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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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CELOTEX CORPORATION

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CELOTEX CORPORATION. Located on Charter and Salina STREETS, Celotex which was headquartered in Tampa, Florida, located in Dubuque in 1953. Production of decorator and acoustical fiber ceilings, insulating sheathing and industrial roof insulation, originally carried out locally by the MAIZEWOOD INSULATION COMPANY, used cornstalks. The invention of the mechanical cornpicker, however, resulted in cornstalks which could not be used.

These were replaced by wood fiber when Celotex purchased the Maizewood Company in 1967. The demand soared with production of ceiling tile increasing by 40% in July 1979. Products were sold locally through SPAHN AND ROSE LUMBER COMPANY and Wickes Lumber Company. Marketing nationwide was part of the Building Products Division of Celotex. In 1980 the Celotex plant, a subsidiary of the Jim Walter Corporation, occupied seven acres at Charter and Salina STREETS and employed 150 people. (1)

In 1981 the parent company closed the plant with no plans of immediately reopening it. A depression in the housing market was blamed. A short economic upturn occurred in housing renovation until this too ended. Orders for the company's products dropped by fifty percent. Until they were laid-off, the average worker made an estimated $7.00 per hour (2) In September, 1983 the company had four people on its payroll--to watch over the building. (3) The plant closed officially on February 1, 1985 and the building was put up for sale. (4)

The 1983 Dubuque City Directory listed 275 Salina.

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Source:

1. "The Celotex Corporation," (advertisement), Telegraph Herald, July 7, 1980, p. 30

2. Hendricks, Mike, "No News is NOT Good News for Celotex Workers, Telegraph Herald, December 1, 1982, p. 1

3. "The Future," Telegraph Herald, September 25, 1983, p. 37

4. "Celotex Closes Officially February 1," Telegraph Herald, January 11, 1985, p. 7