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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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Business envelope
Advertising domino. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

A. W. SEARS. Established in Dubuque in 1868, the company in 1895 handled products of the leading factories in the nation and the entire product of the DUBUQUE BOOT AND SHOE MANUFACTURING COMPANY. The trade area of the firm was largely in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota where three traveling salesmen carried on the business. A. W. Sears was the only agent in Dubuque for Wales-Goodyear rubber boots, a brand with forty-nine years in business.

The company was relocated to Main Street in January of 1874. (1) In 1875 Sears filed bankruptcy papers in U. S. court after efforts to resolve issues with creditors in Boston. (2) Apparently some compromise was reached.

In 1891 Sears leased the Powers Building, north of and adjoining the HOTEL JULIEN. While being active in the shoe business in Dubuque for over twenty-five years as a retailer and wholesaler, the business became more centered on manufacturing and wholesaling. The relocation ended the retailing business. (3)

The 1878-79 Dubuque City Directory listed 687 Main.

According to the 1880 through 1890-91 Dubuque City Directory, this business was located at 669 Main.

The Dubuque Herald of January 1, 1895 listed the address as 242-248 Main Street. (4)

The 1899-1900 Dubuque City Directory listed a warehouse company 38 S. Main.



1. "Removal," Dubuque Herald, February 3, 1874, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18740203&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. "A. W. Sears," Dubuque Herald, January 1, 1895, p. 12

3. "Seeks Larger Quarters," The Herald, May 29, 1891, p. 4

4. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, November 2, 1875, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18751112&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Trade Card. Photo: Joseph Jacobsmeier