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The community's original name was Prairie La Porte, reflecting its early settlement by people of French extraction. Later (from 1845 onward) the town was colonized by Germans sponsored by the Western Settlement Society of Cincinnati, Ohio. The first platting of the town site took place in 1837, followed in 1843 by a second, more extensive survey. The first surveyed section, running parallel to the river, has a north-northwest, south-southeast axis; the new sections were oriented north-south, east-west. The site of the town is on a low terrace overlooking the wide Mississippi. Directly behind, hilly bluffs rise steeply. Unusual for a river town, the railroad tracks in Guttenberg were laid three blocks away from the river's edge, and much of the river bank was retained as a “public landing.” In later years this land was formed into a riverside park. Architecturally the principal interest within the town consists of the numerous commercial buildings and houses built in stone by the German settlers. A few of the more important of these are listed below.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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