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ENGEL, H. A. "Heinie"

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Photo source: Wrestlingdata.com
ENGEL, H. A. "Heinie" (Reynolds, IL, Sept. 17, 1891--Dubuque, IA, Mar. 26, 1949). Engel is usually credited with being the man who popularized wrestling in Dubuque. (1) Educated at DUBUQUE HIGH SCHOOL and the BAYLESS BUSINESS COLLEGE, Engel worked as a fireman for the Milwaukee railroad from 1912 to 1915. He later served as an engineer with the same company until 1926. (2)

In 1929 Engel purchased all the outstanding stock in the Dubuque Nash Company at 636 Iowa Street. (3) He operated the ENGEL-NASH COMPANY for many years. Engel was an unsuccessful candidate for Dubuque County sheriff in the primary elections of 1938 and 1940 and in the general election of 1942. (4)

Engel began his colorful wrestling career in 1914 and remained a favorite for nearly two decades. One newspaper account described him as " the flying Dutchman from Dubuque who sells cars for a living and scrambles ears as a sideline." (5) His training camp was at the Third and Main Street arena. (6) Engel entered wrestling in the middleweight division but by 1931 was classified as a light heavy weight. (7) Engel defeated Lou Talaber, the world's middleweight champion in 1925 in a match which did not carry title implications because both men were overweight. (8) He remained a perennial title contender.

Engel poses beside the 1917 model Austin steamroller he operated for the Dubuque Street Department. He claimed he was given the job because he was the only man strong enough to crank the 1,100-pound flywheel. The small boy climbing on the toolbox was Frederick Ezekiel BISSELL, Jr. who became an executive of CARADCO. The boy examining the roller was Richard BISSELL. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald and Diane Harris
, who became an internationally known author.]]Engel died unexpectedly at his farm near Otter Creek of an apparent heart attack. (9)



1. "Heinie" Engel Dies Suddenly," Telegraph Herald, Mar. 27, 1949, p. 1

2. Ibid.

3. " 'Heinie' Engel Buy Out Auto Company," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, Feb. 25, 1929, p. 11

4. "Heinie Engel Dies Suddenly," p. 10

5. "Engel Is Most Popular Wrestler Ever Seen in Portland," Telegraph Herald, Jan. 25, 1927, p. 24

6. "Heinie Engel Dies Suddenly," p. 10

7. "Kiwanis President Urges Public to Support Benefit Athletic Show Friday," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, Sept. 13, 1931, p. 11

8. "Heinie Engel Dies Suddenly," p. 10

9. Ibid., p. 1