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Mathias Ham Historic Site

Dedicated to sharing the rich history of Mathias Ham, the city of Dubuque, life on the Mississippi River, and life during the Victorian era, Mathias Ham Historic Site in Dubuque, Iowa not only brings history to life through costumed interpretation, exhibits, educational programs, and events but also is a space dedicated to enriching Dubuque’s future and its community.

Opened as a museum in 1964, the Ham House was completed in 1857 by Mathias Ham and is on the National Register of Historic Places. One of Dubuque’s earliest entrepreneurs, Ham built his estate with money earned from his successful lead mining endeavors.

Inside the home, elegant American and European furnishings exemplify the opulent Victorian lifestyle of a booming river town. John F. Rague designed this distinctive example of the Italian Villa style of architecture. As the architect for the Old State Capitols of Illinois and Iowa, Rague’s buildings were known for their monumental scale and elegance.

Visitors can step into pioneer life as it took shape in Dubuque and explore campus landmarks. The site is home to the Settler’s Cabin, Iowa’s oldest standing building, believed to have been built in the late 1820s by a French fur trader and later occupied by lead miners. A replica lead, and the last one-room school used in Dubuque County, the Humke School, built in 1883, and used as a school until it closed in 1966.

Topics: Spotlight Site

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