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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.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

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


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DAIRY QUEEN. The soft serve formula was first developed in 1938 by Paul Conversano (Grandpa)(1871‒1963), and his son Alex McCullough. They convinced friend and customer Herb Noble to offer the product in his ice cream store in Kankakee, Illinois.

On the first day of sales, Noble dished out more than 1,600 servings of the new dessert within two hours. Noble and the McCulloughs went on to open the first Dairy Queen store in 1940 in Joliet, Illinois.

Since 1940, DQ has used a franchise system to expand its operations globally. The state with the most Dairy Queen restaurants is Texas. The Texas Dairy Queen Operators' Council facilitates marketing and the food system in Texas. Dairy Queen International is the parent company of Dairy Queen. In the United States it operates under American Dairy Queen. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. At the end of its fiscal year 2006, Dairy Queen reported over 5,600 stores in more than a dozen countries; about 4,600 of its stores (approximately 85%) were located in the United States.

DQ was an early pioneer of food franchising, expanding its 10 stores in 1941 to 100 by 1947, 1,446 in 1950, and 2,600 in 1955. The first store in Canada opened in Estevan, Saskatchewan, in 1953. The red Dairy Queen symbol was introduced in 1959. The company became International Dairy Queen, Inc. (IDQ) in 1962. It was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 1998.

As of 2010, Dairy Queen had more than 5,700 stores in 19 countries, including 652 locations outside the United States and Canada. With Dairy Queen being one of the largest soft serve franchises in the world, their main competition includes: Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry's, Braum's, Carvel, Culver's, Foster's Freeze, Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard, McDonald's, Sonic Drive-In, Tastee Freez, and TCBY. The Busiest Dairy Queen is found in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.




The 1948 Dubuque Classified Business Directory listed:

corner of 40 West 4th.

The 1957 Dubuque City Directory listed:

Banks Dairy Queen--2300 Rhomberg

Dairy Queen--80 W. 4th

The 1959 Dubuque City Directory listed:

Bank's Dairy Queen--2300 Rhomberg (owned by Paul and Leone Banks/operated by Clifford and Shirey Banks

Dairy Queen--80 W. 4th

Dairy Queen--2340 Rhomberg

The 1962 Dubuque City Directory did not list 2340 Rhomberg. The others were listed.

The 1964 Dubuque City Directory listed 2300 Rhomberg and 80 W. 4th

The 1966 Dubuque City Directory listed:

Dairy Queen-Drive In at 36 Locust

Bank's Dairy Queen.

The 1970 Dubuque City Directory listed:

Dairy Queen Drive In at 36 Locust

Knights Dairy Queen at 2300 Rhomberg.

The 1974 Dubuque City Directory listed:

Dairy Queen Drive In at 36 Locust

The 1977 through 1985 Dubuque City Directory listed:

36 Locust

2300 Rhomberg

The 1987 Dubuque City Directory listed:

2260 John F. Kennedy

2600 Dodge

2300 Rhomberg

The 1989 through 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed:

2260 John F. Kennedy Road

2300 Rhomberg



Sandy Tomkins