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.