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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.


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KELLY'S BOOK STORE. Kelly's Book Store was torn down in 1924 to make room for the Woolworth building that would adjoin ROSHEK'S DEPARTMENT STORE. The book store had been started by James Kelly who once operated a news stand at the POST OFFICE. There were no letter carriers and everyone came to the post office for their mail. (1)

When he opened his book store on Eighth and Main, Kelly added standard literature, school books and "Catholic goods." The morning and evening papers were delivered by private carriers, but the street and stand sales of newspaper continued to be important. The Chicago morning paper, for example, did not reach Dubuque until after supper. "It was after supper that the professional and commercial classes entered Kelly's to get the Chicago paper." (2)

In 1895 the firm of Kelly & Son, now a bicycle shop, established the American Cycle Club of one hundred members. The purpose of the club was to supply each member with wheels. With a "cooperative plan" of $2 per week for fifty weeks, members entered a drawing held each week. The holder of the winning ticket received the first wheel for $2 and the second for $1. At the end of the fifty weeks, each member had a bicycle. The store carried several varieties of bicycles including "America," "Monarch," "Specter," "Crow," "Telegram," "Belvidere," and "Aradare." Members had their choice of machine. Ladies and gentlemen were members.

See: James KELLY

The 1904-1905 Dubuque City Directory located this business at 747 Main.



1. "Kelly's Book Store Historic Dubuque Landmark Passes," Telegraph Herald, April 20, 1924, p. 1

2. Ibid.

3. "Bicycle Parade," Dubuque Daily Herald, April 11, 1895, p. 8