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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.


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CARR, RYDER, AND ADAMS COMPANY. Carr, Ryder, and Adams traced its history to the CARR, AUSTIN AND COMPANY located on lower Main Street. With only two employees, the small building was destroyed by fire in 1871. Using the opportunity to move, the company purchased a site on Iowa Street and constructed another factory. The company grew until 1878 when it had fifteen employees. That was also the year the factory was again burned to the ground. Confident in the future of the lumber business in Dubuque, the factory was rebuilt at 9th and Jackson. (1)

In 1886 the company, now with thirty-five employees, incorporated as the CARR, RYDER, AND WHEELER COMPANY. In three years the name became CARR, RYDER, AND ENGLER COMPANY. (2)

The continued growth of the business led in 1892 to the establishment of a jobbing house in Omaha, Nebraska. The success of that decision led to the opening of six more branches in the following years. The company was renamed Carr, Ryder and Adams in 1897. Millwork products under the trade name of "Bilt-Well" were shipped throughout the United States. (3)

As one of the major lumber, sash and door dealers in the community, the company was deeply involved in such advertising techniques as the semi-annual meeting of the lumber dealers and "friends of the city." In 1902 this led to an excursion aboard the steamer Saturn and barge Venus for an estimated 360 guests. Cigars "were dispensed" during the trip and lunch was served in boxes accompanied by coffee. Music for dancing was provided by the DUBUQUE MILITARY BAND. (4)

In 1919 with the end of WORLD WAR I, Carr, Ryder, and Adams resumed peacetime production with the construction of the second largest warehouse in Dubuque. Erected at 11th and Washington STREETS, the five-story building was to have 100,000 feet of floor space. Built of reinforced concrete, it was to be fire-proof. (5)

Beginning in 1904-1905, the Dubuque City Directory located this business at the northeast corner of 9th and Jackson.

The 1918 and 1923 Dubuque City Directory listed the address as the corner of 11th and Jackson.


Carr,ryder and adams.png
2010 photo taken in the warehouse district of the power plant.
Sports team sponsored by the company.
Company catalog
Special advertising book published by the company



1. "Carr, Ryder and Adams Grows Despite Fire," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, August 24, 1930 p. 58

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. "Enjoyed a River Ride," Dubuque Herald, September 11, 1902, p. 8

5. "Huge Warehouse Soon to be Built," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 20, 1919, p. 11