American Trust and Savings Bank

Also known as: Weather Tower
895 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa 52001

12 Story Beaux-arts tower in downtown Dubuque


Overview Looking West

Note the weather tower on the roof.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2012




In 1911, the directors of the German Bank decided that business had been good enough to expand by starting a new bank, the German American Savings Bank. As the winds of war in Europe were casting doubt on businesses with "German" in the name, the bank reorganized as the American Trust and Savings Bank in 1918. The reorganization also allowed more product offerings, and a new building was needed.

This Beaux-arts, steel frame tower with brick/marble fašade was completed in 1923. The American Trust and Savings Bank was one of two banks in Dubuque to survive the banking crisis of the 1930s.

A newer addition is a tower on the roof of the 12 story building that is used for weather forecasting. The narrow tower is ringed with red neon and a box on the top changes color to indicate the forecast.

If the red neon flashes bottom to top, warmer temperatures are predicted, if the red neon flashes top to bottom, the temperature will drop. Steady red means no change.

The color of the light continues the weather forecast:
White = Clear
Green = Cloudy
Red = Rain
Flashing red = Snow
Steady = No change
Flashing up = Warmer
Flashing down = Colder

Editor's note, a similar sign predicts weather on the roof of the Wisconsin Gas Light Company Building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Weather Tower 

Written by J.R. Manning

The sequence shows the temperature is going up.

American Trust & Savings Bank Weather Sign from J.R. Manning on Vimeo.


Beaux-Arts (7)
Building (4,468)
Built 1923 (697)
Built during 1920s (8,427)
Dubuque County, Iowa (71)
In operation (2,655)
Iowa (2,528)

Update Log 

  • January 18, 2015: Essay added by J.R. Manning
  • May 5, 2013: New photo from J.R. Manning
  • January 30, 2013: Added by J.R. Manning



American Trust and Savings Bank
Posted January 18, 2017, by Joe kieler (jkieler [at] supweld [dot] com)


this is a great tool for the town of Dubuque and i was told the story a few years back but it was not complete so i looked it up and it is very cool but i know there are a lot of people living in Dubuque and driving thru that have no idea what it means. it would be great to let every one know the whole story not sure how either radio newspaper a contest a saying on the calendar something is it great any ways i every morning and night i check it out thanks.