Dubuque is a city of 57,000 on the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa, directly across from the Illinois-Wisconsin state line. The downtown and dense working class neighborhoods are laid out on the narrow flats between the bluffs and the river, while the upper-income areas are at higher elevations.
Dubuque was settled by French lead miners in the late 1700's, and chartered as a city in 1833, five years before Iowa was created as a territory.
The city weathered the 20th century's industrial downturns and has a refreshingly healthy economy for an old Midwestern city.
The Dubuque County courthouse
I spent two hours in Dubuque, counting lunch, and took a long looping walk, but feel like I missed a lot of good stuff.
This is the first in a series of smaller Mississippi River cities in Iowa that I visited over the course of two days. I found them to have an interesting combination of steep hills, large, ornate downtowns, beautiful old houses, and heavy industry. These Mississippi River towns of Iowa are some of the neatest small cities in the Midwest, so look out for upcoming threads on them.