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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.




JOSEPH A. ENZLER'S TRUNK AND LEATHER GOODS STORE

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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. In 1939 it was claimed that the Enzler store was the oldest retail establishment on Main Street. Founded in 1889 by Joseph A. Enzler, the store's management was passed to Clarence J. ENZLER, the youngest son, in September, 1939. Branches of the store were operated in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo by Joseph W. and Walter P. Enzler who were 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 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 did all kinds of special leather work of order and made a specialty of repair work. A large line of leather goods was carried on hand 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.

The 1937 Dubuque Consurvey Directory through 1957 Dubuque City Directory listed 567 Main. In 1939 it was called Enzler's Trunk and Luggage Shop.

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Source:

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.