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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.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Pickle crock. Photo courtesy: Janet Lobianco
Telegraph Herald, Aug. 23, 1908. Image courtesy: Diane Harris

M. M. WALKER COMPANY (THE). In 1860 the company's predecessor was opened in Dubuque as Amsden & Walker. The 1861 Dubuque City Directory listed its location as 92 Main.

Between 1869 and 1886 the annual revenue of the company rose from $150,000 to an estimated one million dollars. One of the items carried was coal oil which came in tanks. Selling the oil to customers required second-hand barrels for which sellers received cash at the company's stores at 242 and 248 Main. (1) The first coal oil was transferred between tank into barrels on Jujly 30, 1875. Each barrel was filled in two minutes using a hose with a patented shut off on one end. (2)

In 1869 the name was changed to M. M. Walker. The 1870-1871 Dubuque City Directory gave the address of this business as 34 and 36 Main.

The 1874-1875 through 1878-79 Dubuque City Directory stated that this business was located at 242-248 Main. Walker conducted the business alone until 1878 when the name was changed to M.M. Walker and Company to show the inclusion of D. T. Smith, C. M. Walker, and C. C. Taft. (3) The firm was incorporated in 1878 with Marshall M. WALKER, president and D.T. Smith, secretary and treasurer.

In 1885 the firm established a branch at No. 106 South Water Street in Chicago, Illinois. This was operated by Mr. Cyrille M. Walker who moved with his family from Dubuque to Chicago in September. (4)

According to the 1880 through 1886-87 Dubuque City Directory, the business was located at 242 Main.

The 1899-1900 through 1911-12 Dubuque City Directory stated that this business was located at the corner of Main and Jones.

The 1915 through the 1918 Dubuque City Directory listed 110-20 S. Main as the address of this wholesaler.

The 1923 Dubuque City Directory listed 40 Main.

The 1929 Dubuque City Directory listed 56-58 Main.

Photo courtesy: Cathy's Treasures, 156 Main, Dubuque
Photo courtesy: Cathy's Treasures, 156 Main, Dubuque



1. "Caught on the Fly," The Daily Herald, August 10, 1875, p. 4

2. "Caught on the Fly," The Daily Herald, July 31, 1875, p. 4

3. "Co-Partnership," Dubuque Herald, August 31, 1879, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18790831&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

4. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, September 29, 1885, p. 4