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Dubuque City Hall

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1857–1858, John F. Rague. Southeast corner of Iowa and 13th streets

Dubuque's three-story city hall of 1857–1858 was somewhat unusual for the Midwest, for it combined a number of commercial activities with public usage. The basement was divided in an unlikely fashion between the police station and two saloons, and the ground floor was occupied by market stalls which were rented out. The second floor housed the council chambers, courtroom, and the city offices. The third floor was a large, open “town hall.” Dubuque's market/city hall was modeled after the Fulton Market in Brooklyn, a building certainly known to Rague during his residence in New York. In its general proportions and its detailing the brick city hall in Dubuque is similar to many utilitarian buildings, especially mill buildings. Each of the bays on its three floors is treated as a recessed panel covered with a segmental arch. Originally the first-floor openings on the two long sides of the structure contained French doors, so that each market stall opened both to the central interior corridor and to the street outside. The only strongly public aspect of the building was its French Second Empire/Italianate bell tower (designed by John D. Abry).

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Dubuque City Hall", [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, 87-88.

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