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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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Advertisement. Dubuque Herald, January 10, 1880

KEY CITY STEAM BAKERY. On July 1, 1878 the Key City Steam Bakery was established by Jesse P. FARLEY and Albert WOLCOTT at the corner of Sixth and White STREETS. Good business was expected locally as well as to the north and west of Dubuque. (1) In making the announcement, the Dubuque Herald commented that "one the machines measures nineteen feet six inches in length. (2) The name of the new bakery had been announced on June 12, 1878. (3) The business consisted of a large brick bakery and salesroom, the former supplied with every appliance at a cost of $16,000. The business was incorporated on January 7, 1881, with a capital stock of $50,000.

The company sold every variety of crackers known to the business and supplied a ready and rapidly increasing trade in Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and at various points throughout the West. The business also roasted coffee, ground spices and manufactured various baking powders. The firm employed about twenty-two people, at a weekly compensation of $125. The annual sales in 1911 was estimated at $60,000.

Among their crackers were "Prince Albert" and "Border Butter." (4) Shipments by October 1878 went as far north as St. Paul. (5) Key City Steam Bakery also supplied crackers to the Chicago markets. (6)

In 1891 the equipment of the ALBEE BAKERY was moved to the Farley building as both had been sold to the American Biscuit Company. This company had been formed in Chicago with a capital of ten million dollars to compete with the New York Cracker Company. This company had been formed by the Diamond Match Company which wanted a way to diversify itself with its excess cash. (7)



1. "New Enterprise," Daily Herald, August 7, 1878, p. 4

2. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, June 5, 1878, p. 4

3. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, June 12, 1878, p. 4

4. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, September 22, 1878, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18780922&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

5. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, October 2, 1878, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18781003&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

6. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, October 4, 1878, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18781004&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

7. "A Coming Cracker Factory," Dubuque Daily Herald, February 19, 1891, p. 2. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=_OG5zn83XeQC&dat=18910219&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

The Industries of Dubuque: Her Relations as a Trade Center, Dubuque: J. M. Elster and Company, Publishers, 1887, p. 68