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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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C. L. Pritchard and Company. Established in 1877, C. L. Pritchard and Company of C. L. PRITCHARD and John Kuntz, was located at the corner of Fourth and White STREETS. Beginning in 1877 the company manufactured an inexpensive top for wagon seats for summer use. Increasing demand led to the manufacture of a more durable top that the company patented.

The company was destroyed by fire in 1878. Quickly rebuilt, the company in 1880 employed forty men during the busy season, and had five men on the road soliciting orders. They shipped their goods to every state and to Canada. An estimated two hundred and fifty vehicle tops of every description were produced weekly with annual sales estimated to be around $50,000.

In November 1880 the company was offered the opportunity to relocate to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Included in the offer, which was rejected, was two years exemption from taxation and easy rates on building. (1) By March 1892, he had established a plant in Aurora, Illinois with ninety employees. (2)

Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Order confirmation.

The 1878-79 Dubuque City Directory listed the corner of White and 5th.

The 1880 Dubuque City Directory indicated that this business was located at the northwest corner of 4th and White.

The 1886-87 Dubuque City Directory listed Main between Jones and 1st.

The 1890-91 Dubuque City Directory listed 74 Main.




1. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, November 21, 1880, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18801121&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. "In the Swim," Dubuque Daily Herald, March 29, 1892, p. 4

Oldt, Franklin. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880, p. 859