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


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Company offices. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
STAR ELECTRIC COMPANY. Incorporated on December 24, 1892 with capital of $100,000, the company listed as the board of directors Frank D. STOUT, president; F. B. Daniels, vice-president; W. J. Browne, secretary; and William S. MOLO, treasurer; with Bart E. LINEHAN as an additional member. (1) It immediately purchased the franchise and property of the U.S. ELECTRIC LIGHT AND POWER COMPANY.

Star Electric constructed a power station at Eighth and Washington STREETS. By 1895 the business had a contract with the city for the installation of three hundred electric lights. Commercial businesses purchased their arc lights as well as incandescent bulbs. Newspaper accounts of the time said the firm also provided power for printing and shoe manufacturing firms. (2) Star Electric was credited with providing electric power to the FOURTH STREET ELEVATOR and the construction of an electric power station for Cascade. Contracts awarded to the company included installing 2,000 lights in the BANK AND INSURANCE BUILDING, power for two passenger elevators, providing power to the pump that supplied the city's water, and all electricity needed by the DUBUQUE BREWING AND MALTING COMPANY. (3) The wiring of the Bank and Insurance Building was given special attention. Using the plans of large "fire-proof" buildings in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, the B & I Building had "iron armored interior conduit." Regular gas pipe was insulated inside with a composition paper. The electrical wires were then inserted. (4)

The Dubuque Daily Herald announced that the first carload of electric arc light globes ever shipped to Iowa arrived at the company on April 21, 1894. (5)

In July 1899 it was announced that the company had purchased the DUBUQUE STREET RAILWAY COMPANY. Linehan and Molo, owners of Star Electric, were thought to be making the purchase to avoid the Rhomberg line being acquired along with the DUBUQUE LIGHT AND TRACTION COMPANY by an Eastern capitalist. (6)

In 1901 the company merged with the UNION ELECTRIC COMPANY, predecessor to the Dubuque Electric Company and a division of INTERSTATE POWER COMPANY.

The 1899-1900 Dubuque City Directory listed 472 Main.



1. "Star Electric Company," Dubuque Daily Herald, December 25, 1892, p. 8. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=_OG5zn83XeQC&dat=18921225&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. "Star Electric Company," Dubuque Sunday Herald, June 30, 1895, p. 6

3. Ibid.

4. "Steel Vaults," Dubuque Daily Herald, Dec. 29, 1895, p. 2

5. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, April 22, 1894, p. 4

6. "Rhomberg Line is Sold," The Herald, July 15, 1899, p. 8