Franklin T Oldt.

History of Dubuque County, Iowa; being a general survey of Dubuque County history, including a history of the city of Dubuque and special account of districts throughout the county, from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryFranklin T OldtHistory of Dubuque County, Iowa; being a general survey of Dubuque County history, including a history of the city of Dubuque and special account of districts throughout the county, from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 56)
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growth of a city to swell the coffers of private corporations. There
exists no reason, so far as I am able to comprehend, why we should
give advantage to one railway company over a competing line." —
(Mayor Stewart, April 10, 1890.)

The new Julien House was opened in July, 1890. In August
tlie new opera house on Eighth street was opened. Comment was
caused in 1890 by the resignation of several officials of the German
Savings Bank. Keno F., a Dubuque horse, won the first purse of
$5,000 at the races in Rochester, N. Y., in August; his time was
2:19 in the trotting race; the horse won other big prizes. In
October fifty arc lights were turned on the streets. The Iowa
Trust and Savings Bank began business in 1890. A meat inspector
began to condemn carcasses in 1890. Among the improvements in
1890 were those by the electric companies, Julien House, St.
Joseph's convent, streets of Dubuque, new court house commenced,
opera house, German orphan asylum. Turner hall, driving park.
Academy of the Visitation, the railways, bucket factorv, Finley
hospital, gas company, board of trade building, Hodge brass foun-
dry. Powers' store, oil mill elevator and several fine residences.
The Citizens' State Bank was establislied in 1890; by July, 1892, its
deposits were $306,828.88.

Late in 1890 the street car line was completed to the old Stewart
farm ; cars began to run to the new park there in April. The new
fire steamer "R. W. Stewart" arrived early in 1891. On March i,
1891, the bonded debt was $730,602.50 and the floating debt
$124,120.46; the total receipts were $356,806.53; the expenses
were the same less $39,438.52 on hand ; the saloon license amounted
to $19,510.65. The council at this time insisted on direct water
pressure and better service from the water company.

In March, 189 1, Julia Ward Howe lectured on "Is Polite Society
Polite?" The city now for almost the first time took steps to secure
in all cases compensation for street and other public franchises. In
April the mayor's salary was raised from $600 to $1,500; there
were earnest objections to this advance. New paving for A-Iain
street was considered. At the opera house in June Evan Lewis
threw J. C. Comstock, a local wrestler, in three straight falls with
ease. Robert W. Stewart, mayor, resigned in June. There was
war in the council. The Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows met here in
October. Tlie Key City Insurance Company began business about
this date. The council after due deliberation decided on brick for
the paving of Main street. Paving bonds to pay the expense were
to be issued. The liquor interests were called "River Rats of the
Rum Counties" by tlie prohibition orators.

On March i, 1892, the bonded debt was $857,708.89; it was
increased in 189 1-2 owing to the enormous expense on the streets —
$70,000 about. Atkinson and Oloff. of Rock Island, were awarded
the contract to pave Main street with brick at $57,323 ; there were


to be 28,000 square yards covered and 7,000 feet of new curbing
laid. The Dubuque Malting Company secured leases on four
breweries (Heeb's, Glab's, Schmidt's and Schwind's) in 1892 and
organized with Nicholas Glab, president; Paul Traut, vice president;
A. F. Heeb, secretary and treasurer, and Titus Schmidt, superin-
tendent ; its capital was $150,000. Should the city buy the water
works or let them pass to a syndicate? was asked in 1892. In July,
1892, an humane society was organized here. The Labor Day
celebration in 1892 was immense and imposing. John R. Sovereign,
labor leader, was the principal orator ; 6,000 people gathered at the
shooting park. The city assessment in 1892 was $19,770,395. In
September the twenty-ninth annual conclave Knights Templar
assembled here; their parade was a brilliant scene. A large delega-
tion left in October to participate in the opening of the Columbian
Exposition in Chicago. The Nutwood Park Company planned a
mile race course in October. The state rifle contest was held here
at this date. The Young Men's Christian Association planned a
home on Eighth street. In 1892 the number of city arc lights was
increased to 200. An offer of C. H. White to accept for the city
bondholders about $700,000 of 5 per cent thirty year bonds in
exchange for the 6 and 7 per cent city bonds soon to become due,
all at par, was rejected by the council in November, 1892.

Dubuque grew rapidly in manufactures and other industries in
1892. Among the improvements were the following: Irving school,
Adams foundry, water company. Central Union Telegraph Com-
pany, pressed brick, basket factory, Diamond Jo yards, stamping
and enameling, malting, court house, brass works. Forester's fac-
tory, Finley hospital. Hotel Paris, Odd Fellows' Temple, Ryan
packer. Mother House, Sisters of Charity, United States Electric
Light & Power Company, etc. The new engine house cost $35,000.
The Star Electric Company bought out the United States Electric
Company late in 1892. The city receipts in 1892-3 were as follows:

Taxes $246,500.90

Licenses 27,53 1 25

Improvement bonds 155.500.00

Bridge bonds 15,000.00

Rents, etc 74,512.10

On hand March i, 1892 28,734.86

Total $548,001.1 r

On Marcli i, 1893. the bonded debt was $723,925.52 and the
floating debt $137,523.45; outstanding improvement bonded debt,

The baseball club in 1887 was not as strong as it had been in
former years ; it played several matched games : the players were


Rose, Lear, Loftus, Dean, Burns, Brown, N. Elligan, F. Elligan,
Conners and Coffey; they played La Crosse, Oskaloosa, Webster
City, Independence, Rock Island. Rockford and other clubs; the
receipts of the club in 1887 were $6,314 and expenses $6,07777.

In 1888 the Interstate League embraced the following cities:
Dubuque, Rockford, Davenport, Peoria, Bloomington, Decatur,
Danville and Crawfordsville. In July, 1888, the club, not meeting
with satisfactory support, disbanded and the players joined other

In 1889 the players were Valkert, center; Gandalfo, left; Cofley,
right ; Ahern, first ; Burns, second ; Lear, short ; King, third ; Duane,
catcher ; Keas, pitcher. They played the Chicagos here in October
to 1,000 people and were defeated 9 to 5.

In 1890 the league embraced Dubuque, Ottuniwa, Monmouth,
Ottawa, Cedar Rapids, Aurora, Joliet and Sterling.

The claim of George W. Jones against the government "for
funds advanced in the transmission by special messenger of reports
of a revolution in progress in Bogota when he was United States
minister" was allowed by Congress in 1893, largely through the
influence of Senators Allison and Sherman. In 1893 the Dubuque
Light and Traction Company was formed to succeed the Dubuque
Electric Railway, Light and Power Company ; G. K. Wheeler was
president. In May, 1893, the Fourth street elevator was destroyed
by fire. The corner store of Odd Fellows' building was laid in
April, 1893; Mr. Langworthy was the orator. General Booth's
new sand pump barge was formally christened "Mound Builder"
by Fannie Couch.

Notwithstanding the immense debt about to fall due and the vast
and expensive improvements in progress, the credit of the city was
good in 1893. Mayor Saunders said in his valedictory in 1893 :

"I also wish and hope that the incoming council will at an early
day get used to that double issue of political life, namely: Petitions
signed by prominent citizens for the opening of streets, etc., that
would be a very large expense to the city and then in less than three
months afterward the 'prominent' citizens shout their lungs weak
for reform."

The city assessment in 1893 was $20,232,049. Gen. William
Vandever died in July, 1893. The Young Men's Library had about
14,000 volumes and 475 members at this time.

On August 16, 1893, the First National Bank closed its doors.
This was caused by its inability to realize as promptly as expected
on collateral and by the enormous amounts recently paid out — over
$543,000 in about three months. Examiner McHugh said the bank
could and would open in a few days. The depositors signed an
agreement to accept for their balances certificates of deposit bear-
ing 4 per cent interest and payable in four equal installments three
months apart, beginning January i, 1894. This gave the bank time


to realize on its assets. Mr. Eckles permitted tlie bank to resume
business August 30. At no time had the bank lost the utmost con-
fidence of the people.

In January, 1894. prize fighting here was stopped by Mayor
Daugherty. In January the Masons celebrated on a grand scale
the fiftieth anniversary of their organization in Iowa. M. M. Ham
became postmaster this year. The newspapers and citizens observed
with much resentment the increase of the city's floating debt, as
follows, omitting cents, on March i of each year :

1888 $ 68,672

1889 88,950

1890 104,519

1891 124.120

1892 133.783

1893 147.523

1894 244,134

1895 245,766

1896 220,988

1897 278,588

1898 350.470

The old debt on March i, 1894, was $708,291.68, which, added
to the floating debt, gave a total indebtedness of $952,526.27. This
year the police force consisted of thirty-six men. Efforts to get rid
of the smoke nuisance were taken. It was planned to refund the
bonds falling due in 1896 with 4 per cent gold bonds, based on
an assessed city valuation of $20,800,000.

The repeal of special city charters such as the one under which
Dubuque operated was considered in 1894. At this time Mr.
Jaeger was president of the Dubuque Personal Liberty Association.
There were 210 saloons here. In the spring of 1894 Gen. George
W. Jones, then ninety years old, was honored by the State Leg-
islature with a request to pay that body a visit at Des Moines. The
Governor's Greys and a large body of citizens Escorted him to the
cajjital city, where he was received like a king or conqueror. About
this tim« Henry L. Stout donated his residence property at Iowa
and Ninth streets to the Young Men's Christian Association, to be
converted into a gj'mnasium. The Bank and Insurance Building
was the pride of the whole city. Ten thousand people attended the
reception when it was thrown open for insi)ection. Jesse P. Far-
ley died here in 1894. He came here in 1833 and became very
|)rominent and wealthy.

,\ pest house was established on a flatboat in 1894. The Dubuque
& Wisconsin Bridge Company was organized this year to build a
bridge over the Mississippi at Eagle Point. An embalming school
was opened here in June. A $500,000 luml^er fire in June was the


heaviest this city had ever suffered. All the employes of the city
street railways struck in June and July, 1904. There were many
acts of violence. Mr. Jaeger and Mr. Hancock, two old settlers,
died this year. The first white child born in Dubuque, Susan Ann
McCraney, born January 10, 1833, died in 1894. She married John
D. Byrnes. Many fast horses were at Nutwood in September. A
mile was paced in 2:ioj4. A free bridge was broached in 1894.

The year 1894 was a prosperous one for Dubuque. There were
started the Catholic Mother House, to cost $300,000 ; the Bank and
Insurance Building, to cost $350,000; the Dubuque Malting Com-
pany's brewery, to cost $450,000 ; a high school building, to cost
$75,000; a new Methodist church, to cost $40,000, and other large

In 1895 Thomas Loftus was elected president of the Eastern
Iowa Baseball League, composed of the Dubuque, Waterloo, Clin-
ton, Marshalltown, Burlington, Davenport, Cedar Rapids and
Galesburg clubs. The Stout Auditorium opened on Ninth street
in February. In 1895 the St. I'alciitiuc Herald, issued by the
Dorothea Dix Circle, was a unique issue. It netted about $1,000
to the circle. How much the Herald lost was not stated. There
were a score or more of valuable contributions to the columns. The
issue consisted of twenty-six pages and many illustrations. Gen.
O. O. Howard was a guest of honor here in April. The bicycle
parade in April was a striking affair. Robert G. Ingersoll lectured
here in 1894 on "Shakespeare" and again in 1895 on "The Bible."
The attendance was large and the newspaper comments kind and

In 1895 all the saloons were listed under the mulct law. Judge
Husted was largely instrumental in forcing the execution of the
law. The baseball season of 1895 began May 10, lasted four
months and comprised 120 games. There were about seventy-five
fast horses at Nutwood in June. On October 31, 1895, several dis-
tinct earthquake shocks of about thirty seconds' duration each oc-
curred here. The city donated $25,000 to the Eagle Point bridge
approach. The monument to Dubuque was again considered late
in 1895. In a few months his remains were buried in a stone
sarcophagus at the old grave by the Old Settlers' Association. The
Dubuque Monument Association was busy securing funds.

The Dubuque Ladies' Literary Association, which was organ-
ized in 1876, celebrated its twentieth anniversary in January, 1896.
Mrs. D. N. Cooley, Mrs. B. W. Poor, Mrs. Harger, Mrs. McArthur,
Mrs. Solomon Smith and other early presidents were present.

In 1896 the city complained that while it had nearly 40,000 of the
60,000 population of the county, it had only one of the seven mem-
bers of the county board, a manifest unfairness. In December,
1896, $356,000 old city bonds were refunded in new twenty-year
4 per cent bonds. They were refunded at about par. On March


I, 1897, the total bonded and floating debt was $970,184.01. The
bonded debt was $691,595.16.

Early in 1897 a Mr. Slimmer, of Waverly, Iowa, offered to
donate $50,000 to Finley Hospital providing the citizens would
raise as much more, which was done in a few weeks, Henry L.
Stout alone donating $25,000. In August, 1897, the Iowa Institute
of Science and Art was organized.

The total city debt on March i, 1898, was $1,042,065.68; the
bonded debt proper was $691,595.16, and the floating debt proper
was $350,470.52. Prior to 1898 the Iowa Iron Works constructed
over 100 different vessels, the most of them with iron or steel
hulls. Joseph S. Morgan was postmaster at Dubuque in 1898. He
was connected with the Globc-J ournal and the Tunes about this
date. The city expenses in 1896 were $338,846.65; in 1897,
$456,1 17.87. At this timie the city had built or was building a num-
ber of high, strong stone walls to hold the bluffs here and there.

In January, 1898, Dubuque had thirteen public school buildings
and had in all seventeen buildings used for schools. There were
enrolled 5,756 children and 125 teachers. There were 20,000 books
of all kinds in the Public Library. There were also eighteen
Catholic parochial schools, with 2,470 scholars enrolled. In 1897
there were sent out from Dubuque about 300 traveling salesmen for
the wholesale houses here.

It was about 1898 that the Council and citizens concluded it was
time for the city to own the water works, as it had a right under the
provisions of the franchise. It was at first thought by the city
fathers that about $150,000 would be a fair compensation for the
works, but the water company did not agree and said they did not
want to sell. The city prepared to enforce the transfer and experts
were called to make estimates of the value of the plant. One placed
the value at $664,076 and another at $799,767.75. This opened
the eyes of the Council. Tiie water company's experts placed the
value from $664,076 to $815,000. The city's experts averaged
$475,000. It was now seen that a much larger sum than anticipated
would have to be paid for the plant. Later city estimates were as
low as $313,755- The city's expert finally said $449,243, and a
nonpartisan expert said $549,958. It was then thouglit best to leave
the whole matter of the transfer to Judge Shiras as arbitrator, but
he was unable to act. At length the price was fixed at
$545,000. But the city debt was already over a million
dollars, and would the people stand this additional burden? it was
asked. Men and women voted on the question, "Shall the city buy
the water works?" with the following result: Women, for the pur-
chase, 275 ; against the purchase, 33 ; men, for the purchase, 3,133 ;
against the purchase, 459. So it carried and the plant was bought
for $545,000. Trustees were placed in charge of the works. Bonds
were prepared and a sinking fund provided. Four per cent bonds


were offered, but tliere were at first no bids, though local capitalists
had previously held forth alluring promises. All capitalists seemed
afraid until the Supreme Court should affirm the legality of the
issue. Local banks bid par with a premium, provided the legality
of the issue should be affirmed. After some sparring local concerns
and individuals took all the bonds at par, but were allowed 43^2 per
cent, a mortgage on the plant and a definite and rigid funding tax.
Since that date to the present the bonds have been regularly re-
deemed as they fell due — $20,000 at a time.

In 1899 the Eighth street motor line was offered for sale at pub-
lic auction. The population of Dubuque in 1890 was 30,311; in
1900 it was 36,297. The racing at Nutwood Park in 1898 was
excellent. The wells at Eagle Point for the city water supply sta-
tion were two in nimiber and 1,308 and 1,310 feet deep, respectively.
Another just built was 1,437 ^^^^ deep. Four trained nurses were
in Finley Hospital in January, 1900. About this time E. D. Stout
gave Nutwood Park to the city upon condition it should be kept in
good condition. There were seventy-two acres, valued at $36,000.
Dubuque & Wisconsin High Bridge Company took its first steps
about this date.

The races at Nutwood Park in 1899 were very fast — pace,
2:0554; trot, 2:10^. Twenty thousand people were present the
best day and 10,000 on another day. Idolita won the Futurity.
This stake, called the "Horse Review Futurity," was worth $20,000.
Others were $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000. There were boxing con-
tests here at the same time^Joe Choynski, Clarence Forbes, Tommy
Ryan, Jack Moffatt and others.

The sports ended with a street carnival in October. Miss Maud
Atkinson was queen. It was about 1899 that the first Monday
newspapers began to make their appearance here.

In Januarv, 1900, the Eleventh street elevator began to be oper-
ated by electricity. The actual net revenue of the city for the fiscal
year 1899- 1900 was $367,000. A steam road roller was bought in
1900. In March, 1900, $200,000 of the old Hayes bonds were re-
funded. Ten new cells were built in the calaboose under the City
Hall. The vote on the library tax of ^4 "''i'l was : Yes, men, 2,061 ;
yes, women, 1,027; total, yes, 3,088; no, men, 694; no, women, 38;
total, no, 732. The bridge at Eagle Point was commenced in the
fall of 1900.

The Dubuque Enterprise was established in October, 1901, with
John Inghram and W. J. Glynn in charge.

Smallpox appeared in Dubuque in January, 1901, and it required
considerable time to be driven out. In August, 1901, there were
refunded $120,000 in old bonds, and a little later $15,400. The
city gave $25,000 to cover the expense of building the west ap-
proach to the Eagle Point bridge. This bridge was ready in 1902.
A new steam roller, street harrow and rutter plow cost $3,550.


The water tower, northwest of Linwood Cemetery, cost about
$600 and had a capacity of about 500 barrels. The city used Finley
Hospital and paid expenses. Grand View avenue engine house
was built at a cost of $6,000.

The year 1902 was a record-breaker for the wholesale jobbers
and manufacturers of Dubuque. M. M. Ham, who had so long
edited the Herald, died Christmas night. 1902. Night schools were
established in 1903. The Tri-State Fair held its first meeting in

1903. In 1903 the comptroller of the currency named Dubuque a,s
a reserve city for the deposits of the smaller banks. In the spring
of 1903 Dubuque had nearly fifty private gasolene launches. The
street car employes struck in 1903, and rough men from outside
were secured to take their places. Considerable ill feeling and riot-
ing occurred. Armory hall was leased to the Governor's Greys in

1904, but they soon surrendered the lease. In January, 1904, Prof.
F. T. Oldt served as chairman of the committee on phonetic spell-
ing at the State Teachers' Convention in Des Moines. He intro-
duced resolutions, which were adopted, endorsing the simplified
spelling of such words as thoro, thru, demogog, thorofare, etc.

In 1904 Nutwood Park was improved to the amount of $7,890:
The Union Electric Company gave the fair association the use of
the park without charge. In 1904 over $1,000,000 was spent in
improvements here of all kinds. The city subscribed as indi\icluals
$151,000 for the Dubuque, Iowa & Wisconsin Railroad. A new
engine house was built at Rhomberg and Reed avenues. Patrol
wagons were in use. The art division of the Woman's Club peti-
tioned to have the surroundings of the Eleventh street elevator
beautified. It was at this time or before that the Dubuque Boat &
Boiler Works grew out of the Iowa Iron Works. The Iowa Social-
ist suspended publication in 1904. In 1904 the German Bank be-
came the German Savings Bank.

In 1905 it became clear that something was wrong with the water
works management and an investigation was soon ordered. Charges
were finally lodged against the trustees, who were asked to resign,
and did so finally. The books were in bad condition and a large
debt for supplies of all kinds, jjarticularly coal, was disclosed. In
the end this clebt reached $49,000, was bonded and was added to the
city's regular bonded debt. This is considered one of the worst
instances of official malfeasance in the history of the city.

A number of residents of Dubuque have distinguished themselves
in the flowery fields of authorship. Marion Hurd (McNeely) has
written poems and, with Mrs. Stokely, collaborated "Miss Billy"
and collaborated others with Jean Wilson. Mrs. Mary Bingham
Wilson has written interesting poems, and Mr. Herman Ficke
magazine articles. Mrs. lumice Gibbs has written two books —
"One Thousand Smiles" and "The Cats' Convention." Harold
Wallis has written a volume of poems entitled "Youth." Miss


Marie Gannon is the author of several attractive poems; so is Miss
Louise Harragan. Herr Laubengeiger has a book of German
verses, and Mr. Walsh is the author of "Mirage of Many." Mrs.
Edith Keeley Stokely's poems are sweet and beautiful, as will be
seen from the following verse:

"The greenest grass, the sweetest flowers, grew at Aunt Polly's

The finest apples, miles around, Aunt Polly's orchard bore.
Aunt Polly's cows were sleek and fat, her chicks a wondrous size.
And Jabez Smith, the hired man, was witty, great and wise.
I used to go with Jabe at night, with clinking pails to milk.
Sometimes he let me feed the colts and rub their coats of silk.
And the moon that rose in those days, just behind the cattle bars,
Was twice as large as now, with twice as many stars."

A juvenile court was instituted here in 1905. In December,

1905, Mr. Oehler, of Dyersville, sued the Smith-Morgan Printing
Company for $20,000 damages for libel. In 1905 the races at the
Tri-State Fair were unusually fast. Twenty-one thousand persons
were present one day and 20,000 were present "Dubuque Day."
The J. R.. a new steamer, was launched at Eagle Point in the spring"
of 1905. The Iowa Dairy Company and Commercial Club were
active at this date. The gunboat Dubuque, previously launched,
was yet in service. The city assessment in 1905 was $23,832,460.
A dynamite bomb was feloniously exploded, shattering the entrance
to the Dubuque Club house, August, 1906. In 1906 the Eagle Point
Bridge Company spent $21,000 for a new span. Several dynamite
bombs were exploded late in 1906. One wrecked a watchman's
shanty in the Illinois Central yards. A reward of $300 was offered
for the miscreant. Lawther's candy factory burned down in Sep-
tember, 1906, entailing a loss of about $150,000. Work on the
Albatross, a steamer costing about $80,000, was commenced in

1906. At the Tri-State Fair in 1906 Dan Patch lowered the track
record 53/2 seconds. The Dul)uque Baseball Club ended the season
of 1906 in fourth place. By January 24, 1906, the citizens had sub-
scribed $125,000 to the Dubuque, Iowa & Wisconsin Railroad. In
January, 1906, the Dubuque Woman's Club celebrated its thirtieth
anniversary. Slot machines were banished from the city in 1906.
Speaker D. B. Henderson died here February 25, 1906. In March

Online LibraryFranklin T OldtHistory of Dubuque County, Iowa; being a general survey of Dubuque County history, including a history of the city of Dubuque and special account of districts throughout the county, from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 56)