Bellevue, Iowa

Coordinates: 42°15′33″N 90°25′35″W / 42.25917°N 90.42639°W / 42.25917; -90.42639
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Bellevue, Iowa
Downtown Bellevue, Lock & Dam No. 12, and the Mississippi River from air.
Downtown Bellevue, Lock & Dam No. 12, and the Mississippi River from air.
"A True Riverfront Experience"[1]
Location of Bellevue, Iowa
Location of Bellevue, Iowa
Bellevue is located in Iowa
Location in the United States
Bellevue is located in the United States
Bellevue (the United States)
Coordinates: 42°15′33″N 90°25′35″W / 42.25917°N 90.42639°W / 42.25917; -90.42639
Country United States
State Iowa
FoundedJuly 2, 1836 [2]
IncorporatedFebruary 5, 1851 [3]
Founded byJohn D. Bell
 • TypeCouncil-Administrator
 • MayorRoger Michels
 • City AdministratorTeresa Weinschenk
 • Total1.45 sq mi (3.74 km2)
 • Land1.38 sq mi (3.56 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
607 ft (185 m)
 • Total2,363
 • Density1,718.55/sq mi (663.57/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code563
FIPS code19-05635
GNIS feature ID0454496
WebsiteBellevue, Iowa Website

Bellevue (/ˈbɛlvj/ BEL-vew) is a city in eastern Jackson County, Iowa, United States. The city lies along the Mississippi River (at Lock and Dam No. 12) and next to Bellevue State Park. In 2020 its population was 2,363; up from a count of 2,191 at the 2010 Census, making it the second-largest and only growing city in Jackson County.[5]

The city lies in a valley created by two large bluffs (known as North and South Bluffs respectively), with the Mississippi River serving as the city's eastern border (the Illinois state border), and with the Mill Creek valley extending to the west. Geographically, it is part of the southernmost region of the Driftless Area, a portion of North America that escaped all three phases of the Wisconsinian Glaciation.

It is one of the few cities in Iowa to be built near large hills and bluffs, which account for much of the city's economic stimulation as a tourist town. The city attributes its name from the French words 'Belle' and 'Vue' meaning 'beautiful view', as well as an early settler, John D. Bell. The unique history and architecture of Bellevue draw visitors year round, mainly from nearby large population centers (including Dubuque and Maquoketa).


Jackson County, along with Jones and Linn Counties were established in 1837 and Bellevue was the named the seat of justice for all three counties. Prior to the formal opening of the county, Bellevue was laid out by John D. Bell in 1835. He built a cabin there and was the town's first postmaster.[6][7] The first hotel was built by Peter Dutell in 1836, and was called the Bellevue House.[8] When Iowa became a territory in 1838, the first census was taken and Jackson County had 881 people.

Illustration of Bellevue, Iowa in 1848 from the Mississippi.

The Bellevue War of 1840 gave the town an unsavory reputation and discouraged settlement in its aftermath. However, the population would double within two years. In 1838 the town of Andrew was designated as the county seat. Between 1848 and 1876, the struggle between Andrew and Bellevue for the county seat continued with the county seat being moved from one town to the other several times, with Bellevue constructing a county courthouse in 1845 that now serves as Bellevue Elementary, the oldest functioning school building in Iowa. As the county was settled, Maquoketa would become the dominant centrally located town when the railroad reached Maquoketa in 1873. The Town of Maquoketa then built a large city hall and offered to lease the building to Jackson County as a courthouse. The proposition was put to a vote and approved, and since then, Maquoketa has been the county seat.[9]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.41 square miles (3.65 km2), of which 1.34 square miles (3.47 km2) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2) is water.[10]


Bellevue has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), which gives it four distinct seasons. However, local weather is often not as extreme as that found in other parts of the Midwest, such as Minnesota or Wisconsin. Spring is usually wet and rainy, summers are sunny and warm, autumn is mild, and winters are typically cloudy and snowy.

Climate data for Bellevue, Iowa (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1941–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 63
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 28.9
Daily mean °F (°C) 20.5
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 12.1
Record low °F (°C) −35
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.30
Average snowfall inches (cm) 9.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.2 7.7 8.7 10.6 12.4 10.7 9.0 8.4 8.5 8.2 8.0 8.6 109.0
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 5.1 4.1 1.8 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.8 4.2 16.3
Source: NOAA[11][12]


Historical populations
Source:U.S. Census Bureau and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census[13][5]
The population of Bellevue, Iowa from US census data
The population of Bellevue, Iowa from US census data

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[14] of 2010, there were 2,191 people, 966 households, and 584 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,635.1 inhabitants per square mile (631.3/km2). There were 1,120 housing units at an average density of 835.8 per square mile (322.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.0% White, 0.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.

There were 966 households, of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.5% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.84.

The median age in the city was 46.8 years. 20.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.2% were from 25 to 44; 27.3% were from 45 to 64; and 24.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.0% male and 53.0% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 2,350 people, 942 households, and 629 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,410.7 inhabitants per square mile (930.8/km2). There were 1,012 housing units at an average density of 1,038.1 per square mile (400.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.79% White, 0.04% Asian, and 0.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.47% of the population.

There were 942 households, out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.01.

25.4% are under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 22.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,293, and the median income for a family was $44,438. Males had a median income of $35,507 versus $20,791 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,928. About 5.0% of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.3% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.


Bellevue has a rich history that has greatly influenced the culture of the city. The prehistoric Woodland Native Americans made their homes in the fertile valleys where Bellevue lies. Much later, so did the Blackhawk tribe of which evidence can be found in the form of burial mounds high on the south bluff overlooking the river. The European pioneers arrived as fur traders, farmers, and merchants looking to settle new land beginning in 1833; many floating across the Mississippi River on logs. These early settlers formed Bell View, the oldest city in the county and one of the five oldest cities in Iowa. The spelling was later changed to the French, Belle Vue and in time the two words were united and the town became Bellevue.

Historic Sites[edit]

Historical Site Year Built Location Image Description
Jackson County Courthouse 1845 100 South Third Street, Bellevue

Bellevue was named the county seat in 1837 before Iowa was a state. The Greek Revival style courthouse was built in 1845 to house the Jackson County Courthouse but in 1849, the county seat was moved from Bellevue to Andrew because it was a more central location. The structure was again the county courthouse from 1851 to 1861 during the controversy over where to locate the county seat and then moved again to Andrew after which the building was used as a public school. This style of courthouse is one of few remaining in the state.
Potter's Mill 1843 300 Potter Drive, Bellevue Potter's Mill, a restaurant and bed and breakfast that was formerly a flour mill built in 1843 is located in Bellevue. Potter's Mill is currently named on the National Register of Historic Places.

Jasper Mill was built by Elbridge G. Potter to mill flour and this 3 story frame structure housed an active milling business until 1969. This mill made use of terraced rapids on Mill Creek with a 20-foot rock dam constructed by Potter to serve the turbines and grist mill. At Potter's Jasper Mill they purchased grain by the bushel, ground and bagged it, and sold under the Jasper name. These products of Jasper Mill enjoyed a national reputation. Nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, Potter's Mill has been restored.

George Dyas House 1850s 23852 362nd Avenue, Bellevue The George Dyas House is the westernmost of a group of houses and agricultural buildings known as the Dyas Farm. This limestone home is one of the first examples of limestone architecture in Jackson County.
William Dyas Barn 1850s 41088 243rd Street, Bellevue The William Dyas Barn is one of only 9 standing limestone barns in the county and is still in use. The barn is built into the side of a hill with the second floor door at ground level in back, a true bank barn.
Mont Rest 1893 300 Spring Street, Bellevue This building was built in 1893 for $6,000 by Seth Luellyn Baker. He was a wealthy land developer who owned hotels, gold mines and paddle boats on the Mississippi. Seth Baker was originally from Bellevue and came back to buy what was known as the north bluff of Bellevue. He named the property Mont Rest. The locals almost immediately started calling Mont Rest "The Castle" because of its unusual architecture and its towering presence over the town.


Main entrance of the Bellevue High & Middle School campus.

Public education[edit]

Bellevue Community School District provides educational services to Bellevue, as well as the surrounding countryside and cities of La Motte, Springbrook, and St. Donatus. The school's colors are royal blue and white, and their mascot/team name is the Comets. Bellevue High School is located on a campus on the western edge of town, which also includes an attached middle school and athletic facilities. The high school underwent significant renovations in 2010, with the addition of a gymnasium, stage, cafeteria, student commons, locker rooms, Hall of Pride, and district offices. The Bellevue Community School District also includes the public Bellevue Elementary School, located in the pre-Civil War Jackson County Courthouse which was built in 1845.[16] The district supports free preschool and grades PK-12, with a total enrollment of 765 students in the 2019–2020 school year. In October 2019, school officials reported that enrollment for the district increased 10% over the past 5 years, contrary to State officials who have predicted a long term declining enrollment trend.[17]

Private education[edit]

Marquette Catholic is a private school in town. Its colors are red and white, and its team name is the Mohawks. They support grades PK-12. The school underwent major renovations in 2015 when the buildings were connected, a new cafeteria/gym was added, a Parish Center was added on, and additional storage areas were created. Significant improvements were also made in 2014 when a high school wing of the building was added. Within Marquette Catholic Schools is Blessed Beginnings Daycare. Marquette's enrollment for students in PK-12 is 240 students.




Bellevue radiates from the intersection of US HWY 52 (Riverview Dr.) and Iowa HWY 62 (State St). US HWY 52 continues north to St. Donatus and Dubuque and south to Sabula, before entering Savanna, Illinois via the new Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge. Highway 62 continues on to Andrew and terminates in the county seat, Maquoketa. Other roads coming into the city are Bellevue-Cascade Road (County D61) which terminates near Cascade, and Mill Creek Road (County D56) which terminates in La Motte.


Historically, there were hundreds of river steamboats that stopped at the grand staircase that led from the higher Riverfront Park to the riverbank to transfer passengers and necessary goods. The Mississippi River still is an essential route of economical transport for freight (with barges frequently passing), but no longer regularly carries commercial goods or passengers. Towards the mid 20th century travel by riverboat was no longer the best mode of transportation, and that aspect of travel diminished along Bellevue's banks. In the 21st century there has been an uptick in leisure cruises on recreations of large historical steamships that act as cruise vessels on the Mississippi. With Lock and Dam No. 12 bisecting the river, these steamships occasionally stop to let off passengers to shop and eat at establishments along Riverview Drive as they wait to lock through.

The city offers multiple locations to launch vessels, including the Municipal Boat Ramp (found below Riverview Park at the intersection of State Street and Riverview Drive), Bellevue Public Area Ramp (found south of town along US HWY 52), and at the Pleasant Creek Recreation Area (found 4 miles south of town along US HWY 52). Spruce Creek Park, located 3 miles north of Bellevue off of 395th Ave, offers a boat ramp as well as a large harbor for storage of boats, with some covered boat slips. The harbor is managed by Jackson County Conservation.[18]


The nearest moderately sized commercial airport is Dubuque Regional Airport south of Dubuque, IA along US HWY 61. Some small local airports in Maquoketa, Clinton, and Davenport serve small aircraft and agricultural purposes, with the nearest large commercial location being the Quad City International Airport in Moline, IL


In the center of the town, there is an on-street running railroad used by long freight trains. The railway is frequently used and divides Second Street on either side of it. Streets crossing this rail line include (from north to south) Jefferson Ave, Motte St, High St, Park St, Market St, State St (HWY 62), Jefferson St, Chestnut St, Vine St, and an underpass at the south end of 2nd St (Potter Dr). Formerly, a depot and rail yard supported passenger traffic along the now defunct Chicago, Bellevue, Cascade & Western Railway Company, which was a narrow-gauge railway.[19] Since its closure in the 1930s, the east–west running railroad was broken up, leaving the remaining north–south standard gauge rails that remain today under the control of the Alberta based Canadian Pacific Railway. There no longer are any passenger trains on Bellevue's rails.


  1. ^ "Bellevue, Iowa". Bellevue, Iowa. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  2. ^ The History of Jackson County, Iowa. Western historical Company. December 31, 1879. p. 532.
  3. ^ "List of Incorporated Cities" (PDF). Iowa Secretary of State. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  4. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "2020 Census State Redistricting Data". United states Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  6. ^ "Bellevue, Iowa City Information." ePodunk. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 July 2010. <>.
  7. ^ Owen's Gazetteer and Directory of Jackson County, Iowa. Walsworth. 1878. pp. 59.
  8. ^ Raymond R. Anderson & Chad L. Fields (October 25, 2008). "THE NATURAL HISTORY OF BELLEVUE STATE PARK, JACKSON COUNTY, IOWA" (PDF). Geological Society of Iowa. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  9. ^ "49. JACKSON COUNTY, IOWA." Iowa Genealogical Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 July 2010. <>.
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  11. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  12. ^ "Station: Bellevue, IA". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  16. ^ "NRHP Nomination form - Former Jackson County Courthouse". National Park Service. Retrieved April 21, 2015. with photo
  17. ^ "Bellevue Enrollment up 10 Percent in Last Five Years".
  18. ^ Spruce Creek Park - Jackson, IA
  19. ^ NARROW GAUGE RAILROAD – Encyclopedia Dubuque

External links[edit]