note reproduced above, issued on Dec. 11, 1857, was turned up by a
Dubuquer in search through his attic. A check of county histories
shows that the company was organized on Jan. 23, 1857, and was
engaged in the improvement of river property here, and the building
of nine blocks of levees.
Those were the boom years in
Dubuque - 1856 and 1857. This organization was incorporated as the
Dubuque Central Improvement Company, with capital of $2,100,000.
The incorporators, whose names appear on the back of the note,
were Jesse P. Farley, Franklin V. Goodrich, Austin J. Goss, Robert
G. Waples, Christopher Pelan, Robert M. Walmsley, Alexander
Anderson and Frederick E. Bissell.
Signatures on the face of
the note are those of Mr. Goodrich, as president, and Mr. Walmsley,
as secretary. H.A. Littleton was the registrar for the county.
In searching for facts about the Dubuque Improvement Company,
other interesting observations about the growth and development of
the city were revealed.
One man, in a paper of that time,
reported purchase of a piece of property in 1856 for $170 and the
sale of the same property in 1857 for $1,000. Two lots at the
corner of Seventh and Iowa streets were sold for $30,000.
August, 1857, a horse railroad was projected from Dubuque through
The Secretary of the Treasury, Howell Cobb,
gave the contract for the new customs house and postoffice to John
Bastate and Jacob Fonts on their low bid of $87,334.50.
Dubuque Times was first issued June 15, 1857, by a corporation
consisting of 24 prominent Republicans. J.P. Farley was president;
D.N. Cooley, secretary; M. Mobley, treasurer, and George G. Lyon,
editor. The object was to establish a permanent Republican paper.
On Feb. 10, 1857, the new Odd Fellows' building at the corner
of Eighth and Bluff streets, collapsed, the roof dropping and part
of the wall falling out, crushing Captain S.C Foss and his wife,
who lived in the adjoining residence. Captain Foss was a soldier of
the War of 1812, and was one of the famous Dartmouth prisoners.
In October, 1857, the census of the city was taken, showing a
population of 15,957.
During the years 1856 and 1857 nearly
a thousand buildings were constructed here. Included in this boom
was the jail, Second Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian
Church, St. Raphael's Catholic Church, Tremont Hotel, Lorimier
Hotel, the Congregational Church, and the County Poorhouse.
The Express and Herald, a forerunner of The Telegraph-Herald, said
on March 18, 1857: "It is astonishing with what rapidity frame
tenements and buildings of different character are going up. We
remarked a week or more ago that the season had started, but we did
not dream of anything like the magical springing up of structures
that the past few days have brought forth."
It was on Jan.
1, 1858, that The Express and Herald said: "We are the most
important point on the Upper Mississippi River, a point which has
given our city the souriquet of 'Key City.' As the key, she
commands the whole of Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota."
Mayor Hetherington on taking office in April, 1858, reported
that he had taken the city census in 1852, and at that time the
population was 4,012. The population was growing at the rate of 30
per cent, he added, and the "population of the city is now 17,000."
In his financial report of the city he said: "The city council has
expended $350,000, while the revenue has been only $138,000."
~Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, Sunday morning edition, January 24,