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Encyclopedia Dubuque



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Photo of the 1400 block of Central around 1918. The Jewel Tea Company is shown next to the Theis & Johnson Auto Repairs & Machine Shop, Oakland Six Service with Goodrich and Willard Batteries signs, and the Nutwood Garage & Livery with a gasoline sign. Photo courtesy: Center for Dubuque History, Loras College

JEWELL TEA COMPANY. Frank V. Skiff, the son of Newton, Iowa grocer began Jewell Tea Company in Chicago in 1889. Skiff went down-to-door selling tea and giving his customers coupons which could be used to obtain "jewel" quality gifts. By 1917 the company had sales reaching $15 million with 1,700 routes nationwide.

Jewell Tea came to Dubuque in 1906. The company was located at 236 13th Street and managed by Fred C. Whitehouse. The company relocated in 1916 to 1447 Clay (Central), and W. C. Kolb became the manager. The company closed locally in 1918 when Edward McHenry, its manager, left town. Although it never reopened, salesmen continued going door-to-door selling a multitude of products for many years.

Photo in 2011.
The location of the Jewel Tea Company and ANTHONY AUTO SALES INC. in the 1400 block of Central underwent a lot of renovation over the years. During urban renewal in the 1960s, the buildings were gutted and an art deco facade was placed on the front. This location housed the Keystone Area Education Agency (AEA) in the 1980s and 1990s. The renamed Conlin Building later housed the Community Support Program and Operation New View offices and even later a church.



Gibson, Mike. "Yesterday and Today," The Golden View