Saturday, October 5, 2013

"World's steepest, shortest scenic railway"

Exploring Northeast Iowa and Northwest Wisconsin

Last Sunday, hubby and I left on a week of touring a part of Iowa that we hadn’t seen before. Also, northwest Wisconsin. We started in Dubuque, Iowa. There is so much to see there. We spent almost two days at various interesting places. We went to Eagle’s Point and was able to look down on Lock and Dam no. 11(Steps on a river). on the Mississippi. But due to the pending government shut down, there wasn’t any river traffic. I was very disappointed. We would have loved seeing that in action. Just can’t imagine how that works.  We spent almost four hours at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. We were lucky there, too. It was closed the next day due to the government shutdown. One other museum we wanted to visit later in the week in McGregor Iowa was closed.

We also rode the "world's steepest, shortest scenic railway, 296 feet in length, elevating passengers 189 feet from Fourth street to Fenelon Place. Magnificent view of the business district, the Mississippi River and three states." from

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 im-possible because of the long buggy ride. John Bell, a local engineer, was hired to design and to build a one-car cable modeled after those in the Alps. 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. The Fenelon Place Elevator is still operating as it was many years ago. It is rickety. But the Ice Cream shop that is close to the cable car entrance assured me that there has never been an issue with its safety. I wasn't sure I wanted to take a ride but hubby promised me an ice cream cone when we came back down. Couldn't turn that down. Fun.
The next day we headed out to Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. More on our trip later this week complete with pictures.

Have a relaxing, blessed Sunday, 


  1. I loved the little video clip. It looks like a fun journey!

  2. Cool little trip! We're headed to Dubuque this Thursday--sad to hear the museum is closed.

  3. I would call the toll free number on this site and check and see if it is open. I understand some still are. Depending on how they get their funding.

    Here is another good site.

    I wish we would have spent more time in Dubuque. Neat city. We stayed at the Hilton Garden out by the greyhound track/Mystique casino. Very nice. 106 dollars a night.

  4. We also liked the Prairie Du Chein.area. A lot to see in Prairie Du Chein. Loved Pike's Peak in McGregor Iowa