On our weekend adventure to Dubuque, Iowa, we were lucky to scope out magnificent views. One of our favorite views was atop the Fenelon Place Elevator. With a designation on the National Register of Historic Places, the elevator is the shortest and steepest elevator around bringing you 189 feet to the top.

Family fun awaits in Dubuque, Iowa with a ride on the Fenelon Place Elevator, an incline with spectacular views of 3 states.

The History of Fenelon Place:

The elevator was first built for personal use for Dubuque resident, J.K. Graves. He lived atop the bluff and wanted to cut down on his commute time so he decided that instead of going around the bluff on his buggy, going up and down a cable car would be a better option. Throughout the years, the cable car burned down twice until ten neighbors banded together to form the Fenelon Place Elevator Company.

Our Experience:

There isn’t much parking at the bottom of the elevator, so we spent at least 20 minutes looking for street parking.  We found out later that graduation ceremonies were happening downtown so that was the reason for the lack of parking. We decided instead to park by the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium on 3rd Street. It was an easy ten-minute walk to the elevator. Plus, it gave me tons of opportunities to view the street art. (More on that later.)

Family Fun in Dubuque, Iowa's oldest city, including riding up the Fenelon Place Elevator.

We arrived at the base, unsure what to do as they were no attendant. Thankfully, a former resident was visiting and knew exactly what to do. Just hop in and ring the bell. As we were going up the elevator, she told us that back in the days her husband used to go up and down the elevator with his bike. Her husband loved riding the elevator so much that his ashes were actually buried at the base of the elevator. She was paying her respects until we ran into her.

Family Fun in Dubuque, Iowa's oldest city, including riding up the Fenelon Place Elevator.

Here’s actual footage going 296 feet up the elevator.

After arriving at the top, we carefully stepped off (watch out for the huge gap!), paid our round trip fee, and then saw this little guy.

Family Fun in Dubuque, Iowa's oldest city, including riding up the Fenelon Place Elevator.

Then…look at those views! 

Ah-mazing views from the top of Fenelon Place Elevator. #otheplaceswego

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Family Fun in Dubuque, Iowa's oldest city, including riding up the Fenelon Place Elevator.

There are benches to sit down and take it all in…or sit as far away from the edge (like my little guy.)

Family Fun in Dubuque, Iowa's oldest city, including riding up the Fenelon Place Elevator.

Going back down didn’t seem to be as scary (or maybe we just got used to it!)

Family Fun in Dubuque, Iowa's oldest city, including riding up the Fenelon Place Elevator.

We kept busy by taking family selfies. Although, I do see one unhappy camper. I’m not even sure why.

Family Fun in Dubuque, Iowa's oldest city, including riding up the Fenelon Place Elevator.

Bottom Line:

If you visit Dubuque, you should set aside 30 -45 minutes to make the trek up the Fenelon Place Elevator.

Tips:

  • I’d suggest parking at bottom, then taking the car up. You’ll get more of a wow factor when you first take in the views.
  • It’s pet-friendly.

Nitty Gritty:

Website: http://www.fenelonplaceelevator.com
Address: 512 Fenelon Place, Dubuque, Iowa
Cost: $3 an adult roundtrip, $1.50 a kid roundtrip (5-12)

Open from April 1-November 30

 

Want to see what else we did on our weekend adventure to Dubuque, Iowa? Read this!