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Dubuque, Iowa, chartered in 1837 is a Mississippi River port city rich in history and 19th century industrial architecture. Once larger than Chicago, it was known as the “Gateway to the West”.

Ongoing revitalization of the downtown has brought an urban chic vibe to many of the lofted Millwork District buildings, which face out onto narrow cobblestone streets, some end-stopped with a glimpse of the river to the east. Remnants of industry remain intertwined with carefully restored facades, constantly surprising the eye.

But not everything gets saved. Demolition is underway at the massive, originally coal-fired, power generator station (now owned by Alliant Energy), which has stood to the east of downtown since 1881, a Dickensian leitmotif for the city’s Industrial Revolution roots.

Industrial architecture has captivated me for years. I have to shoot this massif- which I’d admired many times driving quickly by on the highway 61 overpass- before nothing more than a muddy lot remains.

Its context in the Gateway City also bears inclusion here; Dubuque has the great broad shoulders of the earliest, working, smokestack and iron cities upon which so much of the American dreamtime was built.

Working series title: The Eve of Destruction.

Dec 5th, 2019

note: all images unedited

Canon 50 F1.4

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