Maquoketa, originally Springfield, was established in 1838 in Iowa Territory. The present moniker, dating from 1844, reflects the town’s proximity to the Maquoketa River, and taps into the rich, mixed-culture heritage of the area.
Situated on the principal highway between Dubuque and Davenport, the community once claimed as many as 14 hotels to serve travelers sojourning between the two cities. The abundance of trees along its streets and avenues earned it the nickname, “The Timber City” in 1870.
Having hundreds of acres of primeval, hard-wood timber readily available, Maquoketa became a center for wood-based industry. Much of the Decker Hotel’s original furniture and woodwork was created by Maquoketa artisans, including the solid walnut staircase that still graces the building from the lobby to the third floor.