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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.


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The original Hagge and Metz Company. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Building in 2010

METZ MANUFACTURING COMPANY. Founded in 1898 by John Hagge and Louis Metz, the company was originally located in a two-story frame building between 18th and 19th STREETS. Using the name Hagge and Metz, the company started business on October 15th. Business grew to the point that it was incorporated in 1901. The articles were amended one years later changed the name to one since used. (1) Operating in a building constructed on the corner of 17th and Elm STREETS in 1903, the Metz Manufacturing Company, considered a planing mill, specialized in producing sash, doors, blinds, frames, mouldings and stair work. Their best customers were people ordering for churches, schools and other large public and private buildings. The president of the company was J.F. Johannsen.

In 1903 the company had moved into a larger building at 17th and Elm once belonging to the ERNSDORFF BUGGY COMPANY. The fourth floor was leased to the Schmid Manufacturing Company which was manufacturing casket hardware. (2) By 1910 the company specialized in church work including frames for church windows, church doors, and church mouldings. Between fifty and sixty men worked year round in the mills. The products were marketed throughout Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas. (3)

In 1970 the Dubuque City Directory listed the address as 1690 Elm.

The Metz Company published a hardcover catalog for customers to use in choosing their purchases. Photo courtesy: Dave Radloff
The catalogs are prized today for the ideas they continue to give craftsmen. Photo courtesy: Dave Radloff

FRANK HARDIE ADVERTISING INC. established by Frank HARDIE purchased the 71-year old building in 1972 after Metz closed down its custom woodworking business. At the time of the acquisition, Hardie Advertising had thirty-three employees. The move into the former Metz building was a return to Dubuque for the firm which had left the city for a location in Center Grove in 1951.



1. "Metz Firm 60 Years Old," Telegraph-Herald, August 31, 1958, p. 34

2. Ibid.

3. "Metz Manufacturing Plant Leads in Production of Interior Finish," Telegraph Herald, February 17, 1910, p. 1

"Directory of Dubuque Industries." Prepared by the Dubuque Industrial Bureau, 1967

Flooding in 1951.