Town Clock District
Dubuque’s Town Clock resides in Town Clock Plaza on Main Street in downtown Dubuque. Originally erected in 1873, atop a building on Main Street, the clock was moved to the Plaza in 1971.
The clock, accurate to within two seconds each week, was operated with weights wound by cranks, which ran through a shaft into the basement of the building. Two boys spent an hour and a half winding the weights sufficiently to operate the clock mechanism for one week. In 1927, a new Seth Thomas mechanism was added. The clock was electrified by Interstate Power Company and synchronized by Western Union.
The thirteen-ton “tower” was brought to the current site Friday, February 12, 1971, where it was bolted to the four-column concrete pedestal. The four “faces” of the clock, weighing nine tons, were put into place on February 16 followed by the cupola weighing seven tons. The completely assembled clock stands about 110 feet, two feet taller than it did at its former location at 825 Main Street when it stood 108 feet above street level on a three-story building.
In 2007, a $165,000 City of Dubuque capital improvement project renovated the clock, which included the replacement of the electrical system, paint, and lighting.
The Town Clock Plaza is home to many festivals including Dubuque…And All That Jazz. The District is the heart of downtown with a multitude of businesses, eateries, and of course, the Grand Opera House.