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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.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

DENNIS BROS. COMPANY. Dennis Brothers Wholesale Flour & Feed built a four-story building in 1906 at a cost of $20,000 (Telegraph-Herald, December 30, 1906). The firm was still here as late as 1948. A wholesale drug firm was here as of 1962. The Chicago-Dubuque Motor Transportation Company and Stampfers Bakeries were here in 1952. (1) The building was later demolished.

The company was originally known as Watters & Dennis when it was organized around 1890 by Thomas S. Watters and W. S. DENNIS When Watters retired, Albert DENNIS became a partner. (2) The company was reorganized in 1900. In 1910 the company was the largest jobber and wholesaler of flour in Iowa. (3)

The company did a general jobbing business of flour, feed, grain, hay, oil meal, molasses feeds and poultry feeds. The business was the agent for Prairie Queen, the top-quality brand, milled at Sheldon, Iowa; Big D, a private Dennis brand milled in Kansas City; and I.H., the initials of Ismert-Hincke, the Kansas city firm that did the milling. In later years, the firm was a distributor for Pillsbury flour. (4)

The company owned two warehouses for storage. Between 4,000 to 5,000 barrels of flour were kept in stock at all times. (5) Flour came in 24.5 lb, 49 lb, and 96 lb sizes when they were delivered to grocery stores. These weights allowed for a barrel of flour which weighed 96 pounds to be evenly divided. Annual revenues of $2 million were not unusual. (5)

The company was liquidated in 1948. (6)

The 1903 Dubuque County Rural Route Directory listed 136-146 Main.

The 1909 Dubuque City Directory through 1948 Dubuque Classified Business Directory listed 106-120 Main.



1. Site Inventory Form. State Historical Society of Iowa. Online: http://www.cityofdubuque.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2927, p. 9

2. "Action Line," Telegraph-Herald, March 9, 1975, p. 23

3. "Largest Jobbers of Flour in Iowa are Located in Dubuque," Dubuque Herald, February 10, 1910, p. 1

4. "Action Line,"

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

Cloth bag. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy:Cathy's Treasurers,156 Main, Dubuque
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy: Jim Massey
Flour sifter.
Big D thimble. Photo courtesy: Jim Winter