Cottages on Dubuque Need Your Help!

November 13, 2014


UPDATE 2/14/15

On Monday, February 9, the City Council voted 4-3 against landmark designation of the cottages (with Botchway, Dobyns, and Throgmorton voting in favor). This means the property owner will be able to demolish these historic structures.


Thank you for the outpouring of support you've given to preserving Iowa City's history. There's much more work to be done!


UPDATE 1/24/15

At the public hearing on January 20, after an hour and a half of community comment, the City Council deferred voting on landmark designation in order to consult with the Planning and Zoning Commission, which voted unanimously at its December 20 meeting to recommend landmark designation. The City Council will discuss the cottages again and take a vote on February 9 at 7pm.


Will Ingles, owner of The Book Shop and resident at 608 South Dubuque, will have a trial on January 26, 1-5pm, on the second floor of the Johnson County Courthouse, to determine if he can remain in his cottage until the end of his lease term. Please attend to show your support!


UPDATE 1/9/15

City Council will hold a Public Hearing on January 20 at 7PM to listen to community comment about designating the two remaining cottages on South Dubuque Street as Local Landmarks. We need as many voices as possible. Speak at the meeting or write to councilors using this email form to support preserving these structures!


UPDATE 12/20/14

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend local landmark status to the three cottages on South Dubuque Street. The City Council will set a date for a public hearing on Janurary 6. Check back soon for more updates!


UPDATE 12/12/14

The City Council voted against holding a public hearing 4-3, so a moratorium on demolition is not in effect. However, an application to make the cottages local landmarks has been submitted. On December 11, the application went before the Historic Preservation Commission, and commissioners voted unanimously that the cottages are worthy of landmark status. On Thursday, December 18, the application will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission. If the commission decides that a local landmark designation meets the comprehensive plan, then the application will go before City Council. Write to City Council using this email form and tell them that the cottages should become local landmarks!


UPDATE 12/5/14

The City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, December 9 at

7 a.m. (yes, a.m.) to discuss whether or not they will hold a public hearing on granting landmark status for the three cottages on South Dubuque Street. Click here for full meeting details.


Keep sending in those letters using the email form to let councilors know you support a public hearing!


UPDATE 12/2/14

The second structural engineer's report, conducted by Morning Star Studio, is now available. You may access both reports as pdfs using the links below.


Morning Star Studio Report (Dec. 2)

VJ Engineering Report (Nov. 20)


The owner of the three cottages on South Dubuque Street has filed for demolition permits.


We need your voice more than ever. Write to our councilors asking them to set a public hearing to consider historic landmark designation, which would enact a 60-day moratorium on demolition. Sign this petition. Speak at the City Council meeting tonight at 7pm. We want these buildings to become landmarks, not thrown into the landfill!


UPDATE 11/25/14

We reached our fundraising goal to hire a structural engineer, and a second assessment was completed on Monday, November 24, as requested by the Planning and Zoning Commission. We anticipate the official report will be released this week.


Despite this, Will Ingles, owner of The Book Shop and resident at 608 South Dubuque Street, received an eviction notice by the City, calling for him to move out by December 8.


We are calling upon the City to hold off on eviction until the second engineer's report is reviewed.


Use the web form to write a message to City Council and tell them to stay the order to vacate, due to the fact that another report will soon be released and that just one year ago, 608 South Dubuque Street was deemed structurally sound by an inspector. Because the City's comprehensive plan calls for the preservation of the cottages, the City should first make every effort possible to restore and rehabilitate the cottages before opting to demolish.


UPDATE 11/21/14

The Planning and Zoning Commission has deferred making a decision on the rezoning change until another engineer gives a second opinion about the structural integrity of the cottages.


We need your help hiring this architectural professional. Visit our Indiegogo page to donate to this cause!


Thanks so much to everyone who has shown their support for saving Iowa City's heritage.



Panel: Dubuque St. cottages are historically significant - Press-Citizen

Demolition permits issued for Iowa City cottages; buildings ruled historically significant - The Gazette

Iowa City Council votes against public hearing for cottages - The Gazette

Future of South Dubuque Street cottages still unclear - Press-Citizen

Owner applies for demolition permits on three cottages - Press-Citizen

Zoning application withdrawn for Iowa City cottage property - KCRG

Historical preservationists working to protect cottages - Press-Citizen

Commission defers vote on rezoning historic properties - Press-Citizen

Iowa City committee asks for second review of cottages’ stability - KCRG

Building for the future, saving pieces of the past - Press-Citizen Editorial Board

Hodge withdraws zoning application for cottages - Press-Citizen

Proposed project in Iowa City raises questions for 19th century cottages - The Gazette

Demolition of Iowa City cottages would cost man his home, business - KCRG

In our best interest to preserve Civil War-era cottages - Guest Opinion, Press-Citizen

Some of city's oldest buildings could be razed - Press-Citizen

Historic cottages on South Dubuque Street in danger - Little Village



Three historic cottages on South Dubuque Street are in danger of demolition.


A large developer in Iowa City is proposing to rezone the 600 block of South Dubuque Street in order to make way for apartment complexes. Although Iowa City's comprehensive plan recommends preserving the cottages, the developer's proposal makes no provisions for their protection.


The cottages, located at 608, 610 and 614 South Dubuque, are some of the last remaining workers cottages in Iowa City, as well as some of the last remaining historic structures in Iowa City's former railroad district. Though small, their cultural and historical significance is great. Currently, they are home to three small businesses: The Book Shop, Suzy's Antiques & Gifts, and Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kung Fu Academy.


More information about these cottages can be found on page 3 of our fall newsletter. (PDF)


2401 Scott Blvd

Iowa City, IA 52240



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