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

Section 6 - 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 business directory of Muscatine firms:

Submitted by Shirley Plumb
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A. W. CARVER, ACCOUNTANT – Established Jan. 1, 1925 by A. W. Carver.

    Before opening his public accounting firm in Muscatine, A. W. Carver spent several years as a traveling auditor and also in the U. S. department of internal revenues. As soon as the law was passed requiring examinations for public accountants, Mr. Carver was certified by the state of Iowa. He opened his office in Muscatine in the Laurel building and remained there until a year ago when he moved to 211 Iowa Avenue.

DAY INSURANCE SERVICE—Established in 1925 by Harry Kern, Sr.

    The Donald Day Insurance Service has recently moved to new quarters at 218 1-2 Iowa Avenue, its former location being in the Muscatine Bank and Trust building. Originally started by Harry Kern, Sr., in 1925 as the Kern Insurance agency, Mr. Day became a partner in the firm in the fall of 1937. Early in 1938 he took over the business alone, and also bought out the Mary Jarboe agency, combining the two into what is now known as the Day Insurance service.

A. H. FINLEY PURITY DAIRY –Established in February of 1925 by A. H. Finley.

    A. H. Finley first started in the dairy business at the Fair Oaks stock farm near Muscatine in 1925. Five years ago he moved into Muscatine and since then has operated his Purity Dairy at 1010 Grand Avenue.

MRS. SADIE HARTMAN BEAUTY SHOP—Established in 1925 by Mrs. Sadie Hartman.

    Since 1925 Mrs. Sadie Hartman has operated two beauty shops in Muscatine, the first at 323 East Second Street, and now at 206 1-2 East Second Street. She has been located at her present address for the past nine years since buying the building.

    Mrs. Ethel Jackson, who is associated with her, has been a beauty operator in Muscatine about as long as Mrs. Hartman.

HOPKINS SAW SHOP—Established in April of 1925 by Fred Hopkins.

    An interesting hobby of making bows and arrows has been enjoyed by Fred Hopkins for the past 60 years, ever since he was a boy. These he keeps on display at his Saw Shop, located at 116 Chestnut Street. Several years ago he was a committeeman for the old Boy Scout Troop 124, and enjoyed his hobby with the boys. Just three years ago he was instrumental in starting an archery club, which has league shoots with Davenport, Burlington, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

    Before starting his saw shop, Mrs. Hopkins was head finisher at the McKee and Bliven button factory, and also had a pearl novelty shop on Chestnut Street for which he made his own novelties. His first saw shop was located on Cedar Street. Ten years later he moved to Iowa Avenue, and five years ago to his present location. Mr. Hopkins is an expert at filing saws.

LINCOLN CAFÉ—Established in the fall of 1925 by Harry Cooper.

NATIONAL LAUNDRY—Established in December of 1925 by S. E. Houk.

OAK STREET GROCERY—Established July 1, 1925 by Mrs. Allie E. Smith.

WALTER PILGRIM’S HANDY MARKET—Established in January of 1925 by Walter Pilgrim.

D. F. RYAN BOOKKEEPING SERVICE—Established in 1925 by D. F. Ryan.


FRANK BAMFORD TRUCKING—Established in March of 1926 by Frank Bamford.

    Frank Bamford was engaged in farming before moving to Muscatine in 1926 when he began his trucking business. The first two years he also served as road supervisor in Bloomington Township, but his trucking business grew so rapidly that he had to give up his supervisor post.

    He now has two trucks for long and short distance hauling and moving. George Wymer and Don Kallenberger work for him.

GERTRUDE GARMENT COMPANY—Established in 1926 by Edward Caliger.

GARFIELD’S MILLINERY—Established March 5, 1926 by William A. Garfield.

HART BEAUTY SERVICE—Established in February of 1926 by Leo Hart.

    Mr. and Mrs. Leo Hart first started doing beauty work at their home on East Seventh street in February of 1926. In August of the same year they established a shop down-town in the Hershey building, and remained there until June of 1930 when they moved over the U.S. Bakery on East Second Street.

    The new Hart’s Beauty service was opened at 315 East Second Street, with an Attractive circle front window, on Aug. 10, 1939. The first of this year Francis Fletcher came into the firm as a partner. There are five operators at the present time, Mr. and Mrs. Hart, Mr. Fletcher, Esther Lange, and Eleanor Schilb.

MRS. BLANCHE HARTMAN BEAUTY SHOP—Established in April of 1926 by Mrs. Blanche Hartman.

W. A. LEONARD CONTRACTOR—Established in 1926 by W. A. Leonard.

    W. A. Leonard worked at the contacting trade for other firms 30 years before starting in business for himself in 1926. Mr. Leonard does all kinds of general contracting, with home building as his specialty. He has new American sanding equipment which is the latest available. Mr. Leonard employs from two to six men to assist him in his work.

MAID-RITE SANDWICH SHOPS—Established May 1, 1926 by Fred Angell.

    A total of 188 business firms in the United States, reaching from coast to coast, now utilize the formula and trade name of “Maid-Rite.” Fred Angell is the Muscatine man who originated the Maid-Rite products and started his first sandwich shop on May 1, 1926, at 110 Cedar Street. He still continues this shop, in addition to another one in South Muscatine.

    Mr. Angell has patented his formula and has registered the trade name.

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MARYELLA DANCE STUDIO—Established in June of 1926 by Maryella Fuller and Dorothy Minear.

MAXSON BEAUTY SHOP—Established in 1916 by Edna Maxson Mueller.

    The Maxson Beauty shop was originally located in the American bank building, and moved to its present quarters in the Hotel Muscatine annex in October of 1936. At that time Edna Maxson Mueller, who had started the shop in 1926, was joined in business by her sister, Clara Maxson. The sisters are now in charge of the shop together, assisted by two other operators, June McGowan and Coe Fuegen. The firm sells Marinello beauty products, in addition to offering all type of beauty service.

McKENZIE CLEANERS—Established in September of 1926 by Charles McKenzie.

MUSCATINE JEWELRY COMPANY—Established in September of 1926 by Edward W. Hotka.

    Edward Hotka, proprietor of the Muscatine Jewelry store, worked for two jewelry firms in Iowa City and two in Muscatine before opening his own business here in September of 1926.

    He started in the jewelry business on Aug. 10, 1904 at Iowa City, and in 1916 came to Muscatine to work for George Volger. He later was employed at the Cadle store, and in 1926 bought out the jewelry business of Albert Koetting, who had been located at 304 East Second Street since about 1919.

    Mr. Hotka continued in business in that location until four years ago, when he moved to 213 East Second Street, the store formerly occupied by the Barnard Jewelry firm.

    Mr. Hotka has two men working for him, both highly experienced in their lines of work. Arnold Fuegen is employed as watchmaker and George Lowe as Jeweler.

POOLE TRANSFER—Established in May of 1926 by Charles M. Poole.

    Starting at Nichols in 1926 with one truck, Charles M. Poole has expanded his business since moving to Muscatine in 1932 to include at present a fleet of 30 units. The Poole Transfer company, located in the 1000 block on East …

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    … Second Street, offers daily express service at freight rates between Muscatine, Chicago, and eastern points; St. Paul, Minneapolis, north and northwestern points. The firm has about 20 employes, including four in the office. The Chicago office of the Poole Transfer Company is located at 417 South Racine Street.

HENRY C. REHBEHN OIL STATEION—Established in March of 1926 by Henry C. Rehbehn.

WARNER & WARNER CHIROPRACTORS--Established in May of 1926 by Dr. R. E. Warner and Dr. Julia Warner.

    Drs. R. E. and Julia Warner came to Muscatine in May of 1926 from Lenox, S. d. their first location and bought out the practice of Dr. Fagan on East Second Street. Later they moved their offices to quarters over the Detthof Hardware store, and after four years in that location moved to the corner of Iowa Avenue and Third Street. Three years ago they changed their place of business and residence to a large home at 216 West Fourth Street.

    In 1938 Dr. R. E. Warner opened a practice in Webster City, Iowa. Mrs. Warner continued the practice in Muscatine. Both are graduates of the National Chiropractic School at Chicago, where Dr. Julia Warner also took post-graduate courses in physio-therapy and massage. Three years go both she and her husband took up a special course in basic technique.


E. W. BERG GROCERY—Established in March of 1927 by E. W. Berg.

GOBBLE GROCERY COMPANY—Established in 1870 by J. M. Gobble and T. M Gobble.

    Hugo and Carl Paetz, present owners of the Gobble Grocery company, acquired the firm together with William Axel on Nov. 17,1927 when they purchased it from the J. M. Gobble Co. In 1932 Mr. Axel left the firm, and the two brothers have since been operating it alone.

    The building they occupy has been a wholesale house for many years, having first been owned by Garretson and company. Tom Gobble was bookkeeper for this firm for several years. The Garretsons having been in business during the Civil war and being quite well-to-do, together with other reasons, wished to quit business. Tom Gobble persuaded his brother, John, who was in business at Fairfield, to take over the firm.

    Tom M. and John M. Gobble carried on the business for about 10 years, when they dissolved partnership. Tom M. then went in the wholesale grocery business in Clinton, Iowa, where after his death, the business is still being carried on by his son, Wilson.

    Frank Jackson then joined John M. Gobble in business and after several years the partnership was dissolved and the J. M. Gobble Company incorporated was organized.

    J. M. Gobble became quite a popular figure in Muscatine, holding the office of mayor and also serving as state senator. He died suddenly in 1914. His son, Ed, had preceded him in death, leaving Fred to carry on the business, which he did for 13 years before selling out to the Paetz brothers and Mr. Axel in 1927.

AMERICAN PETROLEUM COMPANY—Established in Muscatine in 1927 by R. C. Smith.

    The American Petroleum company station at 114 Walnut Street, established by R. C. Smith in 1927, is the first station this company ever had. The No. 2 station is located at 930 Grandview Avenue, and a brand new station will be opened to the public June 1, in a location across from the Muscatine high bridge approach. Marvin Blaesing, manager of the No. 1 station, is to have charge of the newly-completed one.

BOOSTER’S CAFÉ –Established in September of 1927 by John Downey.

    Just re-modeled and with new booths installed, the Booster’s café presents a most attractive appearance. John Downey started the café in 1927 and ran it until three years ago at which time he sold out. Then in May of 1930 he bought it back again and soon began his remodeling program. The café has been in the same location on the corner of Iowa Avenue and Front Street since it was first opened.

BURKHARD OIL STATION—Established Jan. 1, 1927 by H. J. Burkhard.

HERMAN COHN NEWS AGENCY—Established Aug. 1, 1927 by Herman Cohn.

    Herman Cohn has been operating a wholesale news agency in Muscatine for the past 13 years, and in March of 1928 opened his own retail department at 209 East Second Street.

    In May of 1939 he added a fountain and luncheonette, also continuing his wholesale business through which he supplies over 30 dealers in Muscatine with magazines and newspapers. The firm maintains a home delivery system. The fountain and luncheonette is kept open daily and evenings.

WILLIAM COLLITZ MARKET—Establish Nov. 12, 1927 by William Collitz and Walter Umlandt.

CONLEY SERVICE COMPANY—Established in August of 1927 by Herbert Conley.

A. C. ECKHARDT INSURANCE—Established in December of 1927 by Albert C. Eckhardt.

HOEFFLIN GROCERY—Established in March of 1927 by C. F. Hoefflin.

    C. F. Hoefflin, who established the Hoefflin grocery at 538 Woodlawn Avenue in March of 1927, died in 1932 and the business was taken over by his widow, now Mrs. William Willhoft. Mr. and Mrs. Willhoft now run the business together, continuing the same policy as when the store was first opened. A complete line of fancy and staple groceries, as well as fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables, and ice cream is carried by the store.

HANKINS PLUMBING SHOP—Established in 1927 by Charles T. Hankins.

    Charles T. Hankins worked at the plumbing trade for nearly 25 years before his death, having been employed by Frank Ashcraft until the latter went out of business. At that time Mr. Hankins and bill Nesselbush formed a partnership shop which they ran two or three years.

    The Hankins Plumbing shop established by Mr. Hankins in 1927 was taken over at his death in 1935 by his son, Leon. The latter had worked in the plumbing business with his father since the shop was first started, working after school and summers before finishing high school.

W. J. KNIGHT GROCERY—Established in July of 1927 by W. J. Knight.

MODERN DAIRY—Established Jan. 1, 1927 by Herman Griesenbrock.

MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY—Established in Muscatine in October of 1927 by Ernest Moore.

PALACE BILLIARD PARLOR—Established in 1927 by L. E. Stalkfleet.

PHELPS BROTHERS LAUNDRY—Established in March of 1927 by Roy and Kenneth Phelps.

ROACH INVESTMENT COMPANY—Established in October of 1927 by Robert L. Roach.

    The Roach Investment Company was organized in October of 1927 by Robert L. Roach to deal exclusively in the sale and servicing of investment securities.

    In 1929, through an agency contact with the Equitable Life Assurance society of the U. S. A., more commonly known as the Equitable of New York, a department of life insurance and annuities was added.

    In 1933 the Roach Investment Company expanded still further into the field of insurance and began to handle all kinds of general insurance. Today this firm represents a group of outstanding companies which sell every type of coverage including insurance on automobiles and property of all kinds, accident and health insurance, surety and fidelity bonds.

    In the past few years the Roach Investment Company has discontinued the sale of stocks and bonds in order to devote full time and effort to the sale of life insurance, annuity investments, and the other forms of general insurance mentioned above.

SOLTWEDEL CANNING COMPANY—Established in 1927 by J. H. Soltwedel.

    J. H. Soltwedel has been growing tomatoes continuously for the past 30 years and is an expert at the business. In 1927 he founded the Soltwedel Canning Company, located just east of the city limits on highway 61. The firm cans Home Pack products.

    A couple of years after Mr. Soltwedel started the business, George Hahn associated himself with the firm and continued until his death, after which Warren Baker and Mr. Soltwedel continued the business. Since Mr. Baker’s death his widow, Mrs. Marie Baker, has carried on the canning company with Mr. Soltwedel. The firm raises nearly all its own tomatoes, averaging about 60 acres a year.

VAN ATTA BEAUTY SHOP—Established in January of 1927 by Iona Van Atta Davidson.

W. H. ZEUG GARAGE—Established in June of 1927 by W. H. Zeug.

    W. H. Zeug sold bicycles and motorcycles on Chestnut Street for 11 years before opening his garage at 119 West Front Street in June of 1927. Last year he added a line of bicycles and supplies to his garage business. All kinds of auto mechanic work is done by the Zeug garage, with experienced workmen employed.


BROWNBILT SHOE STORE—Established in November of 1928 by William C. Ruthenberg.

    William Ruthenberg has been operating the Brownbilt Shoe store at 225 East Second Street for the past 12 years.

    Mr. Ruthenberg is assisted in the store by Kenneth Honts as regular clerk, and Robert Green and Clayton Schmidt as extra help. The firm carries the well-known Airstep and Odette line of women’s shoes, Robber and Jolly Stride in the men’s line, and Buster Brown and Robin Hood for children. Mr. Ruthenberg had been clerking in shoe stores of Muscatine several years before opening the Brownbilt in November of 1928.

MILDRED EDWARDS SECEOND STREET GROCERY—Established in 1928 by A. J. Schultz.

JACOB FRIDLEY GROCERY—Established in January of 1928 by J. Fridley

GODFREY GROCERY—Established in April of 1928 by Mrs. Naomi Godfrey

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IOWA ELECTRIC COMPANY—Established in Muscatine July 1, 1928 by the Iowa Electric Company.

    The Iowa Electric Company was incorporated under the law of the state of Iowa on June 1, 1914 and has its general offices at Cedar Rapids, Ia. The company started in the general light and power business at that time and now operates hydro-electric generating plants at oxford Mills, Manchester, Monticello, Hopkinton, Oakland Mills and Panora, all in the state of Iowa, and a Diesel generating plant at Anamosa, Ia.

    Gas plants are operated at Fairfield, Atlantic and Muscatine. The Muscatine gas property and the electric transmission systems in Walcott, Stockton, Durant, Sunbury and the surrounding farm territory were purchased from the Muscatine Lighting company in 1928. These towns and the towns of Moscow, Atalissa, Nichols, Conesville, Lone Tree, Riverside, Hills, Kalona and Richmond were united to create the Muscatine division of the Iowa Electric Company in July, 1928 with the division office at Muscatine.

    In 1932 natural gas service was inaugurated in Muscatine and in Atlantic to replace the manufactured gas service. With the new natural gas service the industrial load of the company was greatly increased and the heating of Muscatine homes with natural gas was begun. Since that time the gas business has expanded until now more than 200 heating installations have been made in Muscatine. Many of the local industries use natural gas for heating and processing purposes and in the domestic field of refrigeration, water heating and cooking there has been an increase each year.

KLEIN MOTOR SALES—Established Sept. 26, 1928 by Ivan J. Klein.

    Klein Motor sales first operated at the corner of Fourth Street and Iowa Avenue, and moved to 200 West Second Street when the Muscatine Coach lines took over the location. Still later the firm was moved to 121 East Front Street, and remained there until three years ago when it was changed to the present garage building at 507 East Second Street.

    Ivan J. Klein, proprietor of the firm, has dealt in all types of cars and at one time dealt exclusively in used cars. Due to operating at one time as an exclusive used car dealer, the Klein Motor sales is now able to offer some of the best used car values in Muscatine.

    Mr. Klein has been the dealer for Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln Zephyr for a number of years.

LEVITT’S MARKET—Established in July of 1928 by George Levitt.

MELTON’S GROCERY—Established in November of 1928 by Herman Melton.

    Herman Melton has been running a grocery store on Monroe Street for the past 12 years. The firm, located at 544 Monroe, handles a complete line of groceries and meats.

JOHN R. THOMPSON INSURANCE—Established in July of 1928 by John R. Thompson.

H. M. VANCE JEWELER-Established in May of 1928 by Harold Vance.

    H. M. Vance, Muscatine jeweler, received his training at the Chicago School of Watchmakers. Upon completion of his schooling he opened a jewelry shop here in May of 1928, at 400 Mulberry Avenue. On May 1, 1938 he moved to his present location at 207 West Second Street.

WESTERN HEREFORD EXCHANGE—Established in Muscatine in 1928.

    Harry F. Stream and Forrest M. Larmer, officers of the Western Hereford Exchange Incorporated, founded in 1920 the first organization to furnish …

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PAUL DOERING & SON SHOE REPAIR—Established in September of 1929 by Paul Doering and son, William.

BURLINGTON TRAILWAYS-Established in 1929 by the C. B. & Q. Railroad Company.

FRANK BOLDT’S CONOCO SERVICE STATION-Established June 22, 1929 by Frank Boldt.

FARMERS’ SUPPLY COMPANY-Established in February of 1929 by the John Deere Implement Company.

    John Deere farm machinery of all kinds has been sold in Muscatine by the Farmers’ Supply Company since February of 1929. The firm has had only three managers in that time. Walter Daw was in charge of the store during its first year here, being succeeded by Ed Willits who continued as manager until last November, when G. E. Styre came to Muscatine to assume charge. The Farmers Supply has been located in the same building since being established, although moving down one door to 115 Walnut Street.

GRANDE COURT INN AND FILLING STATIONS-Established in November of 1929 by J. W. and Nellie H. Zeahringer.

    Grand Court, the attractive grounds at 801 Grandview avenue consisting of 10 tourist cottages, space for trailer parking, a gas station and lunch room, was started by J. H. and Nellie Zeahringer in 1929 on a waste piece of land across from the Roach and Musser factory.

    The Zeahringers had more than 12,000 loads of dirt hauled in to make a four foot fill across the block, planted trees for shade, and erected the buildings in the court. The place is conveniently located on Highway 61 to serve tourists along that road. Each of the 10 cottages has shower bath and lavatory convenience. A new parking place, with plenty of shade trees, is just being opened back of the lunchroom for outdoor service.

    Before the Zeahringers built Grande court the city had to keep the weeds cut and water drained from the space. Now it is an attractive spot at the south entrance to the city.

MERCHANT’S DELIVERY SERVICE-Established April 8, 1929 by Luther Woods.

MONTGOMERY WARD STORE-Established in Muscatine Feb. 9, 1929 by Montgomery Ward and Company.

    A. R. Howe has been manager of the local Montgomery Ward and company store in Muscatine since it was opened Feb. 9, 1929. At that time the building was re-modeled and a new, attractive front put on. Since its opening the store has leased the old Baker building on chestnut Street which is used as a warehouse. A continual growth in business has been noted since 1929.

MUSCATINE COACH LINES-Established March 17, 1929 by L. C. Lemon.

PIPPERT & RICE-Established in March of 1929 by Herman and Conrad Pippert and C. C. Rice.

    “We take the dent out of accident” is the slogan of the Pippert and Rice firm, which specializes in repairing wrecked cars.

    Established by Herman and Conrad Pippert and C. C. Rice in March of 1929, the firm continues under the same partnership. At their shop at 414 East Third Street, the three men engage in auto body and fender repair, auto upholstery and painting.

    Wrecker service is maintained at all times.

SCHREURS RADIO STORE-Established in February of 1929 by Clifford A. Schreurs.

WALT SHERMAN’S TASTE-RITE HAMBURG SHOP-Established in April of 1929 by Walt Sherman.

    Walt Sherman originated the Taste-Rite sandwiches in April of 1929, and opened a shop at 310 Cedar Street which he still operates. Mr. Sherman has had the name Taste-Rite copyrighted, and operates several other Taste-Rite stands in the middle west.

ED SPRINGBORN’S SERVICE STATION-Established Sept. 11, 1929 by Ed Springborn.

SPURGEON’S STORE-Established Sept. 21, 1929 by the Spurgeon Mercantile Company.

    Harold Riswold has been manager of Spurgeon’s store ever since it was established in Muscatine by the Spurgeon Mercantile Company in September of 1929. It first operated across the street from the present location and in 1929 moved to 117 East Second Street. At that time the old Burnett building, a landmark in Muscatine, was torn down and a new modern store building erected, which is the present home of Spurgeons.

STROH’S SALVAGE CO.-Established in August of 1929 by Frank and Fred Stroh.

    Stroh’s Salvage Company was started as a garage in 1929 by Frank and Fred Stroh, with location on West Front Street. The firm remained there for five years until moving to the present location at 1301 Oregon Street. Frank C. Stroh, the present owner, has been identified with the salvage business for 20 years.

RAY WINTERMUTE ICE CREAM COMPANY-Established in April of 1929 by Raymond Wintermute.

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