Four Mounds History

//Four Mounds History
Four Mounds History 2017-08-02T23:28:06+00:00

Elizabeth Adams Burden willed her family’s historic estate to the City of Dubuque in 1982. The Four Mounds Foundation was founded in 1987 to carry out Elizabeth’s wish to preserve the estate and ensure that the entire community could access the site for education, preservation, and service.

Four Mounds Estate historical highlights:

  • Historic Grey House, 1908 Arts & Crafts styled mansion designed by Chicago architect Lawrence Buck with cultured grounds planning completed by Chicago landscape architect A. Phelps Wyman.
  • Between 1908-1911, most of the estate’s buildings were established including the barn, chauffeur’s house, gardener’s house and root cellar.
  • George and Viola Burden established the estate in 1908 to raise their children George (Bill) and Viola, and Four Mounds exists as the last intact remaining gentleman’s farm in Iowa.
  • In 1925, Bill Burden married Elizabeth Adams and the White House, a traditional Colonial Revival style was built so they could raise their family, which eventually consisted of three daughters Frindy, Vidie, and Betsy. Elizabeth lived in the White House until her death in 1982 and the property was bequeathed to the City of Dubuque.
  • Through the years, the Burden and Adams families maintained the estate with the help of dedicated employees and live-in staff, who were part of the larger Four Mounds family. These hardworking people included: two generations of Heitzmans who cared for the grounds spanning six decades; Hannah Driscoll who managed the Grey House for almost 50 years; Mildred “Mo” Hahlen who managed the White House for over 50 years; and Milton Kirch, chauffeur to the Burdens for almost 30 years.

The children of Four Mounds at the ice house, c.1934-35

Back, left to right: Don Heitzman, Sandy James, Ray Heitzman, Frindy Burden

Front, left to right: Vidie Burden, Norm Kirch

Learn more about Four Mounds’ rich history

Four Mounds digital archive
Site Heritage Plan, abridged
National Register of Historic Places nomination
American Bungalow article