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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.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
1955 advertisement. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
1955 advertisement. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
For much of the 1950s and 1960s, free maps were available at service stations.
Wooden nickel. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

RAINBO OIL COMPANY. Established in 1923, the Rainbo Oil Company in 1930 operated within a radius of 60 miles from Dubuque. Wholesale offices were maintained in East Dubuque, Anamosa, Bellevue, Apple River, and Farley. The company supplied furnace oil, fuel oil, and automobile oil. (1)

At the age of 30, Bernard FAHEY started his 45-year career as general manager and later as president of the company. At one time, Rainbo had seven service stations, the most in Dubuque. He built the first drive-through car wash in Dubuque on Dodge Street, the first self-service car wash on 20th Street, and the first convenience store in Dubuque in 1970.

Paul Fahey came to work with his dad when he was ten years old. It was at age 30, that Paul took over as company President. Left with quite a responsibility, Paul decided that the best way to find success was through the help of his employees. He assembled a management team that helped to form the operating philosophy. (2)

In 2017 Rainbo Oil Company, headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, was a multi-line lubricants distributor serving Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and Missouri.

The company was certified to repackage and distribute lubricants for Pro Performance, Chevron, CITGO, ConocoPhilips, Motorcraft, Shell, and Valvoline. Additionally, it supplied a full line of Zerex anti-freeze products as well as Valvoline automotive filters, Valvoline VPS and Pyroil brand automotive chemicals, and Eagle Picher absorbents. All products were backed by extensive warranties and product guarantees.(3)

Kwik Kare began as a result of Rainbo Oil Company's involvment in our communities. In 2002 the Kwik Kare philosophy began as Kwik Stop & Dairy Queen took on the simple mission of providing holiday joy to 10 local families who were in need of assistance during that Christmas season. Through this simple mission, and the support of our communities, Kwik Kare developed into a program that provided funding for many organizations and events within our communities. Kwik Kare is financially supported by the many "Rainbo Family" entities: Kwik Stop, Dairy Queen, and through the support and generosity of members within our community. (4)

It was in 1986 when Rainbo’s office and warehouse were forced to relocate to the current address of 2255 Kerper Boulevard due to a state highway project.

I in 1929 was located at the E. 4th St. Extension.

The 1934 Dubuque City Directory listed stations at 14th and Jackson, 6th and Central, and Grandview and Delhi.

The 1937 Dubuque City Directory listed 2195 only E. 4th.

The 1939 Dubuque City Directory through 1948 Dubuque Classified Business Directory listed 182 Main.

From 1955 to 1985 the company (a Texaco representative) was located at 300 South Main.

From 1987 through 2010 it had relocated to 2255 Kerper Blvd.



1. "Rainbo Oil Company is Local Concern," Telegraph Herald, August 24, 1930, p. 73

2. "Mission and History," Rainbo Oil Company, Online: http://www.rainbolubes.com/company/missionhistory/

3. "About Rainbo Oil," Rainbo Oil Company, Online: http://www.rainbolubes.com/company

4. "Kwik Kare," Rainbo Oil Company, Online: http://www.rainbolubes.com/company/kwik-kare/