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Dubuque in Dubuque County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Old Dubuque County Jail

Old Jail Museum (1857)

 
 
Old Dubuque County Jail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 7, 2013
1. Old Dubuque County Jail Marker
Inscription. Old Dubuque County Jail was built in 1857 by architect John Francis Rague. The Old Jail is one of only three surviving Egyptian Revival buildings in the entire United States. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also an official National Historic Landmark. It was constructed between February 1857 and the spring of 1858 at a cost of $40,000. The Old Jail was built with 18-inch thick walls made of gray limestone; cast iron was used for window and door frames and decorative columns. A two-story square section provided living quarters for the sheriff's family. The jail itself was constructed between the family's living quarters and the county courthouse. Three tiers of cells were located along the eastern wall with a catwalk used to reach the upper cells. A cell block in the curved-ceiling basement was used to hold Confederate prisoners during the Civil War; later, it was used to hold troublesome prisoners. In 1874, six cells were added to house juveniles and women prisoners. In 1971, the building stopped functioning as a jail. The Dubuque Art Association signed a lease to rent the building for use as a museum in 1975, even though it still housed the county's juvenile probation offices. The Art Association continued its lease of the jail through 2003, when they moved to a renovated modern style bank building across
Old Dubuque County Jail Marker (<i>tall view; Dubuque County Courthouse in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 7, 2013
2. Old Dubuque County Jail Marker (tall view; Dubuque County Courthouse in background)
from Washington Park. Since then, the Dubuque County Historical Society has owned and operated the building as the Old Jail Museum, to display some of its most unique and interesting artifacts.

Visit the Old Mail Museum
The Old Jail Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Old Jail Museum is also available for field trips, group visits and private functions at any time by appointment.

Receive a discount when purchasing Old Jail Museum tickets in conjunction with the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium or the Ham House Historic Site.

Admission is free to members of the Dubuque County Historical Society. Group rates are available.

 
Location. 42° 30.076′ N, 90° 39.891′ W. Marker is in Dubuque, Iowa, in Dubuque County. Marker is on Central Avenue (U.S. 52) north of East 8th Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located on the east side of Central Avenue, midway between East 8th Street and East 7th Street. Marker is at or near this postal address: 720 Central Avenue, Dubuque IA 52001, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Francis Rague (a few steps from this marker); Grand Opera House
Old Dubuque County Jail Marker (<i>wide view; jail on left; courthouse in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 7, 2013
3. Old Dubuque County Jail Marker (wide view; jail on left; courthouse in background)
(about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Methodist Chapel (approx. ¼ mile away); Five Flags Theater (approx. ¼ mile away); Iowa's First Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Abraham Lincoln (approx. 0.3 miles away); "Fourth Street Elevator" (approx. 0.4 miles away); Dubuque Shot Tower (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dubuque.
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large, painted metal signboard hanging on a metal frame.
 
Regarding Old Dubuque County Jail. National Register of Historic Places (1972). National Historic Landmark (1987). The Old Dubuque County Jail building currently houses the Dubuque County Veterans Affairs offices.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Old Dubuque County Jail
 
Also see . . .
1. Dubuque County Jail. The Dubuque County Jail, completed in 1858, is an example of the uncommon Egyptian Revival style. It is architecturally a highly original work of John
Old Dubuque County Jail (<i>Sheriff's Residence; 2-story tower; north end of jail</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 7, 2013
4. Old Dubuque County Jail (Sheriff's Residence; 2-story tower; north end of jail)
F. Rague, who also designed the 1837 Old Capitol of Illinois and the 1840 Territorial Capitol of Iowa. It served as a jail for more than a century, became a museum in 1975, and was converted into county offices in 2016. The new county jail was built with blue limestone from Dunleith, Illinois. (Submitted on November 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Dubuque County Jail. The structure is an outstanding example of the Egyptian Revival style; it exemplifies the antebellum penal reform movement in the United States. The stylistic rarity and its intrinsic architectural merit make the Dubuque County Jail a highly significant cultural monument to America’s architectural history. (Submitted on November 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. ArchitectureArts, Letters, MusicLaw Enforcement
 
Old Dubuque County Jail (<i>east side view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 7, 2013
5. Old Dubuque County Jail (east side view from near marker)
Old Dubuque County Jail (<i>east side view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 7, 2013
6. Old Dubuque County Jail (east side view from near marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 29, 2018. This page originally submitted on November 21, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 34 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on November 21, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 22, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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