The Steepest Railway in the World Is In Dubuque
I finally made a trip out to Dubuque! After living in Iowa for a little over a year, I can finally say that I've been to one of the most unique towns on this side of the Mississippi!
The Fenelon Place Elevator is a MUST VISIT attraction that I recomend to anyone of any age...
...for anyone who had a bit too much to drink the night before, try it out after you get some Gatorade into your system!
Some friends and I decided to set out on a bit of a Sunday adventure to Dubuque. We dropped by SheShed Fest on April 24th and got to check out so many amazing vendors and shops.
After making some fun purchases we set out to explore Dubuque (or as I like to call it duh-boo-key)!
While I was having so much fun on this relaxing Sunday, I was also recovering from maybe the worst hangover I've had in my entire life. I really learned that not all of Iowa was flat the hard way.
My face was paler than the moon as we twisted and turned and rode through the hills of this river city.
One of the other interesting locations I got to visit that afternoon was the iconic White House home. It is private property so make sure to respectfully enjoy the architecture from your car.
The big attraction that we were going to check out was the Fenelon Place Elevator... aka the Steepest and Shortest Railway in the World.
This piece of history is located at 512 Fenelon Place in Dubuque and is a cable car railway system that will get you from the top of the bluffs all the way down to Cable Car Square in less than ten minutes.
Standing at the very top of the bluffs you could see all of Downtown Dubuque. It's a beautiful sight...for someone who wasn't fighting off a mean hangover from the night before.
PLEASE ENJOY ALCOHOL RESPONSIBLY
Looking down at this 296 feet railway I got just a bit queasy...
This truly is the perfect little adventure to go on with your friends or family. Once you get to the bottom of the bluffs you can stroll around, take in the history, and do a whole lot of shopping! I really did get to enjoy the entire trip, but my stomach felt a whole lot better when I went back up the elevator!
Next time I go, I'll make sure to be on my best behavior!
After my trip I did look into the history of the entire attraction.
History of the Fenelon Place Elevator Company
The staff at the Fenelon Place Elevator Company provided me with a whole lot of great information from their free pamphlets.
Back in the late 1800s, Dubuque was something called an "hour and a half town." At noon the entire town shut down so people could go home for an hour and a half to have lunch.
In 1882, they apparently called it dinner...weird right?
Mr. J.K. Graves, a former politician, banker, coal mines promoter, and just generally rich guy worked at the bottom of the bluffs. Whenever he went to his home which was located at the top of the bluffs, it would take him a whole hour just to traverse these huge hills.
Graves lived a life of leasure, and during this hour and a half respite, he liked taking a half hour to eat and a half hour nap...
Sounds like my kind of guy!
With the half hour horse and buggy trip up the bluffs and the half hour journey back, he could hardly fit this into his schedule! Graves had done some traveling in his life, so he appreciated the speed of the railroads.
So, in order to get his nap AND meal in, he petitioned the city for the right to build.
The very first cable car trip on the Fenelon Place Elevator took place on July 25th, 1882. Not too long after he started using this tool, people started asking for rides themselves!
Read more about this historic attraction on the official Fenelon Place Elevator co. website.
Take a peak at what it's like to ride in these railway cars yourself by scrolling down!