Logo by Ginger Cisewski
Old Towns of Dubuque County
Postal Stations are listed since people often identified their mailing addresses as places of residence.
Excerpts taken from Faith and Fortunes: An Encyclopedia of Dubuque County, by Randolph W. Lyon, 1998. This excellent source of information can be purchased from Mr. Lyon by writing to him at 1915 Admiral St., Dubuque, IA 52002. This history highlights significant individuals, businesses, towns, educational institutions, and community organizations from the past to the present. The appendices include lists of government officials, special recognitions, a bibliography of books and magazine articles, and a listing of primary and secondary resources to be found in Dubuque County.
Additional comments in brackets have been edited from the 1967, 1979, and 1990 Atlas of Dubuque County.
ALMA POST OFFICE: Established on March 23, 1855, and closed on October 7, 1857, the office was located in Section 9 of Taylor Township on the Delhi Road. Mail delivery after 1857 was rerouted to Farley. Joseph G. Wilson served as postmaster of the station which was named for a woman in the family of one of the area's first settlers.
ASPINWALL POST OFFICE: Located at approximately 17200 Balltown Road, the post office was opened, on March 28, 1855, at a site allegedly named for a stand of aspens. The office was closed on January 27, 1857; reopened on February 18, 1860; and then closed permanently on January 2, 1862. The postmasters were Milton M. Johnson and John H. Ritt.
AVENARIUS: Named for the Avenarius family, the community was incorporated on October 7, 1912. The original officials included Joseph Telser, mayor; John M. Kerth, assessor; Lawrence Ott, treasurer; and Frank, George and Sam Avenarius, Sam Cartigny, and Henry Giesel, councilmen. On March 26, 1917, by a vote of 16 to 2, the residents voted to disincorporate. This was realized by a court decree issued on April 20, 1917. The community included most of the areas of Marshfield, Telegraph Addition and portions of Section 2, 3, 10, and 11 of Dubuque Township. In 1994, this was included in the area of Sageville.
BALLTOWN: Incorporated on August 12, 1933, as one of many Beer Towns in Dubuque County, Balltown was never formally platted, but has existed as a settlement since the 1840's. The area was named for the Ball family, early settlers who arrived in the 1830's. A post office directed at first by Louis Backes existed in the community from December 15, 1884, through November 14, 1902, when RFD closed it.
BANKSTON: An unplatted, incorporated town named for John Bankston, an early settler. The community, one of the smallest cities in Dubuque County or in the state, is also one of the few without a municipal tax. The earliest known settler was Willis Thompson who settled on Bankston's Prairie, later called Bankston, in 1835. Later settlers, mainly from Ireland, established the community of Bankston in 1835. Religious services were first held in the home of Maurice Kirby who later donated six acres of land for a church, Saint Clements, which was constructed in 1860. The center of social activity was the store operated by Michael Ferring whose family continued to operate the business after his death and who built one of Bankston's first creameries. A post office operated in the community from September 12, 1860, until it closed on November 14, 1902, with the start of RFD. The Sisters of Mercy conducted an accredited high school in the community from 1907 until 1959. The city was incorporated on October 14, 1933, as one of the many Beer Towns.
BEER TOWNS: Specific communities incorporated in Dubuque County. In an effort to allow the sale of beer within its limits, the town of Couler became one of ten communities incorporated in 1933 almost overnight. The other towns included Asbury, Bankston, Centralia, Durango, Graf, Peosta, Sageville, Sherrill and Riverside. County officials later disputed the need for the incorporations stating that state law permitted the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors to license taverns within the limits of previously platted towns and villages. Most of the communities which rushed to incorporate would have fit this description.
BENNETTVILLE: Unplatted, unincorporated settlement. Located in Section 9 of Washington Township at the intersection of Hartman Road, Joseph Prairie Road and Eleanor Lane, Bennettville was named after a pioneer family which settled nearby. the community's post office was established on May 8, 1891. James J. Cota served as the first postmaster. The office closed on May 16, 1900, after the adoption of RFD.
BERNARD: By the late 1870s, confustion existed over the distinction between New Melleray Abbey and the village of New Melleray. To resolve the issue, the decision was made to rename the community in honor of Father Bernard McCaffery, a young priest of New Melleray Monastery, who treated the ill before the arrival of a permanent doctor to the community. On February 12, 1880, Bernard was officially listed in the record books. The town experienced an economic boom when the Narrow Gauge Railroad traveled through it on December 29, 1879. Bernard was platted in 1896 and incorporated the following year. Located around the city of Bernard in south central PRAIRIE CREEK TOWNSHIP, the Bernard Independent School District covered four and one half square miles. This district was closed during school consolidation in 1960.
BUNCOMBE: Unplatted, unincorporated settlement named for Dr. Buncombe, a rural physician. It was located in Sections 11 and 14 of Washington Township. Although no church remains and the school has long since been moved, the Presbyterian Cemetery lies just west of the site. During its existence, Buncombe offered area residents a blacksmith, inn, and two post offices. The first post office opened on September 16, 1852, and closed on January 23, 1864. A second post office opened on May 13, 1872, and was closed in 1900 with the establishment of RFD.
CASCADE: Located along the border of Dubuque County and Jones County on either side of the North Fork of the Maquoketa River in Cascade Township and Whitewater Township, Cascade was incorporated in 1880. In 1832, the site was named for its waterfall by James Langworthy while he explored the area with a group of men. The first settlers named Delong arrived in 1834. Their claim included the falls which was attractive as a source of power. Delong later sold the falls and a narrow piece of land to John Sherman and Arthur Thomas. In 1837, they built the first flour mill. In 1838, the Delong brothers constructed the first saw mill two miles north of Cascade; it was later known as Dillon's mill after Lyman Dillon, another early settler. Dillon is remembered for having established the path of the Military Road from Dubuque to Iowa city. By 1856, a post-secondary private school, the Cascade Academy, was operating. German and Irish immigrants were the principal groups who settled in Cascade, with the German's attending St. Martin's Catholic Church and the Irish attending St. Mary's Catholic Church.
CENTER GROVE: Unplatted, unincorporated village that was annexed by the city of Dubuque in the late 1870s, it was located at the junction of the present Wacker Drive, U. S. 20, and Cedar Cross Road. The community's first post office was opened on March 27, 1877, with the third post office closing in January 1900 with RFD.
CENTRALIA: West of Dubuque on the original route of U. S. 20, it was established as Dacotah, platted, and recorded on January 23, 1851, by William Stratton. Settlers experienced difficulties receiving mail because another village had a similar name. On March 20, 1854, the town's named was changed to Centralia due to its central location in the county. Travelers often stopped at the Ten Mile House, an inn on the eastern side of town. During its "boom time" in the 1850s, there was an effort to make Centralia the county seat; however, this didn't occur when the railroad and U. S. 20 were routed through Peosta instead. Another disappointment was when Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church was moved to Peosta in 1923 at the order of Archbishop James J. Keane. The first post office, called Centre Town, operated from February 8, 1849, until March, 1854. The last post office was closed on June 14, 1902 due to RFD.
COTTAGE HILL POST OFFICE: This postal station, located in Section 25 of Concord Township, was opened from June 16, 1854, until April 15, 1907. It was named for a small house constructed on the hill by the first settler. It once served a thriving community (possibly PLUMBEOLA) with two churches, school, and several businesses. Cottage Hill Independent School District was one of seven in Concord Township; it closed in 1960 with school consolidation. In 1994, only one cemetery remained.
COULER: Unplatted, it was incorporated on June 15, 1933, encompassing 54 lots. It was annexed by the city of Dubuque in 1977.
DERINANE POST OFFICE: Postal station in Vernon Township from February 28, 1857 to 1869, it was managed by Peter C. McLaughlin.
DONELAN POST OFFICE: This postal station replaced the closed Ogden Post Office on June 23, 1871, and operated until August 14, 1874 with James Phillips as postmaster.
DUBUQUE: Named in honor of Julien Dubuque, a French Canadian who was the first person to permanently settle in the area in 1788, early Dubuque was a lead mining town. Dubuque had the first state government, post office, and incident of capital punishment. Visit the links for more information.
DUKE POST OFFICE: Allegedly named for an early settler with royal heritage, this postal station was located in Section 24 of Washington Township; it was established by Simon Regan on November 8, 1872, and was permanently closed on February 26, 1886.
DURANGO: Originally platted in Section 35 of Jefferson Township, the community was moved to a location previously known as Timber Diggings when the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad bypassed it. Timber diggings, known for its rich veins of lead ore, was first settled in in 1834 by lead miners Presley Samuel, Thomas McCraney, John R. Ewing, Nehemiah Dudley, and Richard Marston. The town was incorporated several times with different boundaries, but for the final time on June 9, 1933, as one of the many "beer towns" of Dubuque County. Its first post office was established in 1881 and closed on May 24, 1983.
DYERSVILLE: The city lies primarily in western Dubuque County and overlaps into Delaware County. It was named for the Dyer family who settled the area in 1848 and contributed to its growth. The area for the City of Dyersville was originally settled by ten Bavarian immigrant families in 1846 (Krapfl, Hutterer, Stoeckl, Stackerl, Stangle, Urbang, Christoph, Schindler). The Dyersville Independent School District closed in 1960 after consolidation. Dyersville has attracted numerous manufacturing businesses over the years; it has been known as the Toy Capital of the World. The movie, Field of Dreams, was filmed nearby. The 1990 Census indicated the population to be 3,719.
EPWORTH: Located in the northeast corner of Taylor Township, the town was named after the birthplace of John Wesley, in England. Epworth was founded after Otis Briggs, Zephaniah Kidder, and Hezekiah Young gave up about 40 acres of their land for a town in 1855. On March 1, 1880, Epworth was incorporated during a period of rapid economic development. A Methodist seminary was built in 1857 by the residents; today it is known as Divine Word College. Epworth was known as "Little Jerusalem" or "Holy City" due to the residents' stand against liquor; 1933 saw the first purchase of alcohol in a local tavern. Epworth is home for an early childhood center and one of two high schools in the Western Dubuque County School District.
EVERGREEN POST OFFICE: Named for a stand of evergreen trees, this postal station was located in Section 17 of Iowa Township. Originally named Tivoli, it was established on December 6, 1854, and closed on November 2, 1855.
FARLEY: The discovery of limestone deposits by J. G. Wilson in 1854 led to an economic building boom in the area. The town was named in honor of Jesse P. Farley, who promoted the railroads and was involved in numerous financial projects. The construction of the Dubuque and Pacific Railroad between Dyersville and Dubuque aided in the growth of Farley. St. Joseph's Catholic Church was founded about 1856, and later Methodist, Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches were built. Early in 1868 a movement against liquor spread by the Good Templars. The Farley Advertiser newspaper was established by Charles A. Joseph in November 1880, and in 1943, officially merged with the Cascade Pioneer.
FARLEYVILLE: Platted in 1857 by Benjamin W. Balch, it was located in Section 2 of Dodge Township one mile northwest of Farley and three miles east of Dyersville. By court order, the land was vacated in 1914; there was no known significant development during Farleyville's existence.
FILLMORE: Titled "Hempstead" when it was platted on June 9, 1856, and later called East Hempstead on March 26, 1857, the village was located on the easterly side of Whitewater Township along Military Road. The site then became known as Fillmore when the post office was established on December 31, 1849, during the administration of President Millard Fillmore. In 1890, the parish of Sacred Heart, Fillmore, was established. A convent was built in 1903, with Sisters teaching in a small school moved to the church property.
FIVE POINTS: The site gained its name by the intersection of five roads in Sections 4 and 5 of Center Township. First settled in the late 1830s, the location was a thriving French community with a church, school, cemetery, tavern, blacksmith, creamery, and eventually a post office. Known as St. Joseph Settlement after the local Catholic church built in the 1840s, the community began to lose population in the late 1850s due to cholera, with survivors moving to the Dakotas. The parish later moved to Rickardsville. The cemetery eventually held only one gravestone.
GLASSNEVIN POST OFFICE: Located in Section 12 of Liberty Township, the office was established on February 5, 1855, by Matthew McCullough, and closed on April 13, 1860.
GLEN POST OFFICE: This postal station operated from May 5, 1886, until May 11, 1887 in Section 28 in Vernon Township. This site is believed to be where the Derinane Post Office was previously located.
GRAF: Located northwest of Dubuque, the land was donated for the community and the building of a railroad station by Christian Graf. Fossil hunters come here to look for rare fossil graphtolite found in rock outcroppings just west of the community. The 1990 Census indicated a population of 68.
HAZEL POST OFFICE: Located in Section 7 of Whitewater Township, this postal station was named for Hazel Valley in which a large number of hazel trees existed. It was in operation from April 9, 1883 to February 28, 1887, with Rosa Gasden as postmistress.
HEMPSTEAD: See FILLMORE
HILLSIDE: See SHEFFIELD
HOGANSVILLE: Originally called Whitewater, it was located in Section 8 of Taylor Township with the post office opening on March 7, 1846 by Otis Briggs. Confusion arose between the name of the town and Whitewater Township, so the community was renamed in honor of Daniel Hogan, the first white settler. On March 1, 1855, the post office was relocated to Epworth. The school district, also named for Hogan, was closed in 1960 due to consolidation.
HOLY CROSS: The parish of Holy Cross is one of the oldest in Iowa. In 1841, a party of young Irish men came to the area in search of land for their families. John Sweeney, one of the men, quickly returned to the area with his family on March 14, 1842. Located northwest of Dubuque, the area was first known as Pin Oak. On October 6, 1856, George Gallon offered a portion of his farm for a community named in his honor; it was called Georgetown. The church was called Holy Cross after a large wooden cross erected by Bishop Mathias Loras in 1842. The date the town became known as Holy Cross is unclear, although it was probably sometime after 1892. Formal education began in 1846 when a country school was opened near the present church. In 1883, the Sisters of Saint Francis began teaching at the school. In 1948 a high school was dedicated in honor of Pope Leo XIII. Due to declining enrollment, the schools were finally closed in 1988. The 1990 Census indicated a population of 321.
JEFFERSON POST OFFICE: Name for Jefferson Township, the post office opened on January 6, 1857, with John Crowder as the first postmaster, and closed on April 19, 1868 when it was moved to Rickardsville.
JOHNS CREEK: Unplatted, unincorporated, this settlement was located in Sections 1 and 2 of Cascade Township and Sections 35 and 36 of Dodge Township. Located in the same vicinity as Preston, the community once had a store, creamery, church, school, blacksmith, cemetery, and several homes. The school opened around 1856, closed in 1947, and was demolished in 1876. The Johns Creek Methodist-Episcopal Church, erected in 1860, served the community until 1921. Across the road from the church, the cemetery was used from the mid-1850s until 1923; today, the cemetery is the only indication of the community's existence.
JULIEN: This village was located across the Delhi Road from the Seven Mile House. The post office was established in 1856 and was finally closed in 1902 when the town was partially vacated. A popular picnic site, Sylvan Grove Park, was there. Today the former site is used as a parking lot for the Dubuque County Fair grounds.
KEANEVILLE: Town site planned for development by the Chicago, Great Western Railroad in 1912. about six miles north of Farley. Although a Catholic church and other buildings were planned, no indication could be found that any actual development or platting ever occurred.
KEY WEST: This village located south of Dubuque was platted in 1854 by R.C. Waples. Located on the Military Road, the village was settled in 1834 receiving its name because it was considered the "key to the west." In 1850, Bishop Mathias Loras moved Saint Raphael's Seminary (renamed Mount Saint Bernard's College and Seminary) to a farm along Military Road; it closed in 1860. In 1872, Saint Joseph's Church was constructed near the cemetery. A parish school was later constructed near the church. A post office was opened in 1876 in the store of Frank Kraack, and closed in 1900. Erected in 1937 to commemorate the centennial of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, the cross stood seventy-five feet on land which was once part of Mount Saint Bernard Seminary.
KIDDER: Also known as Kidder Siding, the postal station was located on the present Gun Club Road at the intersection with Heritage Trail. The area was named in honor of Zephaniah Kidder, an early settler and one of the founders of Epworth.
KING: Unplatted, unincorporated village south of Dubuque, the site was named for Judge John King. The first post office was opened in 1861 by Thomas Lawton. First settled in 1836, the area boasted a peak population of twenty-five people. In addition to the post office, the community offered a dressmaker, blacksmith, school, convent, and St. Catherine's Church. The post office was closed in 1902. Several of the original buildings from the community were moved south to the farm of Carl Weimerskirch.
LAPAGE POST OFFICE: Located at Five Points, the station was named for Celine LaPage, the first white settler. The office was opened on February 25, 1890, and closed on January 31, 1891. The first postmaster was Peter Weidemann.
LATTNERVILLE: West of Dubuque, the Joseph and Veronica Lattner family platted a town site in 1860 centered around their railroad construction business, and later woolen mills. A school was constructed as was Annunciation Church, built by the German settlers in 1868 as "St. Marien Kirche." The decline in the community has been traced to a tariff on imported wool which increased the price of products and decreased the market. The woolen mills closed, and the employees and Lattners moved to other cities. Today, the only reminder of the village is the church.
LAUDEVILLE: Unplatted, unincorporated settlement in Section 36 in Table Mound Township, the site was named for Fred Laude who operated a creamery with his sons. The settlement included several houses, a blacksmith shop, and a tavern.
LORE MOUND: Unincorporated, unplatted area in Center Township in the vicinity of Asbury, the area was served by a school constructed of native limestone in 1845-1846 which stands today in its renovated condition. Residents originally considered naming the school Bahltown, in honor of George Bahl, who had been a primary force in its establishment. Because there already was a Balltown, a recommendation was made by Mr. Bahl to name it in honor of his friend and an early settler, Antoine Lore, who had operated the second smelting furnace in the area years earlier. A postal station was established in 1883 and closed when RFD was established.
LOREVILLE: Located in Section 13 of Center Township, the village was filed for record on July 15, 1857, but never developed beyond farmland.
LUXEMBURG: Unplatted, incorporated (1912) city in Liberty Township, it is located at the junction of Route 52, Iowa 136, and Highway 3. The city was called "Fleeberg" from the Low German word "floeten" for whistling, the sound of the wind across the prairie. In 1860 when the post office was opened, the community was called Allison in honor of Senator William Allison, but letters were addressed "Luxemburg (Allison P. O.). A popular vote in the 1870s established the name as Luxemburg. The 1990 Census indicated a population of 245.
MARSHFIELD: Undeveloped community located in Section 3 of Dubuque Township, it was filed for record in 1856 by James Madison Marsh, a brother-in-law of the Langworthys. Between 1912 and 1919, sections of Marshfield, Laurel Hill, and Telegraph Addition were included in the incorporated town of Avenarius, but dreams of a major community failed to materialize, and the area remained largely undeveloped.
MASSEY STATION: A small railroad depot south of Shawondassee began about 1887, named in honor of Frederick I. Massey, the station master. Comprised primarily of summer cottages, it was located between the Mississippi River and the railroad tracks across from Nine Mile Island and directly south of the Mines of Spain State Park.
MCCANTS POST OFFICE: Located on Highway 20 west of North Cascade Road, this postal station opened in 1878 and closed in 1889; the postmaster was Elias McCants.
MELLERAY POST OFFICE: Established to replace the Millard Post Office, the station was located in Section 11 of Prairie Creek township and named for Melleray, Ireland. Operated in the McCarthy and b General Store which was probably at the site of the Twelve Mile House, the office was opened in 1853 with William Potts as postmaster, and closed in 1902.
MILLARD POST OFFICE: Established on May 1, 1852, the office was located in Section 16 of Prairie Creek Township. When John Smith, the postmaster, announced to officials in Washington, D.C., that he planned to sell his property, the office named for President Millard Fillmore was closed on August 29, 1853. It was replaced by the Melleray Post Office.
MORENA POST OFFICE: Opened on August 15, 1857, the office was located in Section 16 of Cascade Township near the Zion Reformed Church, school and cemetery. The office closed on September 30, 1858.
MOSALEM POST OFFICE: Opened on May 18, 1850, by Thomas Brasher, the office was located in Section 4 of Mosalem Township; it closed in 1864 when it was operated by Silias E. Russell. The area was later submerged by the Mississippi River or part of the Mines of Spain State Park.
NEW VIENNA: This early settlement was named by Bishop Mathias Loras in honor of Austria's King Leopold, who had helped Bishop Loras finance the diocese. Five German families (Fangmann, Rohenkohl, Tauke, Wiechmann, and Hellmann) moved to Iowa in 1843, settling at "Wilson's Grove," the present site of the town. Each family donated ten acres for the formation of New Vienna. The community was incorporated on May 31, 1895. In 1993, New Vienna was designated "a best small town in America." Much of the memorabilia of the area is housed at the New Vienna Historical Society Museum. The 1990 Census indicated a population of 376.
NEW VINE POST OFFICE: Henry Schemmel was the first postmaster of this postal station which operated from March 24, 1848 until May 7, 1855, when the name changed to New Vienna.
OAKLAND POST OFFICE: Opened on March 29, 1852, by Henry Smith, this postal station was located in Sections 1 and 12 of New Wine Township. Named for a nearby stand of oak trees, the office closed on November 3, 1859.
O'NEILL POST OFFICE: Located in Jefferson Township, the office was opened in 1896 and closed in 1902; John J. O'Neill served as the postmaster.
PEOSTA: Known originally as Caledonia, the town was platted in April 1883, by Elisha and Angeline Brady and Simeon and Sarah Clarke. S. Hildebrand, one of the first settlers, opened a store as did A. W. Beodell. A hotel was constructed in 1857 followed by Methodist, Presbyterian, and Campbellite churches. Catholics attended services in other locations until Archbishop James J. Keane decided to move the Centralia parish to Peosta. During the past decade there has been an economic surge in the area with numerous industries locating in Peosta. The 1990 Census indicated the population to be 9,270.
PERU: Located in Sections 25, 26, 35, and 36 in Peru Township, it was one of three towns in the new Michigan Territory platted in 1833 by the U. S. government (the others were Dubuque and Burlington). Peru was expected to rival Dubuque in commercial importance. A post office was operated from 1833 until 1842 with Thomas McKnight as the postmaster. Part of Peru was incorporated in 1933 at the town of Riverside, but discontinued in 1939. With the construction of the Zebulon Pike Lock and Dam, much of the town was condemned by the government. In the 1940s the remainder of the town was purchased by the John Deere Dubuque Works. Today, nothing remains of the original 275 lots and streets.
PIN OAK: This was a 19th century rest stop for travelers. John Floyd came to Iowa in 1833 from his home in Kentucky and named an area northwest of Dubuque "Pin Oak" for the surrounding trees. Beginning in 1844, he served as the area's postmaster for forty years. The post office was said to have been a hollow in a rotted oak completed with shelves for the mail. On January 29, 1899, the office was moved about one-quarter mile west to Holy Cross.
PLACID: Located in Section 35 in Taylor Township, a post office operated there from 1899 until 1902. Two stories are offered as to the origin of the town's name. One story alluded to the peaceful and serene surroundings of the area. The other story says that the place was named for Father Placid of New Melleray Monastery. The site was once the location of a church, school, cemetery, and store. Only the church and the cemetery remain.
PLUMBEOLA: Unplatted, unincorporated, this village may have been located in Section 23 or 24 of Concord Township just north of Cottage Hill. The property belonged to Richard and John Plumbe. The home built by Richard Plumbe for himself was still standing in 1995.
PRAIRIE CREEK POST OFFICE: Located in Section 34 of Prairie Creek Township just south of the present town of Bernard, it was established in 1877 with Michael Grace as postmaster; it closed in 1888.
PRESTON: Platted, unincorporated village in Section 2 of Cascade Township, Preston was filed for record on February 18, 1857, by William Preston, and was vacated in 1913. A post office existed in the location from August 30, 1855, until December 24, 1858, with Joseph Pate as postmaster. The only remnant of the town is Johns Creek Cemetery.
RICKARDSVILLE: Originally an unincorporated settlement known as Jefferson, the post office began operation in 1857 with John Crouder as the first postmaster. In 1868 the residents requested that the community's name be changed to Rickardsville in honor of Salmon Rickard, a former sea captain who brought his family to the region in 1845 and who donated an acre of ground for the establishment of a school. The town was incorporated in 1912. The 1990 Census indicated a population of 172.
RIVERSIDE: Originally incorporated on June 28, 1933, the community's location was approximately where the John Deere Dubuque Works was later located near the platted town site of Peru. The town was discontinued on February 23, 1939. The post office was short-lived, operating from January 17 to September 3, 1861. Henry Heil was postmaster.
ROCKDALE: Platted, unincorporated, Rockdale was annexed to the city of Dubuque in the late 1970s. It was settled by miners from Swaledale Valley in Yorkshire, England, who were lured to the region by the search for lead. By 1834, the area may have had the first grist mill in the state. The first Rockdale church and a school were established by 1838. Originally called Catfish Settlement, the name was changed in 1851 or 1852 by a minister of the Rockdale Methodist Church. Anthony Simpson was the first postmaster when the office was established in 1857; it closed in 1902. On July 4, 1876, a violent downpour caused Catfish Creek to overrun its banks, destroying a hotel, saloon, post office, blacksmith shop, two stores, and several houses. The death toll listed forty-two people.
ROCKVILLE: This pioneer community was located between Dyersville and Worthington on the North Fork of the Maquoketa River. In 1837, Lucius Kibbee was the first settler to file a claim in the area. In 1839, Gilbert Dillon purchased land, constructed the first frame house, and served as a the first Justice of the Peace. When John Lasher purchased land in 1840, the area was known as the Kibbee Settlement. In 1842, Oliver Olmstead built a sawmill and a school was constructed nearby in 1843. Olmstead donated forty-six acres in 1845 for the town. Rockville became a stopover for the Western Stage Company in its route from Dubuque to Independence. During this period of economic prosperity, the town had a grist mill, post office, rock dam, Methodist church, brick school, and six stores. In 1851, a flood destroyed the mills and dam. Then the construction of the Dubuque and Pacific Railroad through Dyersville destroyed the last of the businesses. The Methodist church was dismantled and moved to Plum Creek.
SAGEVILLE: The only property tax-free incorporated city in Dubuque County, it was one of the "Beer Towns." In 1850 Sageville was linked to Dubuque by a plank road. Beginning in 1852, tolls were collected for using the plank road. Repairs to the road were made until 1875 when it was torn up to make way for improved methods of road construction. Joseph A. Rhomberg had planned to develop a vacation resort in the area by creating a lake stocked with fish and surrounded by cottages, a three-story hotel, and a toboggan slide for winter sports. These plans were never completed. The Little Maquoketa River Mounds Preserve is along Highway 52 within the city limits. The 1990 Census indicated a population of 275.
SHEFFIELD: This pioneer community was four miles southwest of Worthington. A postal station opened in 1868 in Section 18 of Cascade Township, and closed in 1871; Orson W. Bennet was the first postmaster. The growth of Sheffield began in 1850 when Darius Holmes built a grist mill for processing wheat into flour, corn into meal, and grains into feed for livestock. Holmes also operated a saw mill. In 1856 Charles Gilman operated a water-powered paper mill; it was sold in 1866 to the Iowa Manufacturing Company of Dubuque which later filed bankruptcy. People gradually moved away.
SHERRILL: Named for two brothers, Adam and Isaac Sherrill, the town was originally called Sherrill's Mound or Sherrill's Mound. In 1856, Peter Fries, an Austrian immigrant, constructed an inn and tavern, which for years was operated as the largest entertainment facility outside of the city of Dubuque. Sherrill's Mound House gradually gained fame as the "Little Niagara Falls" for its popularity with newlyweds. Jesse James and his gang are reported to have stayed there. The town was one of the "Beer Towns" incorporated in 1933. The post office was established in 1858 with Peter Fries as the first postmaster. The 1990 Census indicated the population at 144.
SPECHT'S FERRY: Transportation system across the Mississippi River. Originally known as Weld's Ferry, it carried passengers and goods from Section 4 of Peru Township to Potosi, Wisconsin. John Specht bought the operation in 1852, and it remained in the family until the early 1900s when his widow died. At one time, it was a stop on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad with a depot, store, and post office. The first post office operated from February 6, 1872, to June 9, 1873, with Charles Herron as postmaster. Another office was opened on January 11, 1888, until June 30, 1893, with Adolphus Ott as postmaster. Two months after it closed, Frank Hamarstrom became postmaster of a reestablished office. This one existed from August 26, 1893, until May 15, 1948, when it closed permanently. The depot, which was also home for Edward Specht, was torn down. [In 1880, the river road was turned into the right-of-way for the Milwaukee Railroad and the big stone building became a railroad station and post office for the thriving community. Then, as bridges were built across the river, the ferry boats stopped, including Specht's Ferry.] More on Specht's Ferry.
SPRING MILLS: Located in Section 34 of Concord Township in what is presently Bankston Park, Anthony English and Andrew Erskine filed the site for record in 1856; it was vacated in 1895. Only a small cemetery containing a few stones remain to mark the site.
TARA POST OFFICE: Operated from 1857 until 1865, the office was located in Section 11 of Whitewater Township at a site named for an Irish settlement founded by early settlers. Patrick N. McManus was the first postmaster.
TIMBER DIGGINGS: See DURANGO
TWIN SPRINGS: In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Twin Springs was a popular picnic area located in Sections 16 and 21 of Center Township. Today it is a wide spot on the Heritage Trail.
WASHINGTON MILLS: Unincorporated village in Section 36 of Prairie Creek Township, a lumber mill was once operated by Oliver Bussard on the nearby Lytle Creek. Bussard also served as the postmaster for the office that was established in 1880 and closed in 1902. The Narrow Gauge Railroad went by in the 1880s. On February 22, 1907, a severe wreck occurred at the site in which one person was killed and nine injured. The Washington Mills School District closed in 1960 due to consolidation.
WAUPETON: Unincorporated, unplatted area located on the Mississippi river in the northwestern corner of Jefferson Township, the area later became a recreation spot with summer cottages. The first post office opened in 1861 with Joseph J. Pfiffner as the first postmaster. Postal service finally ended in 1955. The site was named for Chief Wahpeton whose name supposedly meant "People of the Leaves."
WILSON'S GROVE: The original name of the settlement which in 1846 was platted as New Wiene and later called New Vienna, was established by Robert Wilson who had settled there in 1833 or 1834.
WORTHINGTON: Located in Section 30 and 31 of Dodge Township, Worthington was founded in 1858 by Amos Worthington, an Englishman from Cincinnati, Ohio, who established a store on the path of the Farley to Cedar Rapids survey for the Dubuque South-West Railroad. Early settlers to the area were German and English with a smattering of Irish. The Worthington post office was established in 1860. In 1867, the Worthington School District purchased the St. George Episcopal Church for a school. The district closed in 1960 due to consolidation. Worthington's first parochial school began in the fall of 1874. When Worthington petitioned to become an incorporated town in 1892, the town included a creamery, public school, town hall, Baptist Church, Catholic Church, a feed store, and the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad. The Jaeger family served the community for 89 years in the areas of lumber, hardware, auto dealership, plumbing and heating. In 1987, the movie "Farm of the Year" (later renamed "Miles from Home") was filmed in and around Worthington. A history of Worthington has been published by Olan and Verla Tegler. The 1990 Census indicated a population of 435.
ZWINGLE: Located on the southern boundary of Dubuque County west of Highway 61 and partly in Jackson County, the town was named for Huldreich Zwingli, a native of Zurich, Switzerland, who was a contemporary of Martin Luther and John Calvin and a leader of the Swiss reform movement. The original settlers were followers of Zwingli's beliefs. The 1990 Census indicated the population to be 84.
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