"SHSI Certificate of Recognition"
"Best on the Web"

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.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
Jump to: navigation, search
Photo courtesy: Jim Massey
FRITH'S UNION SLAUGHTER HOUSE. The Union Slaughter House operated by the DUBUQUE BUTCHERS' ASSOCIATION and located at the foot of 7th Street was destroyed by fire in January, 1885. (1) In was quickly rebuilt. In October 1885 Dr. M. H. Wales, the city physician, and members of the health committee investigated the "nuisance" involving the Union Slaughter House and ordered it corrected. (2) In November, arrangements were made to supply the water tank of the CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE, AND ST. PAUL RAILROAD from the company's artesian well.

The plant was characterized again as a nuisance in 1886. The president of the company argued before the council that some of the names on the petition had been forged and that the issue was really over a boundary dispute. The council voted to If the rendering plant was forced to be closed the entire plant would be closed causing the loss of many union jobs. The council rescinded its order, but referred the matter to the local health authorities for their inspection. (3)

In 1891 pork packing was added to the operations at the slaughter house operated by the Dubuque Butchers' Association. The company had a daily capacity of five hundred hogs or 250 cattle with a total of fifteen employees. Cold storage was supplied by 1,500 pounds of ice. (4)

Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
The Union Slaughter House was purchased by Eugene E. FRITH around October, 1906 and renamed. (5)

In 1910 the Board of Health asked the city council to announce that all slaughtering of animals for sale in Dubuque should be done under the supervision of a United States government inspector or the city meat inspector and that proper arrangements be made with the slaughter house to have slaughtering carried out only during established hours. This would allow the inspector to have definite hours for the inspection of butcher shops. (6)

The announcement was made in April 1915 that the Union Slaughter House was being renovated to bring it up to government standards. As reported, cement was used to replace wood in every place possible to aid in sanitation. A refrigeration plant was installed eliminating the dependence on ice. The cold storage room would be used to store eggs, butter and milk in addition to meat. The total cost of the upgrading was estimated at $25,000. The facility had the capacity of processing one hundred hogs or twenty-cattle daily. (7)

Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
Located at 18th and Sycamore STREETS in 1922, the company was operated by Eugene E. FRITH whose father founded the company. Nine employees provided beef, veal, mutton, and pork to local and regional markets.

In 1934 and 1936 the slaughter house processed thousands of cattle from the Northwest drought area. Each month an estimated 1,200 head were shipped to Iowa where they were processed and then canned for relief programs. (8) Advertisements for butchering hogs were made in 1940.

In February 1937 the company was incorporated as E. E. FRITH COMPANY INC.

Eugene T. FRITH served as the company president.

The 1915 through 1934 Dubuque City Directory listed 18th and Sycamore as the address.




1. "Some Statistics," Daily Herald, January 1, 1886, p. 1

2. "City Council," Dubuque Herald, October 6, 1885, p. 4

3. "City Council," Dubuque Herald, June 8, 1886, p. 4

4. "A New Packing House," Dubuque Herald, February 22, 1891, p. 8

5. "Heavy Weight Steer is Killed," Dubuque Herald, March 10, 1906, p. 3

6. "Are Strong for Meat Inspection," Dubuque Herald, February 26, 1910, p. 3

7. "Union Slaughter House Remodeled," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, April 11, 1915, p. 30

8. "Cattle to be Shipped Here," Telegraph Herald, July 7, 1936, p. 3

Needle case advertising