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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

BUDA, Rocco

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Photo courtesy: David Kettering/Telegraph Herald
422-434 Loras. Photo courtesy: Old House Enthusiasts' Club House Tour, 1999
BUDA, Rocco. (Calabria, Italy-Dubuque, IA. 1997). Growing up in Italy within view of the Aspromonte Mountains, Buda was apprenticed by his mother to a tailor at the age of six. After months of practice with needle and thread, he was finally put to work. In 1938 when he was seventeen, his father then a carpenter in the United States, sent for him. Eight years later, Buda was on his own as a tailor. (1)

Buda first settled in Los Angeles, California where he worked in the wardrobe department of Paramount Studios. (2) In 1951 Buda moved to Dubuque where he operated his tailor shop in the AMERICAN TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK building at 9th and TOWN CLOCK PLAZA. In the 1950s and 1960s he made an average of fifty suits annually. By the 1990s this number had declined to three. (3) From the time he came to Dubuque until his death, Buda was the only tailor in Dubuque. Detailed and meticulous, he earned respect from those who hired him and those who only observed his work. (4) A great admirer of opera, he once carried a tuxedo on a bus trip to Chicago so that he could change clothes and be properly attired while watching a performance of Luciano Pavarotti. (5)

He was remembered with the naming of ROCCO BUDA, Jr. PARK.

The 1972 Dubuque City Directory listed 708 American Trust Building.



1. Gilligan, Amy. "Tailor Made His Mark," Telegraph Herald, August 22, 1997, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970822&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. Berg, Bob. "Dubuque Tailor Finds Alteration Work Suits Him," Telegraph Herald, October 10, 1994, p. 1

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Randy Lyon, personal observation at the concert