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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

HEER, Fridolin

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Fridolin Heer. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
41 Diagonal. Photo courtesy: Old House Enthusiasts' Club House Tour, 1995

HEER, Fridolin. (Wallenstadt, Switzerland, July 30, 1834--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 19, 1910). Heer was apprenticed to a master stonecutter at Rapperswill, Switzerland for six years. (1) He then traveled in northern Germany before studying art in Munich for two years. He established himself as a steinmetzmeister (master stone cutter) in Chur, Canton Granbrundten Switzerland in 1860, but financial reversals forced him to leave his country and come to the United States in 1865. (3) After staying a short time in Belleville, Illinois, he moved with his wife to Chicago where he established the Swiss Singers Society of Chicago. (4) They moved to Dubuque in 1869. (5)

Heer worked first as a stone cutter from 1868 to 1870 and then made architecture his career. (6) He is remembered as the architect of such Dubuque buildings as the Levi store, Town Clock Building, and St. Francis Convent and Orphans' Home. He also designed the homes of William L. BRADLEY, Sr., David B. HENDERSON, James Levi, and Andrew Tredway. (7)

Trade card. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

In his later years Heer worked in association with his son Fridolin Joseph HEER, Jr. in the firm named FRIDOLIN HEER & SON. They designed the DUBUQUE COUNTY COURTHOUSE and directed the construction of the DUBUQUE BREWING AND MALTING COMPANY along with the homes of many prosperous Dubuque residents. (8) After the collapse of the first TOWN CLOCK, Heer designed a building at 825 Main with sufficient strength to hold the city landmark. (9)

Heer joi­ned the Wes­tern As­so­cia­tion of Ar­chi­tects in 1886, be­co­m­ing a Fel­low of the Ame­ri­can In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects at the con­so­li­da­tion in 1889 and was a char­ter mem­ber of the Iowa Chap­ter, foun­ded in 1903. (10) Heer was also the founder of the Swiss Helvetia Maennerchor and president of the group at the time of his death. Heer was also a member of the DUBUQUE SHOOTING SOCIETY, OLD SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION, Veteran Firemen, and the DUBUQUE SAENGERBUND.



1. Goodspeed, Weston Arthur, History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association, 1911, p. 597

2. Sommer, Lawrence J. The Heritage of Dubuque; An Architectural View, Tel Graphics, East Dubuque, Illinois, 1975, p. 159

3. Ibid.

4. Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company, 1894, p. 246

5. "Fridolin J. Heer, Sr." arch InForm--http://eng.archinform.net/arch/73148.htm

6. Sommer, p. 160

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. "Town Clock," http://www.edbqhs.org/District/LocalAreaHistory/TownClocklah.htm

10. "Fridolin J. Heer, Sr." arch InForm--http://eng.archinform.net/arch/73148.htm

Jacobson, James E. "Key Dubuque Architects, Builders and Property Developers," The Architectural And Historical Resources of Dubuque, Iowa, 1837-1955, June 24, 2003, p. 156