The annual Historic Preservation Awards are given by the Dubuque County Historical Society in partnership with the Dubuque County Historic Preservation Commission.
The awards are announced as part of Dubuque Main Street’s Architecture Days programming. The awards recognize exterior preservation and restoration of properties throughout Dubuque County.
Presented annually since 1975, only the most recent year of awardees is on this page. For information on previous awards, contact email@example.com.
Members of the Historic Preservation Awards Committee: Left to Right Jason Neises, Duane Hagerty, Mike Gibson, Bill Doyle, Cinda Welu, RRS Stewart, and Emma Sundberg
Eligible historic properties must be located within Dubuque County. Properties should be at least 50 years old and are reviewed on criteria such as exterior construction materials; fenestration (windows); architectural details appropriate to the original design of the building; compatibility of the color scheme; alterations or additions to the structure; and appropriateness of the surrounding grounds to the original design of the building.
Property owners can nominate their own buildings, or nominations can be submitted on behalf of neighbors, friends, and others who have researched and thoughtfully restored historic property.
The winning properties are honored at an awards ceremony as part of Dubuque Main Street’s annual Architecture Days celebration.
To nominate a property for an award, complete the electronic form below or mail nomination content to the Historic Preservation Awards, Dubuque County Historical Society, 350 E. 3rd St., Dubuque, Iowa 52001. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for 2023 award nominations is Jan. 10, 2024.
Nominations after this date will be considered for the 2024 awards.
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Dubuque, 1699 Iowa St., Dubuque
The German Methodist Episcopal Church, now known as the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Dubuque, is the only Carpenter Gothic style church building in the Dubuque area, and one of the few examples of the style in the state of Iowa. The congregation erected the first German Methodist Church at 11th and Jackson Streets in 1846. They erected a larger church on the same site in 1854, then moved to the corner of 17th and Iowa Streets in 1885. The 1885 church was built from a design based on a pattern book developed by the Architect Benjamin Price.
In 1982, 20 people established bylaws and affiliated themselves with the Unitarian Universalist Association, from whom they received their charter in 1985 to establish the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Dubuque or UUFD. UUFD has occupied the former German Methodist Church since 2004. After looking at historic pictures of the building, UUFD decided to rebuild the belfry (the upper part of the bell tower) as part of the historic restoration of the building. The belfry had been removed over sixty years ago. During the substantial rehabilitation of the historic steeple, it has been expertly replicated and reinstated.
Lassance Barns, 22675 Millville Road, Epworth
While maps no longer show Millville, the Lassance barns are still there reminding us of this small hamlet once tucked into a valley just north of Epworth. There were once three grist mills along the streams in Millville, two of them on the Lassance farm. There was a one-room schoolhouse there as well. The lower barn hosted plays put on by the schoolchildren and barn dances for the Millville residents.
The barns were built by Tom Beresford, a Scottish immigrant who was the original owner of the farm. The first barn was built in 1910, and the second barn was built farther up the hill in 1923 using timbers from one of the old mills that had been deconstructed. Paul Lassance’s grandparents bought the farm in 1943. The lower barn was a multi-use structure with room for six milk cows and cattle pens. In 1950, it was turned into a cattle shed with a hay mow above. The upper barn was called the ‘horse barn’ or ‘dairy barn’ and had 15 stalls for milk cows plus stalls for draft horses. Two natural springs on the farm ran year-round, providing water for the house and the cattle and to cool the milk cans. It wasn’t until a severe drought in 2012 that they needed to drill a well on the farm to provide water.
These solidly built timber framed barns have been well maintained over the years and have not needed substantial restoration except for some work on their foundations.
Maiers-Weinstein House, 1389 Locust St., Dubuque
Saved from the brink of destruction and moved to a new location, restoring this home in Holy Cross was not only an act of historic preservation; it also helped bring a family together.
Built by local mercantile owner JP Sweeney around 1910, the home is designed in a four-square vernacular style. Sweeney’s business struggled, however, and the bank repossessed the home in the 1920s. Over the years, several different families lived in the home, but it was eventually abandoned. The town of Holy Cross needed the lot for an expansion of the fire department. The City sold the home to the descendant of one of the families who was interested in restoring it with her father who had grown up in the house. In 2007, the duo bought a new lot in town and moved the house. After placing the building on a new foundation, they worked on a new roof and siding. Most of the original windows were saved. Miraculously, most of the interior woodwork was intact and just needed a good cleaning. The rooms were replastered, and the floors refinished. A new garage with a design sympathetic to the historic style of the house was built on the lot.
The house now serves as an anchor for the extended family, hosting reunions and photos on the front porch, just like their grandparents did.
Former Western Hotel, 25226 Rt. 52 N., Holy Cross
Outside of the original colonial states, there are not many examples of the saltbox architectural design. Fewer are still found in Iowa, which makes this home unique. These images show some of the common attributes of this design that the current homeowners maintain.
Most notable is the deceiving simplicity of the front façade which gives the viewer a sense of a single-floor home. Though when seen from the side the house expands showing how the sloped roof covers more than originally meets the eye. This design is how it got its name of ‘saltbox’.
During the Colonial period, salt was a luxury item that had its own specially carved vessel with a slanted lid not unlike this feature.
This example of saltbox architecture was built toward the end of its first wave of popularity in the early 1800s.
In the 1830s, when the area west of the Mississippi was opened to white settlement, a man named John Floyd came to the farm. He purchased roughly 600 acres and built this house one mile East of what is now Holy Cross. Over the next several decades, Floyd transformed his home for the needs of the growing western community.
Over time, Floyd and his family operated a post office, hotel, and tavern from the home. With each different use, it slowly gained new names like ‘The Western Hotel’ and the ‘Pin Oak Farm’.
The current owners purchased the home in 1974 and restored original characteristics like its wrought iron locks, clear-sealed wooden floors, and interior painted woodwork. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places and was earlier honored for restoration by the DCHS Historic Preservation Committee in the 1980s for this work.
The Smith Family Barn
Built in 1917, this heritage farm award recipient was recognized (2021) for its maintained rooftop, ventilation cupolas, and framing details.
Langworthy House, built in the late 19th century, was recognized (2021) for maintaining its Italianate character with a wrap-around porch.
Burley Family Home
Built in 1920 by Renwick J. Luke, this home was recognized (2020) for its repainting and incorporation of solar panels that do not detract from its historic nature.
Textile Brewing Company
Built originally in 1906 as the Dyersville Gas Engine Company and later operated as a sewing factory, the building was recognized (2019) for renovations that included replica windows and returning the exterior to its more original form.