Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 2 - Muscatine Business Directory
“The first hundred years are the hardest . . .” or are they?

Of the more than 600 business firms in Muscatine, listed in the following business directory compiled by The Journal for its first centennial edition, are many who have weathered the storms of depression and hard knocks for nearly a hundred years. If we’ve missed any one of them in this listing, we deeply regret the oversight which is entirely unintentional. We have tried faithfully to give you a picture of how Muscatine firms have grown down through a century – from 1840 to 1940 – with each firm listed under the year in which it was established. It is also interesting to note by whom these firms were established, and the brief historical sketches which accompany most of them contain many amusing notes of the early days of our city.

When the wheels of industry began turning in Muscatine back in 1840 it was a far cry from the stream-lined business and industrial activity of today. We offer here The Journal’s directory of Muscatine firms:

Submitted by Phyllis Hazen
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Submitted by Phyllis Hazen
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    … In August, 1855, two brothers, Dr. I. L. Graham, 28, natives of Canton, Conn., opened a drug store in Muscatine and called it “Apothecaries’ Hall,” but the name was soon replaced by the firm name of “Graham Brothers.” Before the Civil war they handled such goods as leaf tobacco, picture frames, Daguerreotype stock and early photographic materials, beside field and garden seed. All these were dropped years ago except garden seed in bulk, of which to this day the firm still maintains trade leadership.

    In 1867 Graham Brothers moved their stock into a three-story brick building at Second and Cedar streets, where the store now is located. James E. Graham sold his interest to his brother in 1872 and moved away. Hi died in Woodstock, Ill., in 1894.

    Dr. Graham died suddenly Dec. 3, 1886, and his son, E. L. Graham, then 19, became owner. In 1889, following his graduation from the Chicago College of Pharmacy, the son took complete charge of the store.

    Among the early employes of the Graham Drug store were G. A. Riemcke, John J. Havercamp, Charles L. Washburn, and Fred H. Green, who was chief assistant in the store for more than 30 years.

    E. L. Graham operated the firm until his death in 1933, when D. A. Bauerbach purchased the store and now operates the business. Today Graham continues with a complete line of drugs, toilet goods, and drug sundries. Bulk garden seed and general farm and garden supplies have been an important part of this store’s business for over 75 years.


GEORGE EITMAN GROCERY – Established in 1857 by Frank Eitman, Sr.

    The Eitman family has been identified with the grocery business in Muscatine for nearly a century – ever since Frank Eitman, Sr., established his Grocery store in 1857 at the site of the present South Muscatine fire station on Hershey avenue. His four sons, Joe, Frank, Fred and George, were associated in business with him. In 1898 George brought the store uptown to the present location at 106 West Second street while the other three brothers established a store across from the Romann-Liebbe company. These three men continued their store until 1937 when they retired. Clarence Eitman, the present owner of the George Eitman grocery, was associated with his father 10 years before buying out the business in 1929.


FULLER’S QUALITY FOOD MARKET - Established in April of 1858 by Barney Fuller

    Today two grandsons of Barney Fuller, who established the Fuller Quality Food market in 1858, carry on the traditions of their grandfather in an enlarged modern market at 522 Mulberry avenue. They are Charles B. and Leonard M. Fuller, who purchased the business on Jan. 1, 1926 following the death of their father on Christmas day in 1925.

    Charles B. Fuller, Sr.., bought the grocery from his father, Barney Fuller in 1880 and operated it until his death. The store has had only two locations, the first on East Second street, and the present one on Mulberry, where the firm moved in April 1938. The Market’s slogan is “Serve the best and save.”


ST. CLAIR BOTTLING WORKS – Established in 1860 by J. B. St. Clair.


EICHENAUER CIGAR STORE – Established in 1862 by Ferdinand Kaufman.

    Eichenauer’s Cigar store, one of the older firms of Muscatine, has been in the same location at 211 East Second street since it was originated by Ferdinand Kaufman back in 1862. This makes 78 years in the same spot on Second street.

    A few years after he started in business, Mr. Kaufman took his son, Adolph into the firm, and following his father’s death Adolph took over the business himself. In 1899 George Eichenauer bought out the firm and continued to operate it until 1925 when his son, Fred Eichenauer, became proprietor.


C. L. MULL & SONS, WHOLESALE GROCERS - Established in 1864 by Charles L. Mull.

    Charles L. Mull, founder of the wholesale grocery firm in Muscatine which bears his name, started a wholesale and retail store in the 100 block on East Second Street 76 years ago, in 1864. The firm was later moved to the site now occupied by the Elfers Electric store, and still later to where the Auto Parts is located. In 1891 Mr. Mull erected the building at the corner of Pine and Second streets where the firm has since been operating as a wholesale house.

    The founder’s son, William L. Mull, entered the business in the 1880’s, and his other son, Charles A., in 1890, while a grandson, William L. Mull, became a member of the firm last year. The senior William L. Mull died in November of 1919, while the death of the founder had occurred in 1894. Charles A. Mull is still actively associated with the firm.

    Many changes have taken place in the wholesale business since the firm’s founding. In the early days prunes were received in 1500 pound hogsheads, compared to the 25 pound packages of today, and currants came in 500 pound casks. Coffee was shipped green, roasted at the wholesale house, and ground by the housewife in her own kitchen.

    Mull’s has handled Hart brand canned goods for more than 50 years, and H. & K. spices for over 25 years. More recently the All Gold line of California fruits has been added. On display at the firm is a collection of tobacco which is over 50 years old.

GEORGE M. WITTICH FUNERAL HOME - Established in 1867 by W. Wittich.

    The history of the George M. Wittich funeral home dates back to 1867 when W. Wittich, father of George M. Wittich, and Christen Kegel opened an embalming establishment in Muscatine at a site in the 100 block on Iowa Avenue. Later, another partner was taken into the firm which was then known as Wittich, Kegel, and Wienker. One of the first casket and furniture factories in the state was started by these men at a building where the Y.M.C.A. now stands.

    This partnership continued for several years before Mr. Wittich severed his connections with the concern, and went into business for himself at 209 East Second street. The elder Mr. Wittich took J. B. mark into the business as a partner, and the establishment was moved to 219 East Second street, where it operated for many years. Later, Mr. Wittich again went into business by himself, with the assistance of his son, George M. Wittich. Father and son became partners soon afterward, and at the death of the senior Mr. Wittich, his son became owner of the business.

    Later, George Wittich moved to the present location at 210 Cedar street. The firm was known as the Wittich Funeral home for many years until in 1932 when the name was changed to the George M. Wittich Funeral home.

    More than two years ago, Mr. Wittich took Floyd A. Downey and Thomas F. Beveridge into partnership with him, and this relation still continues. All three men are licensed embalmers, as is Clifford Klein, a member of the staff. All equipment of the home, including the hearse and ambulance, is up-to-date and of the best make available.

BRIDGE GROCERY - Established in 1867 by Frederick Giesenhaus.

    One of the old-time groceries in Muscatine is the Bridge grocery at 224 Walnut street, established in 1867 by Frederick Giesenhaus. The store was so named because of its proximity to the Muscatine high bridge, and has always had a great deal of Illinois trade which comes across the bridge to Muscatine.

    In later years Mr. Giesenhaus’ daughter, Grace Giesenhaus, had operated the business for her father. In July of 1939 Andrew Johnson and his son, Ernest A. Johnson, bought the firm and continue to operate it at the same location. A full line of staple and fancy groceries and meats is carried by the store. Several improvements have been made by the Johnsons, including a new refrigerator and new lights.

BAKER BROTHERS FOUNDRY - Established in 1867 by John Baker.

    A pioneer boiler works in Muscatine, the Baker Brothers Engineering company was founded in 1867 by John Baker. The present head of the firm, Paul S. Baker, a son of the founder, assumed leadership in 1897. His father died in 1906. Owen E. Vance associated in the business from 1903 until his death in 1932.

    The third generation of Bakers, W. C. Baker, has been in the business with his father since 1923. The firm makes canning equipment for factory, farm, home, state and private institutions, laboratory and serum making retorts, and special machine or plate work which they design and construct.


Huttig manufacturing company - Established in 1868 by William and Charles F. Huttig.

    William Huttig, who was born on Feb. 5, 1836 in Jena, Saxe Weimar, Germany, came to the United States and settled in Muscatine during the year 1855. Being an accomplished musician, he taught music for several years, then started in the grocery business with his elder brother, Charles F., who had settled in the community during the year 1853.

    After several years in the grocery business, they discontinued and in 1866 started in the lumber business as partners, which partnership continued until the latter part of the 19th century. William Huttig, the founder of the Huttig Manufacturing company, was a very progressive business man and citizen, havening been a member of the local school board for a period of about ten years and was financially interested in many of the community projects of his day. He died on April 6, 1915.

    Harry W. Huttig, the only son of William Huttig, attended the Eastman Business college at Poughkeepsie, New York, returning in 1888 to enter his father’s business. In 1890 he was placed in charge of the Huttig Manufacturing company and was actively interested in its affairs until his death on August 31, 1935. Since the days of William Huttig the business has been conducted in the same progressive manner as was the custom of the founder.

    Lee L. Richards was made president and general manager in 1914, which position he held until his death on April 6, 1938. He became associated with the company in the year 1900.

    On September 1, 1938 Arthur C. Hansen, who had actively engaged in the sash and door industry for over 40 years, was appointed general manager, which position he now holds. Prior to coming to Muscatine he was an executive of the Rock Island Sash and Door Words of Rock Island, Ill. Since taking over the general managership, Mr. Hansen has inaugurated various improvements, chief of which is the new Power Plant which is located in the property formerly occupied by the Muscatine Lighting company, on the river front across the tracks from the plant.

    The present executive staff in addition to Mr. Hansen, is as follows:

            W. H. Schwab, Sales Manager.
            R. B. Fuller, Advertising manager.
            H. L. Brandau, Purchasing Agent.
            R. B. Albers, Plant superintendent.
            F. H. Winn, Secretary.


MORGAN’S DRUG STORE - Established in 1869 by F. Reppert and company.

    One of the older drug stores in Muscatine is the Morgan store located at 127 West Second street. It was started back in about 1869 by F. Reppert and company, and at that time was located on the corner where the Laurel building now stands. About 67 years ago Mr. Reppert moved his business to 107 West Second street, where it remained for 62 years, or until 1933 when Mr. Morgan, the present owner, changed the location to 127 West Second street, formerly occupied by the Wagner Cigar store.

    A. W. Morgan first entered the business about 40 years ago in partnership with Mr. Cody. After two years the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Morgan took it over himself and has run the business alone ever since.


THE BARRY COMPANY - Established in June, 1870 by N. Barry and Sons.

    In 1870 Nicholas Barry rented a building at 421 East Second street from William Held and opened for business as N. Barry and Sons. Homes were piped for burning gas for lighting, and force pumps were installed, elaborate ones to draw water from a well or cistern and force it up into a wooden tank lined with sheet lead in the attic. Later when the water works was built, N. Barry and Sons’ business grew rapidly – as nearly every home wanted city water, heating plants were taking the place of stoves, and bath rooms were no longer a curiosity.

    The Barry company’s work even extended as far east as Pittsburgh where they did work for the J. J. Heinz company. In later years J. J. Heinz and Patrick J. Barry became close friends.

    The business also included frequent repair work for the saw mills in this community and later the building and improving of machines for the manufacture of pearl buttons. In 1888 N. Barry and Sons incorporated as the Barry Manufacturing company. In 1905 a new plant was erected on Poplar street covering one-half block, which included a foundry for making grey iron castings. Still later in 1914 work was started on a new plant to be used for the manufacture of steel pulleys.

    In 1915 the firm name was changed from the Barry Manufacturing company to the Barry company, and the latter incorporated. In 1939 Thomas F. Barry became president of the firm, which office he now holds. The fourth generation is now associated with the company. The Barrys had much to do with the fact that Muscatine became the button center of the world. Factories that were later started here did so largely because machinery was available and thus interest in the new industry locally magnified.

GLENN W. ASHTON FLOUR & FEED - Established in 1870 by W. E. Ashton and brother, H. M. Ashton.

    Seventy years in the same location is the record of the Glenn W. Ashton Flour and Feed Store, 510 East Second street. Started in 1870 by two brothers, W. E. and H. M. Ashton, the firm was taken over in 1900 by the former’s son, Glenn who is now sole owner. W. E. Ashton died in 1912, and his brother had been out of the business about 10 years prior. The building which now houses the firm was constructed about 50 years ago.

I. W. HEERD PAINTING CONTRACTOR - Established in 1870 by J. F. Heerd.

    Since a boy of 14, Irving W. Heerd has been in the painting and decorating business, having done the work with his father, J. F. Heerd, who established his firm in Muscatine in 1870. Irving Heerd took over the business himself at 910 Sycamore street 22 years ago. His father died in 1929.


MAIDEN BROTHERS BROOM COMPANY - Established in 1871 by James Maiden.


A. D. R. HOWE, CONTRACTOR - Established in 1873 by J. E. Howe.

ROACH & MUSSER COMPANY - Established in 1873 by Brent Brothers.

The present Roach and Musser company is the outgrowth of a manufacturing business originally founded in 1873 by the Brent brothers. Under their ownership the factory was three times burned, and the warehouse consumed twice, and as there was but little insurance their losses were heavy.

In 1885 the Muscatine Manufacturing company was incorporated. The board of directors consisted of C. R. Fox, president; Z. W. Hutchinson, vice president and secretary; S. B. Cook, treasurer; Ed J. Brent, one of the original founders, as general manager; R. Musser, W. Hoffman, and W. A. Neavitt.

This later developed into the present Roach and Musser company, with factory and business offices located on Grandview avenue.

The company does a general business as manufacturers and jobbers of sash, doors, blinds, moldings, screen doors and windows, and inside hardwood finish, porch and stair work. Its principal market is Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri, and in 1888 a branch house was established at Atchison, Kas. Though started on a modest scale, the firm has grown to important proportions, and reflects credit upon it founders and management.

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GREENWOOD CEMETERY ASSOCIATION – Established Aug. 22, 1873 by the Muscatine Cemetery association.


E. F. RANDLEMAN & SON GROCERY – Established in 1875 by Peter Whipplehouse.


C. E. RICHARD & SONS – Established in 1877 by Charles E. Richard.

    Four sons of the founder carry on the business established by C. E. Richard back in 1877, in the C. E. Richard and Sons Meat packers firm. They are C. E. Richard, Jr., C. A. Richard, E. D. Richard and P. G. Richard. The firm operated first as only a retail market, in the same location at 213 West Second street where the retail store is still in business In those days all the butchers did their own killing.

    The first part of the Richard Packing plant was built in 1915 on Washington street, and four or five additions were made as time went on.

    The meat market on West Second street has been kept up-to-date through the years with the most modern equipment. This firm had the first mechanical refrigerator in Muscatine, the first electric slicer, and the first computing scales, as well as one of the first auto deliveries. In its wholesale business the packing plant serves a wide territory in southeastern Iowa, including Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Davenport, Burlington, Iowa City and Muscatine.

GREMMEL’S CIGAR STORE – Established in 1877 by Hermann Gremmel.

Titus loan & investment company – Established in December of 1877 by G. M Titus.

    The Titus Loan & Investment company or its predecessors have been actively and continuously engaged in business in Muscatine for over 60 years. It is one of the oldest business firms in Muscatine and one of the oldest, if not the oldest firm engaged in the farm loan business in the state of Iowa. It is one of the very few firms, in Iowa, engaged in the farm loan business that has been able to carry on.

    Along with the farm loan business the firm has been actively engaged in the real estate and insurance business. It has always been an enthusiastic supporter of Muscatine and had faith in it and its future. As evidence of this faith, the company has built or remodeled well over 400 homes which have been sold to individual home owners.

    In the insurance field this company has the distinction of being the oldest representative of many of the leading insurance companies, having represented some of them for over 50 years. This company is still active in these same lines of business under the guidance of its founder, G. M. Titus, who besides being one of the oldest business men is also one of its most prominent citizens.


CITY BOTTLING WORKS – Established in 1878 by F. L. Schwertfeger.

    The City Bottling company started bottling carbonated beverages in Muscatine in 1878 at the rear of the lot where the Journal building now stands. Later F. L. Schwertfeger moved his business to the sited now occupied by the Walnut Street Baptist church, and in 1880 bought the corner at Sixth and Mulberry where the firm is now located.

    F. L. Schwertfeger had charge of the business until 1921 when he sold out to his son, Harry, who continues as proprietor. The founder of the firm died four years ago.

M. KAUTZ BAKING COMPANY – Established in 1878 by Michael Kautz.

    The late Michael Kautz’ five sons, Louie, Harry, Roy, Carl and Mike, entered the baking business which their father had established in Muscatine back in 1878. They entered the business at different times – Louie and Harry in about 1905, Roy and Carl in 1915, and Mike after the war. Harry died in 1933 and Louie in 1936, following the death of their father which occurred in 1927. The latter continued as active head of the firm until his death.

    At present the business is operated by Carl, Roy and Mike Kautz. The firm was first started in a small location in the old Scott House at the corner of Second and Iowa avenue but in 1906 the building at 114 West third street was erected and the bakery established there.

    In 1932, when trucking was started by the firm, a garage was added to the building. Holsum products are distributed by the Kautz Baking company in Muscatine and neighboring territory, within a radius of approximately 35 miles.


RED PAINT STORE – Established in 1880 by Everett H. Brandenburg.

    One of the oldest paint firms in Muscatine is the Red Paint store, operated at 214 Iowa avenue, by George L. Jehring. Mr. Jehring purchased the store on Oct. 26, 1911, from the Brandenburg estate, shortly after the death of Everett H. Brandenburg, who had founded the firm in 1880.

    The store was formerly located 218 Iowa avenue, but Mr. Jehring moved it into the building at 214 – 216 Iowa avenue which had formerly been occupied by The Journal. High quality merchandise has always been featured by the firm.

HAHN BROTHERS COMPANY – Established in 1880 by John Hahn and sons, George A and Henry B.

    Famous Muscatine island watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and cabbage are shipped all over the United States by the Hahn brothers, a firm organized back in 1880 by John Hahn and his two sons, George A. and Henry B. Shipments are made by train carload and by truck.

    Following the death of John Hahn in 1907, and after the one son, George A., had gone into business for himself, Henry B. Hahn carried on the firm with his own sons, Walter, Harry, Fred, Robert and Bernard. Harry Hahn has been manager of the business since about 1919.


LEU & SON ICE CREAM MANUFACTURERS – Established in 1881 by Fred Leu.

    Fred Leu had been in the ice cream business a Philadelphia, Pa., and Rock Island, Ill., before he came to Muscatine to establish his ice cream factory and retail store in 1881.

    The firm was first located on West Second street where the Bon Ton now stands. Mr. Leu remained there until 1890 when he moved to the building now occupied by the Tip Top. After selling out there the firm, then known as Leu and Stein, built the new building which now houses Leu and Son on Sycamore street. Fred Leu retired in 1904 and his sons, Harry and Rob, took it over. Ed Leu was also in the business for awhile.

    Five years ago Harry Leu established the Chrome room in conjunction with his retail and wholesale ice cream business. In 1937 the Chrome room was enlarged and remodeled, and serves as a place for private parties, as well as catering to lunches and dinners.

NORTHWESTERN BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY – Established in Muscatine June 1, 1881.


FAIRBANKS HOME FOR FUNERALS – Established in 1883 by E. P. Day.

    The Fairbanks Home for Funerals was originally located at the corner of Second and Cedar streets, and was in that location for 60 years until the new home was built. Established by E. P. Day in 1883, the firm became known as Rankin and Day when J. W. Rankin bought in. Later Mr. Rankin took over the business alone.

    On Oct. 23, 1923 it became known as the Fairbanks Home for funerals, and in 1924 the new modern, beautifully appointed home at 114 West Fourth street was opened. Robert Fairbanks purchased the business from his father in June of 1928. He is the third generation of Fairbanks to be in the funeral business, his grandfather having been a funeral director in Illinois.

    Mrs. George Fairbanks is licensed lady embalmer for the firm. Robert Carlson, also a licensed embalmer, and Keith Fowler are employes of the firm.


BUSCH STORE – Established in July of 1884 by W. C. A. Busch.

    Starting his drug store in a small building next to the White Way hotel back in 1884, W. C. A. Busch moved his firm into its present and larger location in the year 1889. There he continued in business for 50 years until his death in 1925, at which time his daughter, Edna Busch, who had learned the business from her father, took over the management of the store.

    Mr. Busch was graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, prior to which he had experience with Schlegel’s and Dietzen’s drug firms in Davenport. George Judisch, a member of the state board of pharmacy, who owns a drug store in Ames, Ia., and is one of the prominent druggists in the state, received his early training as an employe in Mr. Busch’s drug store.

J. E. HOOPES COMPANY – Established in 1884 by Middleton, Hoopes, and Holcomb.

    When Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Hoopes started on the farm back in 1884 they were in the Middleton, Hoopes, and Holcomb firm. After Mr. Middleton’s death it became Hoopes and Holcomb, and still later in succession, W. H. Hoopes and Brothers, Hahn, Hoopes and company, J. E. Hoopes and company, and the J. E. Hoopes company which is the name of the present firm.

    After the death of her husband in 1916, Mrs. Hoopes took charge of the business of which she still is the head, taking an active part in its various phases. A few years ago she was acclaimed Iowa’s Master Farmer. The firm is still growing and shipping vegetables, and in 1893 started the business of saving seed for many large seed firms.

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