From the Archives

In June 2014 the Cable TV Division introduced a new showcase to highlight some of the historic Dubuque video recorded by Cable personnel over the years.  Some installments are programs that previously aired on the City's government access cable channel; some are raw video that has been condensed and edited for air; and some are a mixture of old and new video.

Many of the programs show parts of Dubuque that are drastically different than the city we know today.  We hope you find these programs both interesting and informative.
From the Archives Logo
From the Archives presents the most appropriate selections from the collection of old videotapes amassed over more than 30 years of recording local history.  The City's old video library from which these shows were selected is mostly 3/4" and SVHS tapes.  Recording stock back then was very expensive and much of the old video was recorded over because the blank tapes cost so much.  And certainly digital video in the 21st century is far superior to the analog recordings on which this showcase is based.
When Is It On?
From the Archives presents a different program each week.  Over the course of the week, the program will air four times on CityChannel Dubuque (cable channel 8 or digital 85.2):
  • Tuesday 9:00 a.m.
  • Tuesday 9:30 p.m.
  • Friday 2:00 a.m.
  • Sunday 5:00 p.m.

At the end of each program will be a short preview of the show that airs the next week.  To find out what program is on the air, please consult the CityChannel Dubuque Program Guide.

Show Snapshots

The Shows

City Hall Bell Raising
1990 | 13:00
This program presents newly edited video recorded in late fall of 1990 when the bell tower was put back on top of City Hall.  The program ends with portions of the dedication ceremony outside City Hall beneath the bell tower on December 15, 1990.
Field of Dreams Press Conference
1988 | 38:45
This program presents some raw video from the press conference at Carnegie-Stout Public Library on August 8, 1988, after filming wrapped up in the tri-state area on "Field of Dreams."  Although the film's director, Phil Robinson, attended the press conference, the Cable TV Division media library only had tapes for stars Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones.  Apparently City cameras did not have a microphone on the table where the stars were seated and the audio is a little difficult to hear sometimes.
The Trolleys of Dubuque

1987 | 17:02
This is an old Cable TV Division production of a historic look at the beginnings of mass transportation in Dubuque.
Francesco Licciardi
1989 | 33:54
In 1989, noted Iowa artist and one-time Dubuque resident Francesco Licciardi returned to Dubuque for an exhibition of his work in the Old Jail Gallery of the Dubuque Museum of Art.  During the exhibition City staff sat down with Licciardi surrounded by his paintings to talk about his life's work.  This program is just as it originally aired back in 1989.
The Freeway is Coming HD
1989 | 25:29
Connecting Dubuque to other Midwestern cities by four-lane highway played a large part in the city's economic development.  One big project was bringing Highway 61/151 through town as a divided highway.  The City's media library contains a number of videotapes recording the progress of this multi-year project.  This program uses video shot from a helicopter and moving car to show local residents how the highway would change the face of downtown.  Although some of the video is unstable, this program provides a great glimpse of what Dubuque looked like before the highway changed things.
The History of Mass Transit in Dubuque
1989 | 28:13
This is a Cable TV Division original production that uses an October 14, 1987, celebration of renovated offices in the Transit building at Central and 24th to examine the history of mass transit here in town.  It was written and produced by then Keyline Transit director William Kohler and narrated and directed by then Cable Franchise Administrator Merrill Crawford.
Mississippi River Peace Cruise
1986 | 26:44
This program presents excerpts from a Cable TV program that spent a day following delegates from the United States and Soviet Union who stopped in Dubuque while traveling down the Mississippi River on the Delta Queen.  It features a performance by the Colts and other musical performances at an event in Eagle Point Park.
A Collection of Shorts #1
This program is a compilation of two short programs produced by the Cable TV Division and some raw footage from an historic day in Dubuque history.  First is a 1985 program highlighting the beauty of Eagle Point Park.  Next is a 1995 program presenting the amenities of Five Flags Civic Center.  Finally, some raw footage from April 1, 1991, when the Dubuque Casino Belle came up the Mississippi River and entered the Ice Harbor for the first time.
Smitty's Place
1986 | 20:56
This is an old Cable TV program that highlights a rest stop along the Heritage Trail in Graf, Iowa, halfway between Dubuque and Dyersville.
The Grand Excursion
2004 | 15:12
This program presents some newly edited raw footage from June 28, 2004, when the Grand Excursion stopped in Dubuque.  The Grand Excursion was a major event along the Upper Mississippi celebrating the 150th anniversary of the original Grand Excursion.  That event celebrated the railroad finally reaching the Mississippi.  Dignitaries including a former President traveled by train to the Quad Cities and then boarded steamboats to travel up the Mississippi to the Falls of St. Anthony in Minneapolis.
Dubuque from the River
1991 | 24:18
This program presents raw footage of a boat trip down the Mississippi River from Lock & Dam #11 to the mouth of Catfish Creek during which the some members of the Planning Services Department were conducting a survey of the riverfront.  This trip occurred before the redevelopment of the Port of Dubuque and shows how that area used to look.
Historic Video Postcards #1
This program is a collection of scenes and events captured on camera over the years:  the Delta Queen arrives in town (July 24, 1985), Madison Street steps demolition (1989), a flight over Dubuque (1992), Julien Dubuque Bridge re-opening (November 2, 1991), scenes from Town Clock Plaza (June 1987), Cedar Cross Bridge opening (November 20, 1985), City equipment on display downtown (June 15, 1985), and an agriculture show at Five Flags (May 1984).
Historic Video Postcards #2
This program also presents a collection of scenes and events captured over the years:  driving into town from the south (date unknown/video stabilized), Water Pollution Control Plant dome collapse (March 12, 1984), Fremont Bridge opening (June 4, 1996), America's River construction in the Port of Dubuque (date unknown), scenes from Riverfest (September 1986), Northwest Arterial opening (October 16, 1997), Dubuque Casino Belle leaving the Ice Harbor (July 9, 1991), driving westbound on Dodge Street during construction (August 1995/video stabilized).

Music from Iowa's Sesquicentennial
1996 | 25:38
Dubuque celebrated Iowa's Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) with a party in Eagle Point Park.  This program presents a sampling of some of the musical acts that performed that day (September 1, 1996).

The Architect of Eagle Point Park HD
1991 | 25:27
Landscape architect Alfred Caldwell, famous for designing the Lily Pond in Chicago's Lincoln Park, was Dubuque's Park Director for a time in the 1930s and designed and built many of the buildings in Eagle Point Park.  In July 1991 he returned to Dubuque to see how his work had fared over the years.  Cable TV cameras went with him as he toured Eagle Point Park.  This program combines that video with some video we shot in 2009 of local architect and Eagle Point historian Steve Ulstad talking about the Park and Caldwell's work.
The Fur Trade Era
1989 | 49:19
During Riverfest in 1988, local historian Mark Wagner donned a period costume and gave a presentation on the fur trade era up at the Julien Dubuque Monument.  Cable TV staff recorded the event as night fell and early the next year turned it into a program.  Our From the Archives version is a slightly abridged version of the 1989 original.

A Collection of Shorts #2
This program is comprised of three segments:  1) a promotional video called Discover It In Dubuque (date unknown); 2) a collection of vintage promos, public service announcements, and CityChannel station IDs; and 3) a segment of a show called Inside Dubuque from 1993 regarding the Dubuque floodwall.

Highway 61/151 Update (HD)

1990 | 30:57
This program is a portion of an edition of "Inside Dubuque" which was taped on July 18, 1990.  Public Works Director Frank Murray explains in detail how the city will change as construction on the Highway 61/151 project proceeds.  Some construction footage shot that summer is included.  The program ends with a 2014 drive through town on the highway, recorded almost 24 years to the day of the original presentation.

The Roshek Building Grand Opening (HD)
2010 | 50:23
A ribbon-cutting event from November 9, 2010, celebrating the rapid and remarkable transformation of the Roshek Building into a valued community asset.

Classic Featurettes #1
This program is a compilation of Featurettes (short videos) that aired on CityChannel Dubuque:  Flight Over Dubuque (recorded at Riverfest on September 13, 1986), America's River Festival (June 11, 2006), Riverwalk Flower Baskets (May 2007), T3s on Patrol (July 2008), a look at an alternate mode of transportion for the Dubuque Police Department, and a time lapse of City Expo recorded in April 2007 called City Expo Express.

Classic Featurettes #2 HD
A compilation of five CityChannel Dubuque Featurettes (short videos), beginning with the Irish Hooley (August 2008), The Great River Rumble (August 2009), a Navy flier and Dubuque native returns in Flying Home (March 2011), a public art dedication and ribbon cutting on the Trolley Line Trail (May 2010), and the formation of the Dubuque Fire Department Pipes & Drums group (August 2010).

Five Flags - 100 Years (HD)
2010 | 18:45
A ribbon cutting event from November 2010 celebrating some improvements to and the 100th anniversary of Dubuque's famous Five Flags Theater.

A Community Cares
Two CityChannel Dubuque programs, the Crescent Community Health Center ribbon cutting from December 2006, and a short documentary on Dubuque citizens' volunteer efforts to help the Cedar Rapids community devastated by the floods of 2008.

Dubuque Before the Highway (HD)
1987 | 30:02
In March 1987 Cable TV staff positioned themselves at various points along the future Highway 61/151 corridor to record video of what the city  looked like.  This video is now very historic, and as its plays, a panel of veteran City staff describes what's being seen.

Flying the Future Highway (HD)
1988 | 24:24
Portions of an October 22, 1988, helicopter flight that concentrates on the proposed corridor of the Highway 61/151 project that changed the face of the city.  Certain streets and landmarks have been labeled.  The program closes with a brief segment that shows how the program was produced.

Lanes, Planes & Automobiles (HD)
This program presents three views of Dubuque before the completion of the Highway 61/151 project that significantly changed what the city looked like in the early 1990s.  It begins with an undated drive north into town on Kerrigan Road.  Next comes almost the same view near the end of the highway project when the divided highway replaced Kerrigan Road in some video shot on November 28, 1990.  Also shot on the same day is a drive over the new (not-yet-completed) 3rd Street overpass into the Port of Dubuque.  The program ends with 18 minutes of video shot from a helicopter on October 22, 1988.  The flight video has been stabilized, and through a motion-tracking process some of the streets have been labeled.

Port of Dubuque Ribbon Cuttings (HD)
2013 | 22:36
One event from June 1, 2013, celebrating the completion of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium's new Mississippi Plaza and the ribbon cutting for the Port of Dubuque Marina.

America's State Trees Woodland Walk (HD)
2013 | 30:14
A September 4, 2013, tree-planting event at the E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center at the Mines of Spain Recreation Area.  State Park Directors from around the country were meeting in Dubuque when this event occurred.  Trees from different states were planted along a new trail at the Mines of Spain.

Shot Tower Ribbon Cutting (HD)
2011 | 23:17
A May 2011 ribbon cutting to celebrate completion of Phase 1 of the renovation of Dubuque's historic Shot Tower.  This program includes rare video from inside the Shot Tower taken during the archaeological assessment of this structure.

Classic Featurettes #3 (HD)
A compilation of five CityChannel Dubuque Featurettes (short videos), beginning with Daybreak, Eagle Point Park (August 14, 2009), A Riverwalk Morning (March 16, 2012), Arterial Sunrise (June 28, 2012), The Arboretum in Bloom (July 11, 2012), Ice Harbor Morning (August 27, 2010), The Nina & The Pinta (August 18, 2010).

Classic Featurettes #4 (HD)
A compilation of six CityChannel Dubuque Featurettes (short videos), beginning with Queen of the Mississippi (September 5, 2012), A Summer Night at Bergfeld (June 5, 2011), Sutton Pool Doggie Dip (August 13, 2013), River Reflections (March 28, 2013), History Sets Sail (July 31, 2013), and Rollin' on the River (September 18, 2012).

Skies That Mesmerize
2010 | 25:12
Dramatic time lapse footage of the skies over Dubuque's City Hall recorded over a June weekend in 2010.  Captured were incredible cloud movements, an intense rain storm, and three separate moonrises which we combined in one segment to show how the moon's path across the sky changes from day to day.