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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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EDE, David F.

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Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/19525185/person/20429531942/facts?_phsrc=cbC246&_phstart=successSource


EDE, DAVID F. (Durham, Ontario, Canada, 1846--Dubuque, IA, Oct. 5, 1924). Ede moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and made a fortune buying and selling real estate during a land boom, only to lose it investing in grain elevators along the route of the newly completed Canadian Pacific Railroad. He then became involved in real estate in Sioux City, Iowa, and regained his earlier success.

He brought these earnings to Dubuque in 1895 and opened EDE'S ROBE TANNING COMPANY that year. In April 1896 Ede incorporated the company with William Hockaday and Clifton Baker TREWIN with a capitalization of $15,000.

In May 1905 David Ede purchased property on the corner of Shields and Jones STREETS near the WILLIAM RYAN AND SON packing company (a ready supplier of hides) and the ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD depot (a ready shipping point) for $3,000 from the heirs of early Dubuque capitalist, John D. BUSH. The building was completed in June 1906 at a cost of about $17,000. Located on the former site of the BUSH BROS., a planing mill, the two-story structure was slightly wedge-shaped to conform with the acute angle of the street intersection. Ede's business thrived, and in 1909 a large, two-story side addition was built for $15,000 that almost doubled the building's square footage. (1)

The business was organized with the business office, main tanning room and finishing room on the first floor of the original section and the dye department in the side wing. Drying, cutting and sewing rooms occupied the second floor of the main building with the stock room upstairs in the addition. Ede operated in this building for over thirty years.

His business included tanning hides - primarily horse and cow - and manufacturing fur robes, garments and rugs. "Ede furs are scientifically cut and there is no expense saved that would make them equal to the best furs produced anywhere in the world," a 1911 business gazette stated.

                 Their stock of furs includes nearly every native 
                 and foreign skin in their various grades, thus 
                 making it possible to handle a large quantity of 
                 repair work with entire satisfaction. Visitors are 
                 made welcome to the plant, as the firm takes just 
                 pride in showing customers a complete and up-to-date 
                 institution, and want them to see how clean and free 
                 from things offensive a tannery can be and under what 
                 favorable conditions the employees work. 

In addition to fur tanning and clothing manufacturing, Ede employed taxidermists to mount game trophies. Staffed by some 40 to 60 people, the company grew into one of the largest of its type in the country and eventually established branch plants in St. Paul, Omaha and Sioux Falls.

Around 1938 the company was renamed the Ede's King-O-Fur Tanning Company. Within two years the building was occupied by the Julian House Wholesale Beverage Company. This was followed by the Dubuque Wholesale Grocery Company, which was in turn followed by the Sloan Wholesale Grocery Distributing Company. In 1959 this building was occupied by LINEHAN & MOLO. (2)



1. Goodspeed, Weston Arthur, History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association, 1911, p. 678

2. "David F. Ede." Linwood Legacies.

Fraser, Clayton. Historic American Buildings Survey Department of the Interior National Park Service Rocky Mountain Regional Office P.O. Box 25287 Denver Colorado 80225