The face of Dubuque's founder finally revealed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

The face of Dubuque's founder finally revealed

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Forensic artist Karen Taylor's scientific rendition of Julien Dubuque, 2012. Forensic artist Karen Taylor's scientific rendition of Julien Dubuque, 2012.
Charles Trudell's 1907 rendition of the founder, who had died 100 years prior to creation of this portrait. Charles Trudell's 1907 rendition of the founder, who had died 100 years prior to creation of this portrait.
Trudell's photo alongside his rendition of Julien Dubuque. Notice any similarities? Trudell's photo alongside his rendition of Julien Dubuque. Notice any similarities?
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

As it turns out, Julien Dubuque, founder of the key city, likely looked more like a suave and strapping businessman than a rugged fur-trapper.

The standard image for Dubuque shows a long-haired man with a strong jaw line sporting a proud mustache and racoon-skin cap. Artist Charles Trudell gave us this rendition in 1907, and it stuck.

However, there are two major problems with this portrait. First of all, Julien Dubuque died in 1810, nearly a full century before Trudell sat down to create the likeness, so nobody really knew what he looked like. Secondly, Trudell must have sat himself down in front of a mirror, because a side-by-side comparison of Trudell and his portrait of Dubuque reveal an unmistakable likeness.

While the face of Julien Dubuque was left up to guesswork at that time (and why not provide your own face as the answer?), scientific developments since then have allowed the city to finally, 250 years after Dubuque's birth, get an accurate picture of his visage.

Forensic artist Karen Taylor has worked for the FBI and crime TV shows, creating drawings of the deceased from their skulls and life details.

When Dubuque's grave was exhumed in 1897 to move him to his current resting place in a monument atop the bluffs in the Mines of Spain, a fore-thoughtful photographer snapped a picture of the founder's skull.

From that skull, and using details about Dubuque's life and social standing garnered through letters and other historical documents, Taylor created a more accurate picture of a well-to-do elite.

Gone is the impressive mustache. The fur cap and long locks no longer top his head. In that image's place, however, is a strikingly handsome, clean-shaven founder.

"He doesn't appear to look like Davy Crockett," John Sutter with the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium said. "He's not like this wild frontiersman running through the woods. He was definitely a businessman and an educated man."

The display currently resides in Dubuque's Old Jail Museum, but it will move later this fall to the river museum.

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