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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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PIER, Philip

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PIER, Philip. (Nackenheim, Germany, 1832--Dubuque, IA, Aug. 6, 1920). Pier traveled from Germany to New Orleans in 1854. He moved from there to Galena and remained two years before coming to Dubuque in 1857. (1) He clerked in the Farley, James Grocery until 1859 when he went into business for himself. (2)

In 1865 Pier purchased the steamer "Charles Rogers" and used it to tow wood down the MISSISSIPPI RIVER to Dubuque where he established a steamboat supply at the landing. He became the owner of three wooden boats and continued his business as a wholesaler. (3) Pier introduced hard coal to Dubuque and added it to his wood business in 1870. He recalled years later being laughed at for "attempting to burn rocks." (4)

In 1877 Pier went into business with Edmund A. LINEHAN in the firm of LINEHAN & PIER which supplied ice to Dubuque. This firm lasted three years when Linehan withdrew. Pier then formed a partnership with Fred Ackerman in the firm of PIER & ACKERMAN. In 1893 when Ackerman died, Pier bought out his partner's interest in the company and became the sole proprietor. The company was in the wholesale and retail trade in wood, coal and ice. Pier was also a stockholder in the Dubuque Concentrated Ore Company. (5)

In 1874 Pier was elected to the city council to represent the Second Ward. He served four years. He also served as mayor pro tem during the administration of Mayor Burch. (6)

Pier was sent to Chicago to investigate their fire department while Dubuque's was still a volunteer service. He returned and upon his motion the Dubuque firemen were placed on the payroll system. He also traveled east and purchased the first steamer engine, "The Babcock" for the fire department. He led efforts resulting in the erection of a monument to Julien DUBUQUE and was an organizer, director, and president of the BOARD OF TRADE. (7)



1. Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company, 1894, p. 286

2. "Philip Pier, City Pioneer, Is Dead," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 8, 1920, p. 14

3. Portrait and...

4. "Philip Pier..."

5. Portrait and...

6. "Philip Pier..."

7. Ibid.