Comments and Queries:

Question MarkThe "Mines of Spain" are situated about 20 miles south of Turkey River near Dubuque, Iowa. The site is located just south of town off of State Highway 52 and is now designated as "The Mines of Spain State Conservation Area". This scenic area is bordered by the Mississippi river and Catfish Creek and covers some 1,260 acres of bluffs and rolling hills cut with deep gullies. There are also areas of restored prairie grassland.

Though no "battle" happened here, the area offers excellent hiking opportunities along a small network of interpretive trails. At several points along this trail there are signs and markers pointing out evidence of early Indian pit mines and several 19th-century mine shafts.

Also of interest is the E. B. Lyons Nature Center. This center is the focal point of the Mines of Spain site and offers excellent exhibits and hands-on displays of the local flora and fauna. Though there are no military artifacts on display (in fact when we visited we found that the staff there knew nothing of the "battle") the Lyons Nature Center offers a LOT of great information on the plants and animals that inhabit the area. Plans are currently underway for future expansion to include a variety of recreational activities, including biking, cross-country skiing, canoeing and more.

If you are ever in the Dubuque area we highly recommend a visit to the Mines of Spain Recreational Area. It is well worth the trip and offers a small glimpse of the flora and fauna that covered the midwest during the American Revolution.

For more information, contact them at: the E. B. Lyons Nature Center, RR #2, Old Bellevue Road, Dubuque, IA 52001. Phone: 319-556-0620.

In the interest of personal safety, some of us choose to wear earplugs during the battle demonstrations. Couldn't we PLEASE look around and find some earplugs that aren't fluorescent orange or bright green? We all spend thousands of dollars on uniforms, clothing, weapons and accouterments so that we can accurately portray military life in the 18th-century, and the illusion is destroyed by a few individuals running around with neon dots sticking out of the sides of their heads! If I can see your neon earplugs from all the way across the field, the spectators certainly can too. Flesh-colored or off-white earplugs can be found at many Walgreens, Kmart or Walmart stores. PLEASE make the extra effort to find low-visibility earplugs!

Exclamation PointYour Servant,
Margaret Eiden

Editors note: Deci-Damp brand disposable earplugs are available in an off-white or pale yellow color. They have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 35 decibels -- one of the highest ratings available in an earplug. These will allow normal conversation and low-level signals to pass through but dampen damaging noise levels like those emitted from muskets artillery and serjeants. They are available from Conney Safety Products: 1-800-356-9100. Price is $24.56 for a box of 200 pairs (12c per pair). Though they are technically disposable, you can reuse these a few times before they start to get gamy, so a box should last you several years. Or, you can resell them to the folks running around with neon-colored earplugs!