Population (2010)



This small, unincorporated village sits atop the highest point in Dubuque County. It was known as King for most of its existence, but sometime recently St. Catherine became the preferred name. I don’t know when or why.


The village was named for Judge John King, the editor of the first newspaper in Iowa, the Dubuque Visitor, which published its first issue in 1836, which was also happened to be the year the first settlers arrived. The early arrivals were primarily immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and Luxembourg; dairy farming was a common occupation. King had a peak population of 25, just enough people for a major league baseball team, before fading into obscurity. Several of the town’s original buildings were moved to the property of a local farmer.

Exploring the Area

The land for St. Catherine Catholic Church (5180 St. Catherine Rd.; 563.583.0092) was donated by the town’s namesake, Judge King. The inaugural mass was held in a log building on Christmas Eve, 1852. The parish was split between German and Irish immigrants who fought over the name: Irish parishioners wanted St. Bridgit, while Germans wanted a German saint. The church even had separate trustees for German and Irish members and separate sections in the cemetery. Bishop Loras found middle ground when he named the church after St. Catherine of Alexandria. The current Gothic Revival brick church was completed in 1887.

**Looking for more places to visit along the Mississippi River? Check out Road Tripping Along the Great River Road, Vol. 1. Click the link above for more. Disclosure: This website may be compensated for linking to other sites or for sales of products we link to.

Where to Go Next

Heading upriver? Check out Dubuque.

Heading downriver? Check out St. Donatus.

Community-supported writing

If you like the content at the Mississippi Valley Traveler, please consider showing your support by making a one-time contribution or by subscribing through Patreon. Book sales don’t fully cover my costs, and I don’t have deep corporate pockets bankrolling my work. I’m a freelance writer bringing you stories about life along the Mississippi River. I need your help to keep this going. Every dollar you contribute makes it possible for me to continue sharing stories about America’s Greatest River!

St. Catherine Photographs

©Dean Klinkenberg, 2009,2018