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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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Postcard featuring the Enzler store in Dubuque. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding.
Shoe brush. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding.

JOSEPH A. ENZLER'S TRUNK AND LEATHER GOODS STORE. Founded in 1889 by Joseph A. Enzler, the store's management was passed to Clarence J. ENZLER, the youngest son, in September, 1939. It was then called Enzler's Trunk and Luggage Shop and was considered the oldest retail establishment on Main Street. Branches of the store were operated in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo by Joseph W. and Walter P. Enzler, both brothers of Clarence. (1)

The 1899-1900 Dubuque City Directory listed this business at 606 Main. The Enzler store in Dubuque was located at 552 Main Street according to the 1909 Dubuque City Directory and was still listed there in 1918.

In 1910 the renamed Joseph Enzler Trunk Factory made a specialty of fiber trunks over a wooden frame. The company also made sample cases and carrying bases of the same fiber. If the customer desired, other materials worked into the same products included leather, metal, canvas, and rawhide. (2)

In addition to trunk manufacturing, the Enzler company was involved in all kinds of special leather work of order and made a specialty of repair work. A large line of leather goods was carried at all times and in such varieties of leather as walrus, alligator, seal, cowhide and pig skin. (3)

The factory was the largest of its kind in Iowa and one of the largest west of Chicago. Annual production was estimated at 3,500. (4) The store in later years was commonly known as Enzler's at all its locations in Iowa.

The 1937 Dubuque Consurvey Directory through 1957 Dubuque City Directory listed 567 Main.



1. "C. J Enzler, 29, to Run Store," Telegraph-Herald, September 12, 1939, p. 4

2. "The Enzler Trunk Factory Has Spread Dubuque Fame Afar," Telegraph Herald, Feb. 1, 1910

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.