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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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Graded ground facing south. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

PLAZA 20. On January 17, 1961 Dubuque residents reading the Telegraph Herald were made aware of an offering to sell 5,840 shares of $100 par Class A Common Stock in Plaza 20 Shopping Center. Directors of Plaza "20" Inc. included Howard Geisler, Eugene Geisler, Leonard Timmerman, James B. McDonough, William J. Reilly and David Kintzinger. (1)

Construction was planned for the spring of 1961. Included in the vital statistics of the plaza were that 70 acres of the George Jecklin farm had been purchased and that 27.3 acres was completed graded. The approximate cost of the shopping center including buildings, land and improvements was estimated to be $2.6 million. The center was to include approximately thirty stores with a parking area three times the size of the building area. The announcement anticipated that the center would employ 600 people, comparable to a "major industry" moving into the city. (2)

Sketch of proposed center with the top of the drawing showing Highway 20.

The announcement stated that the directors planned a mall-type center with a combination of malls, plazas, lanes, and arcades "that will offer the shopper ever changing and ever interesting environmental qualities." (3)

In January 1962 an announcement was made that a discount department store would be the first business to begin construction in Plaza 20. S. S. Kresge Company of Detroit, Michigan would build Iowa's first K-Mart discount discount department store. (4) The company would also keep its store in the downtown area.




1. Investment Opportunity Offered Dubuquers in First Issue of Plaza "20" Shopping Center Stock.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Holl, Ken. "Kresge's Store Will Go Up 1st," Telegraph Herald, January 23, 1962, p. 1