Town Clock Plaza

700 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa

Historical Town Clock, Relocated a block and a half south of its original location in 1971



Photo taken by J.R. Manning in May 2012




A large, four-faced clock that has stood over Dubuque for over 130 years. The first clock was built in 1864, the first Town Clock was placed on the roof of the John Bell and Company Store building, a department store. The clock was too heavy for the building, and it all collapsed on May 25, 1872 with two women and a child killed in the collapse.

The second town clock was built in 1873 atop a new building. The mechanical clock was accurate to within two seconds every week, but required two workers to spend 90 minutes every week, turning cranks to reset the weights that drove the clock for 7 days.

In 1927, a new, electrified works was installed that was kept accurate by Western Union.

In 1971, in the wave of "urban renewal" that was sweeping the country, the City of Dubuque closed off several blocks of Main Street to build a pedestrian mall. The clock was moved to its current location to be the centerpiece of the mall. Recently, Dubuque discovered that the mall wasn't viable, and reopened Main Street to traffic. A small traffic circle was built around the clock tower.

The clock tower remains in the middle of that traffic circle.


19th Century (36,815)
Built 1873 (413)
Built during 1870s (4,889)
Dubuque County, Iowa (71)
In operation (1,913)
Iowa (2,477)
Tower (149)

Update Log 

  • May 30, 2013: Added by J.R. Manning

Related landmarks 


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net