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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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Dubuque Herald, March 9, 1880)
Photo courtesy: Cathy's Treasures, 156 Main, Dubuque
1936 advertisement

PLATT BROTHERS COMPANY. Phillip M. Platt came to Dubuque around 1866 and opened a clothing store. Its location is unknown, but around 1870 business had grown and more room was needed. The business, Platt, the People's Clothier, was relocated to Main and 4th Street. After he retired, the business became owned by his brothers, I. M. and S. M. Platt. In January 1880 it was announced that the company would again expand by leasing space in the GLOBE BUILDING. (1) Many of their clothing items were manufactured by Platt Brothers in New York City. (2)

The first introduction of electric power in Dubuque did not bring immediate or wide-spread acceptance. One exception was Platt Brothers which saw an opportunity. It welcomed some use of electricity and announced themselves as the "Renowned, Leading, Reliable and NOW Electric Clothiers." The company also advertised that with electric lights, customers could make their selections in the evening in safety. The Dubuque Herald stated that,

                 the interior of the store was as bright as noonday 
                 while the reflecting rays of the beautiful light 
                 distinctly showed every shade, color and thread of 
                 the large stock in every department." (3)

The Chicago branch of the store was destroyed by fire in July, 1874. (4)

According to the 1880 and 1883 Dubuque City Directory, this business was located at 520 Main.

The 1884-1885 through 1890-91 Dubuque City Directory listed 520-522 Main as the address. The store incorporated in August 1891 with E. M. Platt, president; Ph. M. Platt, vice-president; and Mark Platt, secretary. (5)

Around 1900 the store was purchased by Abe URBACH. (6)




1. "A New Departure," Dubuque Herald, January 25, 1880, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18800125&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. Ibid.

3. History of Dubuque and Dubuque County, Telegraph Herald, January 15, 1939, p. 5

4. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, July 15, 1874, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18740715&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

5. "Glad of It," Dubuque Daily Herald, August 28, 1891, p. 4

6. "Abe Urbach, Clothing Store Founder, Dies," Telegraph-Herald, October 7, 1970, p. 1