Here's a piece of trivia you can use to impress your other Dubuque friends.

Do you know why the Julien Dubuque Bridge was painted grey?

My friend, Aaron, has been doing his local history tours for Midwest Bus Trips and filled me in on the answer.

The bridge was started in 1941 from both the eastern and western shores of the Mississippi River. People in the area wanted a new bridge to replace the old bridge, called the 'High Bridge' or the 'Wagon Bridge.'

If I understand it correctly, this bridge was located next to the train bridge that still crosses the river by the Shot Tower and the Star Brewery.

When World War II began it was decided that a new bridge would also help facilitate military transportation. The bridge was financed with bonds, so it was initially operated as a toll bridge. The money collected was used to help pay off the bonds. (Bridge traffic was so heavy after the war that the bonds were paid off 11 years early, so it became toll-free in 1954.)

The bridge was finished and officially opened in 1943 at a total cost of $3.1 million dollars. (In todays dollar that would be about $56 million dollars.) 

But why was it painted gray?

It was built during war time, so painted grey to better camouflage it from possible aerial attacks.

Now you know another little piece of Dubuque trivia!

~Chris Farber

 

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