On Saturday, July 6, from 10:00am – 1:00pm, celebrate 100 years progress since the Union Park Flood.  Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA (DCY) is recognizing the Historic Union Park Flood of 1919 by welcoming the community to commemorate those affected by this tragedy that took place 100 years ago. This event is free to the public and will offer discounted Zipline (four lines), guided park tours, snacks/drinks available for purchase and special memorial at 12:00pm.

Initially opening in 1891, Union Park became a destination spot for members of the Dubuque community. Over the next few decades, many additions were added to attract more park-goers. By 1919, Union Park housed attractions like Trolley rides, cave walks, The Pavilion dance hall, bandstands, children’s wading pool and playground, a wooden roller coaster, and The Mammoth Theater.

Tragedy struck the popular summer spot in the summer of 1919, when an afternoon thunderstorm quickly turned into a park-wide flood. Five people died that day at Union Park. Despite this tragedy, the community spent the next few decades repairing and revising the area, hoping to one day revive the spirit of summer and adventure engrained there for generations. Sadly, buildings were dismantled and the park closed in 1935.

In September of 1946, the YMCA and Boy Scouts purchased the area, constructing a new campsite with cabins, a mess hall, a swimming pool and stables. Children returned to spend long summer weeks at the Y’s Day Camp. In the mid-1950s, the Boy Scouts erected their own campgrounds, leaving the DCY 96 acres of rich history and beautiful greenery located off John F. Kennedy Road, on the west end of town. The Y has contributed many improvements to Union Park since then. In May of 2011, SkyTours Zipline was completed. This newest attraction allots 9 ziplines for a 2-hour certified-guided tour of the historic park. Last month the DCY was awarded $40,000 from the Dubuque Racing Association to rebuild the large pavilion that used for camper and camp guest.

100th Anniversary and Remembrance of Union Park Flood

  • Union Park, 11764 JFK Rd, Dubuque, IA 52001
  • 10am-1pm (12pm Memorial Service)
  • Free Admittance
  • Snack/Drinks available for  purchase
  • 4 SkyTours Zipline Tours available at reduced rates (limited Zipline flights available)

Despite its tragic history, the spirit of summer has returned to Union Park, demonstrating how far the YMCA Union Park has come. The power of service is seen and appreciated through the beautiful scenery and attractions. We hope you can join us as we continue to bring life— friends, family, and community—back to the park.


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