house commands the corner of 5th and Bluff. Across the street is REDSTONE (THE), the home Cooper deeded to his daughter. (1)
Bookcase from the Greystone is now used in the CARNEGIE-STOUT PUBLIC LIBRARY
"Dawn," a stained glass window from the Greystone.

GREYSTONE. The magnificent home of Dubuque industrialist Augustin A. COOPER was constructed at 540 Bluff. The Greystone had four floors and thirty-five rooms finished in such woods as maple, cherry and mahogany. Patterns in the flooring were formed using different species of hardwoods. An elevator in the residence and intercom system made the home unparalleled for its time. Ceilings were 18 feet high, doors were handcarved, and windows were stained glass or beveled.

The Greystone faced Bluff at Fifth street. The covered carriage entrance on the north side was designed so that anyone arriving by carriage stepped directly to the main floor without stepping down to street level. A carriage house was located behind and southwest of the residence adjacent to the rock wall that supports Fifth Street. It offered upstairs rooms for the hired help and an office for Cooper. The hill behind the carriage house was developed as a large vineyard. (2)

In 1894 Cooper undertook one of the city's most elaborate private heating projects. The Dubuque Herald announced that he was installing two large boilers on the lot opposite his house. The size of one was considered sufficient, but the second was installed for emergencies. From these boilers, steam heat would be provided for his own house and four others-- for the house of his daughter, Mrs. Waller, and the new house she is erecting; and the single building but two residences opposite his own-- one occupied by his daughter, Mrs. Sullivan and the other to be leased by her. Together these latter two became known as REDSTONE (THE). (3)

The once elegant mansion lies in ruin ready for demolition. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

William and Katherine Cooper were the last relatives of A.A. Cooper to occupy the home. William died in 1950 at the age of 85, and Katherine died in 1961 at the age of 94.

In 1956, the Greystone was demolished to create space for a parking lot. The process proved difficult as the building was made of granite with only one wooden partition. Others partitions were brick and tile with wire lathing. (4)

The only remnant of the Greystone and the carriage house is part of a low concrete wall with a rounded top that marked the property boundaries. Some stones were taken to Raymond Place where they were reused on the exterior of a home. (5)



1. Fischer, Katherine. E-mail. March 23, 2016

2. "Caught on the Fly," The Daily Herald, July 22, 1882, p. 4

3. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, October 12, 1894, p. 4

4. "And the Walls Come Tumbling Down," Telegraph Herald, November 4, 1956, p. 24

5. Mark J. Schreibe, phone call, January 8, 2022

"Our Spirited Years," Telegraph Herald, 1976