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Town Clock Plaza

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1873, Barton-Aschman Associates (clock and tower, Fridolin Heer, Sr.; relocated 1971); 1967 and later. Main St., below 5th and 9th streets
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)

Dubuque has long been fascinated with the public clock. Its first town clock (1864) rose from a simple Greek Revival building, but in contrast to the plainness of the building, the clock tower was exuberantly Italianate. This first clock tower collapsed in 1872. It was replaced the following year by an equally exuberant French Second Empire design by Fridolin Heer, Sr. Before the three-story Ruskinian Gothic building upon which the tower had been placed was demolished, the tower itself was moved to Town Clock Plaza, where it became the centerpiece of the park's design. The tower now sits on a high arched brick base and functions as would a folly in an English Picturesque garden. The only major item missing is the original rooftop weather vane with an immense cast-iron “key to the city.”

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Town Clock Plaza", [Dubuque, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 84-84.

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