800.798.7098   •   563.556.4200
200 Main Street   •   Dubuque, IA 52001

Archive: Sep 2015

  1. The Summer of ‘53

    mcgehe2It was a unique twist of fate that brought Douglas McGehe and his wife, Joan, back to Hotel Julien Dubuque.  Upon overhearing a conversation about a bus tour headed to Dubuque and Galena while visiting the Fort Wayne Zoo in Indiana, Douglas eagerly inquired about reserving seats.  “I was enchanted when I thought of the idea of going back to Dubuque,” Douglas said. “I called [them] right away and said, ‘What do I have to do? I want to go.’”

    Already thrilled about returning to his hometown, Douglas’s excitement grew immensely when he learned that he and his wife would be staying at Hotel Julien Dubuque, the exact location of their wedding reception which was held 64 years earlier.

    Douglas and Joan, both of whom are actively involved in the Towne House community in Fort Wayne, Indiana, recall many fond memories of growing up in Dubuque.  “You know, that’s where I met Joan,” Douglas said. “I graduated high school there. That’s where we were married.  There are a lot of great memories to revisit for us in Dubuque.”

    The couple met at a party in 1953, the very night that Douglas returned home to Dubuque from serving in the military.  Though they both had accompanied other guests to the party, Douglas made a point to introduce himself to Joan and invite her on a date later that week. “We went to Galena and saw a film at the Avalon Theatre… The owner knew that I had just gotten out of the service so they let us into the movie for free,” said Douglas.  “The movie was Moulin Rouge starring José Ferrer and Zsa Zsa Gabor. I took her to the Log Cabin for dinner…Anyway, we got married three months later.”

    Three months was a fast engagement even for the fifties, but Douglas was facing a job transfer from Dubuque to Columbia City and Joan wanted to make the move with him. “I told her about the transfer and she said, ‘I want to go with you’. Well, in 1953, when they say ‘take me with you’, you got married,” Douglas said.

    And fortunately so as Douglas and Joan have since proceeded to enjoy over 64 happy years of marriage, have welcomed and raised two daughters, and have made many amazing memories together.  “We’ve taken kids and adults to Europe three times.   We’ve been to Hawaii four times, taken seven cruises,” Douglas said.  “We’ve done a lot of things – we’re still doing a lot of things.”


    During their recent visit to Hotel Julien Dubuque, the couple enjoyed breakfast in the Harbor Gallery, the very same room where their wedding reception took place 64 years ago. Some highlights of their trip back to Dubuque include touring St. Luke’s church, enjoying a riverboat ride, and visiting Eagle Point Park.  They also took a drive to Galena and visited Log Cabin Steakhouse, the site of their very first date.

    “It was a phenomenal thing that we would end up back in Dubuque,” Douglas said. “I’m 88 years old so it was great to be able to do those things again.  This was just a wonderful opportunity and we enjoyed every minute of it.”

  2. Discovering Dubuque: Alte Glocke

    Alte GlockeAround every corner of Hotel Julien Dubuque, you will find photographs, sketches, and mementos that tell the story of Dubuque’s rich history.

    This bell, which now graces the porte-cochère outside of Caroline’s Restaurant, was once used to alert the people of Dubuque to the arrival of steamboats, warn of major fires, and bring attention to other significant events from the Firehouse at the corner of 4th and Locust.  Women of Dubuque had expressed their dissatisfaction with the sound of the bell’s predecessor and asked the city to purchase a new bell to replace it.  Their requests were denied; however, the women were determined to find a way to replace the bell.  They continually hosted fundraising parties, dances, and raffles, eventually raising $800 to purchase a new bell.

    The women’s success gave rise to the legend that any bride who rings the bell on her wedding day will never be in want.

    In 1970, when the bell was rediscovered, the hotel’s restaurant was given the name “Alte Glocke”, German for “Old Bell”.  Though much has changed in the restaurant since the 70s (including the restaurant’s name), the Bell still serves as a tribute to Dubuque’s history and its story is one that we hope will continue to live on for many years to come.


  3. Meet the Team: Diane Kaufman

    Leading a team of over 20 individuals in executing some of life’s most memorable events is no easy task, but Banquet Manager Diane Kaufman’s attention to detail, infectious enthusiasm, bright smile, and enormous amounts of energy make her the perfect person for the job! 

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque?
    “I love working with people. My very first job was at a local pizza and kids play place called Kid’s World. I started working there at the age of 14 and worked there until the restaurant closed when I was 18 years old. I moved up to a supervisor at age 16 and was responsible for opening and closing the store, leading other employees, managing the register and taking care of the cash drop at the end of the night. This was one of my favorite jobs as a teenager. I then went to school and obtained a degree in social work from the University of Northern Iowa in 2005.  I worked as a Domestic Violence counselor from 2005 until 2010.

    When the program I worked for closed due to funding, I decided to go back to school as well as start working as a server in the hospitality industry again since I remembered enjoying it so much. I started as a banquet server at Eagle Ridge and worked my way up to Banquet Captain. I also started working at Hotel Julien Dubuque and worked my way up to Restaurant Supervisor. I then decided to move to Denver where I remained in the hospitality industry working at the Renaissance Hotel as a server and banquet server. Upon returning to Dubuque, I applied for the Banquet Manager in May and here I am.”

    What are you most passionate about professionally? “I am passionate about providing a level of service that is the best possible!  Making people happy and making sure they enjoy themselves while here is what I love to do every day. Not just simply meeting people’s expectations for their particular event, but exceeding those expectations and ‘wowing’ them!”

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? “I love to spend time with my friends. I love traveling and exploring new places. I also enjoy swimming, especially in an ocean whenever possible.”

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? “Walking down on the river walk and hiking out at the Mines of Spain.”

    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? “I love the people I work with! I have an amazing staff of very unique, interesting young adults who I learn from every day. I also have a supportive management team that I am proud to be a part of. Most of all, I love to work banquet events!! I love to see all the different weddings and work all the different kinds of parties that are booked at the hotel. My job changes every single day which makes things exciting and interesting.”

    What is your personal motto? “Collect moments and memories, not things.”

    As a leader a large team, what strategies do you implement to keep your team motivated and energized? 
    “Make things fun! I have a very unique department where my staff has the ability to be creative and fun in their different job roles. Some staff members like to decorate and that is a huge part of making an event successful. Other staff members enjoy meeting and talk to new people which happens every day while serving the different events. I focus on different staff members interests and abilities and I allow them to be creative and fun with it while executing their job responsibilities.”

    Please share a fun fact about yourself. “I love to sing.”

    Contact Diane via email at banquetmgr@hoteljuliendubuque.com or by phone at 563.588.5575.