Guttenberg, IA is located
heart of little Switzerland along the Mississippi River corridor, just 20
minutes southwest of Prairie du Chien, WI and 45 minutes north Dubuque, IA.
We are know for our beautiful fall foliage, our German-Swiss heritage and many
activities associated with being on the west bank of the Mighty Mississippi
River and near Lock and Dam #10.
Guttenberg, incorporated in 1851, has a population of about 1980 residents
and it is the largest town in Clayton County. The influence of the German
population was best indicated by the construction during the period between
1845 and 1865 for over one hundred stone buildings. The bluff limestone was
easily obtained and good, local clay and lime for construction was available.
Four large riverside warehouses opened and a large flourmill, stores, and
hotels appeared during this period. The steamboat trade deposited merchandise
and picked up farm produce, milled flour and lead ore.
Prairie La Porte, meaning "the door to the prairie," was the first
name given to Guttenberg by French explorers in 1673. The Guttenberg area was a
site of Sac and Fox campgrounds until 1823. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803
transferred ownership to the United States and the Black Hawk Purchase of 1833
finally opened the area for legal settlement. Guttenberg’s past is preserved
today in the many limestone buildings built by German immigrants in the mid to
late 1800’s. These beautiful structures were used for both residential and
commercial purposes. Many are pre-Civil War era and are on the National Historic
Guttenberg's riverfront location influenced early commercial development. The
town first served as a focal point for westward settlement and as an early
governmental and administrative center. It was the early location of the county
seat between 1838-1843. Guttenberg served as a supply center for the general
area until the Civil War when railroads and an interior road system combined to
decrease Guttenberg's role as a market center.
The earliest businesses included general supply stores, blacksmith, wagon
shops, and hotels. The loss of the county seat in 1843 slowed growth and the
population declined. Economic revival began in 1845 with the influx of hundreds
of German immigrants under the auspices of the Western Settlement Society of
Cincinnati and continued with the development of the lead mining industry along
The German immigration began in 1845 and by 1850 the town was quite
sizable and nearly all German. The city takes its name from Johannes Gutenberg,
the inventor of movable type. A replica of a Bible he printed is on display at
the public library.
Come spend a day, a weekend or forever with us! Enjoy
strolling beautiful River Park Drive and the mile-long park, browse through the
many and varied shops and eating establishments or take a walking tour of the
magnificent limestone buildings that reach back in history.
Visit Guttenberg, where you will find
the people and the business community friendly and accommodating...check out the
Guttenberg, Iowa web page here:
510 Herder Street -- P.O. Box 40 --
Guttenberg, Iowa 52052
Office 563-252-4406 - Fax 563-252-4407 - Dan's Cell 563-880-0273