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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.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

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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Photo courtesy: Bob Reding and the Center for Dubuque History, Loras College

JAMES LEVI AND COMPANY. An immigrant from Alsace like Alexander LEVI, his uncle, James LEVI was a brilliant businessman. He was the major stockholder in both the DUBUQUE WAGON BRIDGE and UNION ELECTRIC COMPANY.

A tradition of the store was to invite children living in the orphanage to visit the store at Christmas to view all the toys. In 1909 when the toy department was moved to the third floor there was concern about the children safely managing the stairs so the practice was discontinued. Despite the change, gifts from the store to the children continued as in the past. (1)

When James Levi died, so many people wanted to attend the funeral (more than 600) that they could not be accommodated in the local temple. The visiting Rabbi from Chicago was invited to deliver his service from the pulpit of ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

Liquidation of the James Levi Company. Photo courtesy: Cathy's Treasures, 156 Main, Dubuque

The 1865 and 1867 Dubuque City Directory stated that this business was located at 144 Main.

The 1868-69 Dubuque City Directory listed the southeast corner of 7th and Main.

The 1874-1875 through 1899-1900 Dubuque City Directory listed 698 Main.

The 1909 Dubuque City Directory and following directories gave this business address as 672-698 Main.



1. "Orphans Will be Remembered," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, December 23, 1909, p. 2

Pritikin, Karin. "Family & Community History- a Serendipitous Quest." Adapted from “Jewish History, Writ Large and Small” presented August 23, 2008, 2:30 PM at Temple Beth El, Dubuque