Shadow of the Founder

A cache by mmdals1 Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 8/10/2005
In Iowa, United States
3.5 out of 5
3 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

Shadow of the Founder - Puzzle Cache

This is my first attempt at a multipart puzzle cache. It will require a little bit of research to get to the final cache coordinates. Some of the information will require that you go to a couple of locations in town to get some data, and other bits can be acquired from other sources, including the Internet. The given coordinates will take you to the first clue.

The City of Dubuque is named after explorer/trapper/miner Julien Dubuque who explored the region. Setting out at a young age for the West, Dubuque reached Prairie du Chien, in what is now Wisconsin. By 1785 he crossed to the Iowa side of the Mississippi, then part of Spanish Louisiana. He ingratiated himself with a band of Fox encamped at a site nearby the present-day city of Dubuque, and by a written cession they gave him sole right to work their lead mines. This right was confirmed, and the first landholdings in Iowa to be given to a private individual were granted to him by Baron Carondelet, governor of Louisiana. For 20 years Dubuque worked the mines and traded in furs, employing indigenous people and French Canadian settlers. He retained the confidence of the Native Americans and was buried by them —with the honors of a chief— on a bluff overlooking the city named for him.

The final cache is located in the shadow of this bluff. In order to get the exact coordinates you have to determine the following clues, which have to do with things about Julien Dubuque or his namesake, the City of Dubuque.

1) There’s a hotel named after the man that is in the heart of the downtown historical district. You’ll need to know a couple of dates. Since what year has some sort of hotel consistently stood on this site? What year did the hotel burn down? The hotel was then rebuilt on the same site and stands yet today. (Additional Hint: The hotel has its own website)

2) On the backside of the hotel is a life size statue of Julien Dubuque. You will need to know the dates listed above the statue.

3) There have been two US Navy ships named after Dubuque. The first was a Patrol Gunship that has been decommissioned for 50 years. What is the ship number of this vessel? (Hint: USS Dubuque PG-??)

The second vessel is still in active service today. The USS Dubuque was commissioned in 1967 and is an Austin class amphibious transport dock. The ship even has the Julien Dubuque Grave tower as part of its logo. What is the ship number for this vessel? (Hint: USS Dubuque LPD-?)

There’s another reminder of Dubuque’s Naval history in town. There’s a Naval monument located on the campus of a local college, which coincidentally also bears the name of the City. The monument is plainly visible off of a major City street. The monument is in remembrance of sailors who participated in the school’s military program and then died in service to their country. What is the date when the monument was dedicated? (Hint: Don’t get too anchored down on this clue)(01/11/07 UPDATE: In an effort to activate this cache again, I'm pretty much giving you this one: This item is now by Chalmers Field at the U of Dubuque)

4) There’s a street named directly after the Founder. At the very end of the street is a historical marker dedicated to another explorer in the area, Zebulon Pike. On what date does the marker say Pike was in the Catfish Creek area visiting Julien Dubuque? You will also need to note Pike’s years of birth & death.

With the above numbers collected, you can start to figure out the final coordinates.


AA = Take the last two digits of the year that a hotel has historically stood on the same site, add this to the last two digits of the year of the fire that destroyed the hotel, then subtract 10 from the sum of the first two numbers.

BB = You will need the dates on the statue behind the hotel. Take the larger number, subtract the smaller number and then subtract another 20.

CCC = Find the Naval monument and its date of dedication. Transpose the written date to numerical (i.e January =1, February =2, etc.). Add the day, month and last two digits of the year. From that number, subtract the boat number from the Patrol Gunship that bore the name Dubuque. From that number subtract the boat number of the amphibious Naval vessel that bore the name Dubuque. Add 3 to this final number. (Note: this final number will be only two digits. CCC will be .0?? with ?? being these final two digits)

DD = Find the month when Zebulon Pike visited Dubuque. Take the month of the visit and (again January =1, etc.) multiply it by 10.

EE = Based on the dates on the marker, Zebulon pike was how old when he died? Add 4 to the age to get these coordinates.

FFF = Based on the dates on the marker, Pike would have been how old when he visited Julien Dubuque? Take that number, multiply it by 3, and add 9. This will be a two digit number the third digit is zero (.??0)

You should now have the final coordinates to take you to the final cache site. There are several routes to get to the site, all of which have nearby parking. Depending which route you choose, this can be a short walk or a long walk. There are many trails in the area. The easiest route goes from hard pack trail, to brushy trail, to goat trail. Overall the last leg of this cache is a simple route. Foliage may hinder you somewhat but I got pretty good readings when I planted it. I also went back to it twice (once to find my sunglasses!) and got good readings.

The cache consists of an ammo can with the usual trinkets and goodies. FTF gets bragging rights, a FTF “wooden” nickel, and $5 to get celebration beverage of your choice. Please make sure you replace it with good cover. Although it’s probably not a high muggle area, there is a lot of people who hike the area.


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

haqre angheny furys ng oyhss’f onfr. 07/07/15 ZNWBE FCBVYRE NYREG - Gur zbahzragf unir pbzr naq tbar naq zbirq sbe inevbhf pbafgehpgvba cebwrpgf, rgp. Lbh pna fgvyy gel gb pbzcyrgr gur chmmyr be whzc evtug gb gur pnpur ng A 42 28.088 J 90 38.870

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 3/3/2017 11:42:45 AM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (7:42 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum