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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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FAIRBANKS' CRACKER BAKERY. In June, 1868, the Fairbanks' Cracker Bakery was established by Josiah FAIRBANKS, Amsden & Walker in a building on Main Street opposite the JULIEN HOUSE. During the succeeding winter, the establishment was partially destroyed by fire.

In 1870, Edwin W. ALBEE purchased an interest in the business, which was continued under the original firm name. In 1878 Albee bought up the interest of the remaining partners. As announced on May 14, 1880 in the Dubuque Herald, Albee changed the name of the company to the "Dubuque Bakery." (1)

The capacity of the factory was 100 barrels of crackers per day. Eighteen men were employed, at a weekly compensation of $150. One of the types of crackers was called the "Diamond Jo." (2)

The works were operated by steam power, machinery employed in all the departments, the baking being done in Vale's patent rotary ovens. A general market for the products was found throughout the Northwest. The annual sales in 1911 reached an estimated $60,000.

The 1868-69 Dubuque City Directory listed 29 Main.

The 1870-71 through 1878-79 Dubuque City Directory listed the business at 2nd between Main and Locust.



1. "Old Bakery With a New Name," Dubuque Herald, May 15, 1880, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18800514&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, December 24, 1878, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18781224&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Oldt, Franklin. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880, p. 760