Four Mounds was bequeathed to the City of Dubuque upon the death of Elizabeth Adams Burden in 1982.
The estate consists of about 60 acres of bluffland along the Mississippi River, comprised of cultured grounds, historic gardens, woodlands, prairie, and rare oak savanna. The 17 buildings that make up the estate were residential, farm, recreational and support structures for the site.
The site is focused around the historic Grey House, a 1908 Arts and Crafts styled mansion designed by the Chicago architect Lawrence Buck. The cultured grounds were planned out by Chicago landscape architect A. Phelps Wyman. Many buildings on the estate's farm campus were built between 1908 and 1911, including the Barn/Garage, Chauffeur’s House, Gardener's House and the Root Cellar.
George A. Burden and his wife Viola developed this gentleman's farm in the country outside Dubuque in order to raise their children, George (Bill) and Viola. The Burdens were able to enjoy an idyllic country lifestyle, with downtown Dubuque accessible through the use of their automobile, allowing Mr. Burden to commute to work on a daily basis.
Location: 4900 Peru Road Date designated as a City Landmark: November 17, 2003 Date listed on National Register of Historic Places: January 24, 2002
Bill Burden married Elizabeth Adams in 1924 and the second primary residence on site was built for them, the White House. The architect of the White House is unknown, but it is in a traditional Colonial Revival style and always featured its signature white clapboards, columns and interior trim. The Burdens raised their three girls, Frindy, Vidie and Betsy, in the White House. Mrs. Burden occupied the home and the estate until her death.The Burdens would not have been able to maintain Four Mounds without the help of dedicated, long-term employees.
At the time of Elizabeth's death in 1982, she still had full-time, live-in staff. These people worked hard but were looked on as part of the Four Mounds family. The Heitzman's (gardeners and caretakers) lived in the lower yellow house (or Gardener's House) spanning six decades. Milton Kirch, the chauffeur, lived in and worked out of the upper yellow house (Chauffeur’s House) for over thirty years. He and his wife raised their three children there.