According to an early edition of the Missouri Times, people came from far and near to invoke the Higher Powers of the “Wishing Willow” in Fanning’s Log Tavern.
Tim Fanning felled the huge tree to provide docking room for his ferry boat, which ran across the Mississippi between Dubuque and Dunleith (now East Dubuque). Intrigued by the willow’s gnarled stump, Fanning brought it into his tavern where it became a table, a platform for dancing and a place for imbibing customers to “make a wish.”
The present “Wishing Willow” follows the same instructions for those wanting to make a wish:
Take a sip, then place your glass on the wishing table.
Drop a coin into the hole.
Make a wish. It must be positive, never negative.
(“Do not ask for what you will wish you had not got.” Seneca)
So whether you’re a history buff and want to toss back a cold one while checking out part of Iowa’s rich heritage, or you just want to grab a bite to eat and soak in our unique atmosphere, know you’re among a myriad of colorful spirits—past and present—at Lot One.
And, for the record, you don’t need to make a wish that you’ll be treated well at Lot One, as that’s a given.