"Fenelon Place Elevator Company" Top 5 Page for this destination Iowa Things to Do Tip by deecat

Iowa Things to Do: 97 reviews and 154 photos

  Jill Inquiring about the Elevator Ride
by deecat
  • Jill Inquiring about the Elevator Ride - Iowa
      Jill Inquiring about the Elevator Ride
    by deecat
  • View from Inside Elevator Car - Iowa
      View from Inside Elevator Car
    by deecat
  • Elevator going down - Iowa
      Elevator going down
    by deecat
  • Scene of Dubuque from atop elevator platform - Iowa
      Scene of Dubuque from atop elevator platform
    by deecat

Jill and I had such a good time seeing and riding the Fenelon Place Elevator. We learned that about 1882, a Mr. J.K. Graves [a wealthy former mayor and State Senator] lived in Dubuque on top of the bluffs. However, he worked at the bottom of the bluffs. At that time, everyone had one and a half hours for lunch. He hated spending so much time getting to and from his home. A world traveler, Mr. Graves had seen incline railways in Europe and thought that it would be a great idea to build a cable car. His private cable car was modeled after those in the Alps.

After his original cable car burned down, he had it rebuilt; this time [1893], he opened it to the public and charged 5 cents a ride. Unfortunately, the cable burned again. He did not rebuild; however his neighbors [10 of them] formed the Fenelon Place Elevator Company and used a streetcar motor to run the elevator and used steel cable for the cars. They reconstructed it so that two [funicular] could be operated at the same time.

It was rebuilt in 1977 with a modern gear box and a DC motor. The cable car that we rode is of that era. And the scene of the Mississippi River and the city of Dubuque is excellent. They say that on super clear days, you can see three states: Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

The Elevator is open from April 1 through November 30, 8:00 a.m.-10 p.m.
Rates [You pay at the top; you use the rope to ring the bell when you wish to go up]
Adults $1.00 or $2.00 round trip
Children .50 or $1.00 round trip
Bike and rider $1.50
Children under five go for FREE

Address: 512 Fenelon Place, Dubuque, Iowa 52001
Phone: 563-582-6496
Website: http://www.dbq.com/fenplco/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Written May 30, 2007
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse



“Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow, a promissory note; today is the only cash you have; spend it wisely. Kay Lyons”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 2 4

Have you been to Iowa?

  Share Your Travels