The Sunday porch: Iowa view

Dubuque Iowa, J. Vachon, Library of CongressView from front porch of house on the bluff, Dubuque, Iowa, April 1940, by John Vachon, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Dubuque is located along the Mississippi River, at the junction of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It is Iowa’s oldest city and one of the few with hills.

At the time of the photo, mill working was an important industry in Dubuque. Vachon, on assignment in Iowa for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, wrote home, “This is the biggest sash mill and door center in the U.S. Little things fly around and get in your eye all day. Lots of smoke too.”

He may have taken this photo on April 18, when he wrote again, “Today was a good day. I walked miles and climbed awfully steep hills and got terribly tired.”