In 1882, Dubuque was an hour and a half town - at noon everything shut down for an hour and a half when everyone went home to dinner. Mr. J. K. Graves, a former mayor, former State Senator, also promoter of mines and a banker lived on top of the bluffs and worked at the bottom. Unfortunately, he had to spend half an hour driving his horse and buggy round the bluff to get to the top and another half an hour to return downtown, even though his bank was only two and a half blocks away.
Mr. Graves liked to take half an hour for his dinner, then a half an hour nap, but this was impossible because of the long buggy ride.
As a traveler he had seen incline railways in Europe and decided that a cable car would solve his problem. He petitioned the city for the right to build. The franchise was granted on June 5, 1882.
John Bell, a local engineer, was hired to design and to build a one-car cable modeled after those in the Alps.The original cable car, which was built for Mr. Graves' private use, had a plain wood building, that housed a coal-fired steam engine boiler and winch. A wooden Swiss-style car was hauled up and down on two rails by a hemp rope.Mr. Graves' cable car operated for the first time on July 25, 1882. After that, he had his gardener let him down in the morning, bring him up at noon, down after dinner and nap, and up again at the end of the work day. Before long, the neighbors began meeting him at the elevator asking for rides.On July 19, 1884, the elevator burned when the fire that was banked in the stove for the night was blown alive. After Mr. Graves rebuilt the elevator, he remembered how his neighbors showed up when he used the cable car and he decided to open it to the public. He charged five cents a ride.
But the trip is very fun! What a view and if you are cable nervous-it's probably not for you!
Here we go up up up!
To the right of the alter is also one of several Tiffany light fixtures in addition to a really lovely window.
Can you imagine $200K in one day!?!?!?!
Here's the gist of the Mines of Spain area.
And that's the vacation for this year! Unless I can drag Hubs away for another day trip!LOL!