Mines of Spain
The Mines of Spain Recreation Area is a National Historic Landmark encompassing 1380 acreas of beautiful wooded prairie and features 14.5 miles of hiking trails, Julien Dubuque's Monument, Horseshoe Bluff, Catfish Creek and countless lead mines. Mines of Spain boasts of 252 archeological sites including Mesquakie Indian settlement, lead mining pits, smelter and shafts, fourteen early American farm sites and Indian mounds and rock shelters. Guests should stop at the E. B. Lyons Center at 8991 Bellevue Heights in Dubuque, IA for maps and information or visit www.minesof spain.org.
Mines of Spain is rich in national history. The Mesqaukie Indians are the earliest known inhabitants of this region and their village was located at the mouth of the Catfish Creek. The Mesquakie traded furs with French explorers and mined lead many decades before the Revolutionary War. It is believed that the first European to settle in what is now Dubuque Iowa was Julien Dubuque in 1788. On September 22, 1788, Dubuque negotiated a deal with the Mesquakie allowing him to mine the area's lead. In 1796, Dubuque received a land grant from the Governor of Spain to mine lead in the area. The Governor requested that the 189 square mile area be named the "Mines of Spain". Dubuque eventually married Potosa, the daughter of the Mesquakie Chief, Peosta. He died on March 24, 1810. The current stone monument was built in 1897.
Material for this article retreived from information from the E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center.