|Muscatine County, Iowa|
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
31 May 1940
Section 7 - 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
DILLON GROCERY – Established April 2, 1930 by Nathaniel Dillon.
DUNCAN GROCERY – Established in November of 1930 by Guy Duncan.
ERICKSON STANDARD SERVICE – Established in March of 1930 by Allvar Erickson.
Allvar Erickson started working for the Standard Oil company in 1930, being employed at stations on East Hill, Mulberry Avenue, and Fourth Street before taking charge of a station in South Muscatine. Two years ago he moved to 223 East Front Street to assume charge of the Standard Service station there, which had been built new two years earlier. The Erickson station offers complete auto service, including satisfactory wash and grease jobs.
FAIR OAKS DAIRY – Established in 1930 by E. J. Ales.
KENNETH HATHAWAY BARBER SHOP – Established in April of 1930 by Kenneth Hathaway.
JACKSON & DUCHESNE BILLARD HALL – Established in July of 1930 by Ernest House and Howard Eutsler.
MOTOR SERVICE – Established in July of 1930 by Ernest House and Howard Eutsler.
MUSCATINE CAFÉ – Established in July of 1930 by Louie Callas.
Louie Callas, proprietor of the Muscatine Café, has been actively engaged in the restaurant business since as a lad of 14 he came to this country from Kalamata, Greece. He first learned to cook by working in restaurants in New York, and at one time owned a restaurant at white Plains, N. Y. In 1911 he returned to Greece and married, bringing his bride back to New York where he continued in the restaurant business before moving to Cumberland, Md.
From Cumberland, he came to Muscatine and opened the “Victoria” café at 323 East Second Street, where Rummells Electric shop is now located. Later he moved down the street to the present site of Winning’s grocery and started the Iowa café. Still later Mr. Callas operated George Washington café in the 200 block on East Second Street.
In July of 1930 he opened the Muscatine Café at its present location, 305 East Second Street. This clean, modern restaurant was attractively redecorated in 1937, and is one of the most popular eating places in town. Mr. Callas daughters act as waitresses.
VOGUE SPECIALTY SHOP – Established in November of 1930 by Lillian and Ruby Callahan.
SPANISH VILLA – Established in 1930 by Herbert Leu.
The Spanish Villa was started under that name by Herbert Leu in 1930, before that time having gone under various names, including Leu and Stein. Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Leu have operated the Villa since April 1, 1937. Since then it has been remodeled extensively, including air condition, re-decorating in attractive Spanish Villa style, and a new fountain, counter and stools, with the most modern equipment possible. Meals are served daily, Sunday, and holidays, with good food and service a policy of the firm. The Villa handles Martha Washington candies exclusively in town, and also sells Johnston candies.
FIGG TIRE & BATTERY SHOP – Established in March of 1931 by James S. Figg.
GENEVA MARKET – Established in August of 1931 by Otto Soltwedel.
Fresh fish, poultry, and a small line of groceries are handled by Mr. Soltwedel at his Geneva Market, located a mile and a half from the city limits on Highway 61. In addition to having many customers from Muscatine, the market also serves the community round about. Mr. Soltwedel, who started the firm in 1931, makes his home at the same location as his business.
HARRY E. HASSS GROCERY – Established June 8, 1931 by Harry E. Hass.
KOCHNEFF CLEANERS – Established in May of 1931 by John Kochneff.
HENDERSON’S GARAGE – Established Sept. 1, 1926 by Charles Henderson and Jim Halbert.
Charles Henderson, who started the Henderson garage in partnership with Jim Halbert in September of 1926, took over the business himself in 1927. The firm was located at that time at 409 West Front Street, and was moved to its present location on September 1, 1929. Mr. Henderson rented the building there for the first year, and then purchased it.
In 1931 he was joined in business by Joe Krueger, who continues as a partner in the firm.
The building next door was bought in 1936 and two years later the two buildings were combined and re-modeled. In September of 1932 the firm signed up for the Chevrolet agency. At present the garage sells General motors trucks, Chevrolet, Cadillac, LaSalle Oldsmobile and Pontiac cars.
There are three floors in the present enlarged building, covering a floor space of 25,000 square feet, in addition to a warehouse of 11,000 square feet and the Used Car department located at the corner of Mulberry and Third Street which has 11,000 square feet of floor space. Henderson’s O K’d used cars are given complete servicing before being put on the market. Merle Henderson, son of Charles Henderson, is in charge of this department.
The service department, which occupies the first floor of the main garage, is under the management of Clint Davis. The body shop, which is one of the finest and most complete in the state, is in charge of John Wickery, while Ben Green is foreman of the general repair shop.
Full Bear equipment is maintained by the firm and kept strictly up-to-date. A new radio department, with full equipment for radio repair, will be added shortly. Every car sold by the Henderson garage is fully guaranteed.
PEOPLE’S GROCERY – Established in October of 1931 by J. Becker.
RINK’S INN & GROCERY – Established in April of 1931 by Nona C. Rink.
Starting out her business as a confectionery in April of 1931, Mrs. Nona C. Rink gradually increased her trade to add a line of groceries and notions. The …
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… firm, located at 1201 Oregon Street, is now known as Rink’s Inn and Grocery. In 1927-28 Mrs. Rink had previously operated a grocery for a short time at 1101 Oregon Street.
SCHNEDLER SHOE SHOP – Established July 4, 1931 by Carl Dunham.
Harry Schnedler bought the shoe repair shop at 505 Mulberry Avenue in 1936 from Carl Dunham, who had established the shop in 1931. Mr. Schnedler had previously operated a shoe repair business in South Muscatine for three years. All kinds of shoe repairing is done by Mr. Schnedler in his shop on Mulberry Avenue, with high quality workmanship a feature.
UPTOWN THEATER – Established Nov. 4, 1931 by Ludy Bosten.
Ludy Bosten has been identified with the theater entertainment of Muscatine since 1912, when he started he Princess Theater in partnership with George Neibert. The first floor of the old Giesenhaus building located at 227 East Second Street was remodeled and the grand opening held the night of May 30, 1912. The lobby of the new theater was designed by Mr. Bosten himself, with appointments in “white, red, and orange.” Seating capacity of the Princess was 300.
After running the Princess theater together for about 10 years, the two men took over the “A-Muse-U” which after three years was consolidated with the Palace. At this time the partnership between Mr. Bosten and Mr. Neibert was dissolved and Mr. Bosten took over the management of the two theaters alone. Later the Palace was leased to Capitol Enterprises at Kansas City, and Mr. Bosten continued to run the A-Muse-U until opening his new Uptown Theater in November of 1931.
YINGLING COAL COMPANY – Established in June of 1931 by Kenneth Yingling.
TOBIAS SHOE REPAIR – Established in August of 1931 by Fred Tobias.
Fred Tobias, who established the Tobias Shoe Repair shop at 327 East Second Street, died in January of 1933 after a little more than two years in business. After his death Richard Massey, who had been employed by Mr. Tobias, ran the business for the latter’s widow until July of 1939 at which time he bought out the firm.
INA MAE’S CAFÉ – Established in April of 1931 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Thayer.
Ina Mae’s café was built in 1931 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Thayer, the café being named for Mrs. Thayer. Prior to that time the couple had operated a sandwich shop for a year in a small building just east of the present location. In 1936 their son, George took over the business and operated it for two years, after which he sold out to Alfred “Curly” Clark, the present owner.
SAM DUNCAN BARBER SHOP – Established in 1932 by Sam Duncan.
FAIRALL PAINT STORE – Established in September of 1932 by Kenneth B. Fairall.
Kenneth B. Fairall first opened his paint store in Muscatine in September of 1932, at the present location of the McDaniel Drug store. After two years there, he moved the firm to the present site of the Bon Ton, and three years later to the location at 110 West Second Street where the business now operates. The Fairall Paint store is the …
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... dealer for Lowe Brothers Paint and many other famous brands of merchandise.
HALLING GROCERY – Established in July of 1943 by Charles Halling.
HOME OIL COMPANY – Established in 1932 by Leo Grosjean and Guy Honts.
E. P. HORST PLUMBING AND HEATING – Established in March of 1932 by E. P. Horst.
E. P. Horst has had his plumbing and heating business for eight years – and 14 years previously worked for the Sanitary Plumbing and Heating Company. In his own business at 606 West Eight Street, Mr. Horst handles Koehler Enamelware, Weil-McLain and Kohler heating equipment, Eddie and Chandler stokers, and Autocrat oil burners. He has a modern shop with display room on the first floor and a work shop I the basement.. All material of the best quality is used and workmanship is the same.
KEMPF JEWELER – Established in June of 1932 by C. A. Kempf.
C. A. Kempf came to Muscatine in 1917 and worked for the Barnard Jewelry store until the spring of 1930. For the next two years he was out of the city returning in June of 1932 to open a jewelry firm of his own. His first store was located in the same building with the Glasgow Tailor shop before moving to the present location 224 East Second Street.
Mr. Kempf’s son, Don, is learning the trade from his father, working in the business during his spare time. The firm does all kinds of optical and jewelry repair, and also has a small stock of jewelry.
LOCAL LOAN COMPANY – Established April 8, 1932 by a group of local business and professional men.
HAROLD OETZEL FURNACES AND SHEET METALWORKS – ESTABLISHED April 8, 1932 by a group of local business and professional men.
Air conditioning, furnace work, and all kinds of sheet metal work is done by Harold Oetzel who maintains headquarters at 1006 Newell Avenue. Mr. Oetzel has been in these lines of work all his life, previously being in business in Chicago since 1919. He moved his business in Muscatine in 1932.
QUANDT DRY GOODS SHOP—Established in September of 1922 by Elmer C. Quandt.
Elmer C. Quandt has had 18 years experience in the dry goods business, having been identified with this line for some time before opening his own store at 129 East Second Street. The Quandt Dry Goods shop handles chiefly ladies’ accessories, silk and cotton piece goods, and McCall patterns. The store has been in the same location since it was opened.
REINSAGER DAIRY – Established in October of 1932 by Gus Reinsager and Son, Harry.
PHILLIPS’ PETROLEUM CO. BULK PLANT – Established in Muscatine in June of 1933.
Jack Spratt, a manger of the Phillips Petroleum Bulk plant at 822 East Second Street, has been with the Phillips Company 15 years. He has managed the local plant for the past five years. The bulk plant distributes Phillips products to dealers in Muscatine and surrounding territory.
THIESSEN & DUSENBERRY SERVICE STATION – Established in May of 1932 by Harry Thiessen and Joe Bieber.
Thiessen and Dusenberry’s White Rose service station was built new by Harry Thiessen and Joe Bieber in 1932, with …
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...formal opening of the station in May of that year. Mr. Bieber continued in partnership until about four years ago, when Oren Dusenberry took over the business with Mr. Thiessen.
ED WEIS GROCERY – Established Sept. 1, 1932 by Ed Weis.
RALPH J. WITTICH FUNERAL HOME – Established in April of 1932 by R. J. and Werner Wittich.
The charm of the Ralph J. Wittich Funeral home, established in 1932 by R. J. and Werner Wittich, lies partly in its tradition as a charming old residence of Muscatine. Originally the Bliven home, it later became the residence of the McKee family. It is located at 216 West Third Street.
The funeral home has made progressive changes in the eight years of its existence, buying new equipment that would improve services. Outstanding among these improvements is the new air conditioning system installed a year ago. A lovely cathedral organ is available for all services. Dependable ambulance service is maintained at all times. R. J. and Werner Wittich, both licensed embalmers, are assisted in their work by Edward Freers, also a licensed embalmer. Mr. R. J. Wittich acts as hostess and assists in the work.
IOWAY PRINTING COMPANY – Established in 1932 by Jim Conley.
Commercial job printing of all kinds is handled by the Ioway Printing Company, located at 309 East Third Street. Jim Conley founded the firm in 1932 and two years later was joined by Ralph Strohm. The two men are continuing the business as partners.
HAL CAPENTER – Carpenter business established in November of 1923 by Harry O. Carpenter.
Hal Carpenter is the only man in Muscatine who is a “carpenter” by name as well as trade. This unusual combination of trade fitting name also applied to his father, Walter Carpenter, who was a contractor at Washing, Ia., and with whom the Muscatine man worked as a boy. Hal Carpenter has been working at the trade all his life, with the exception of the time he was in the World war. He worked for a number of Muscatine contractors before establishing his own business here in November of 1933.
CENTRAL STATE BANK – Established June 14, 1933.
The original bank from which the Central State bank at 301 Iowa Avenue is the outgrowth was the old merchants Exchange National Bank, established in 1865, This bank was changed to the First National in 1887, and on June 14, 1933, the Central State …
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… was organized as successor to the First National and Hershey state banks.
EASTIOWA FINISHERS –Established in June of 1933 by Ellis U. Branson.
Ellis U. Branson, who has had 18 years photographic experience in Chicago, Cedar Rapids, and Muscatine in 1933, established Eastiowa Finishers with the motto that the best is not good enough—that he would constantly endeavor to improve the quality of his snapshot finishing. That he has adhered to this rule is attested by the increasing number of camera enthusiasts who insist on prints made by Eastiowa.
The Journal successfully completes its first century. Eastiowa Finishers have 93 years to go to achieve that goal. But they intend in the coming years to keep pace with the dramatic changes which are bound to occur in photography.
GRAND CAFÉ – Established in October of 1933 by J. E. Chasteen.
LEE TRUCKING COMPANY –Established Jan. 1, 1933 by James Lee.
McDANIEL DRUG STORE –Established in September of 1933 by Weldon K. McDaniel.
Upon his graduation from the pharmacy college at the State University of Iowa, Weldon K. McDaniel bought out the Snow White Drug store at the corner of Second and Cedar streets, and started in business for himself. In less than a year he moved his store to its present location at 115 East Second Street. A soda fountain was later added to the business, and in January of 1936 the store also became a postal substation.
MODERNE BEAUTY SHOPPE –Established March 1, 1933 by Charlotte Jipson and Genevieve Stoneburner.
MUSCTINE BANK AND TRUST COMPANY –Established April 8, 1933.
The Muscatine Bank and Trust Company and its predecessors have always been headed by the Musser interests—first by P. M. Musser and now by his son, C. R. Musser. It was originally the Cook and Musser Bank, founded in Muscatine in 1870.
The Musser family has been connected with the bank from its very beginning, being represented at present by C. R. Musser, chairman of the board of directors. The banking firm was re-organized on April 8, 1933, into what has since been known as the Muscatine Bank and Trust Company.
NIETZEL DRUG STORE, NO 1—Established in August of 1933 by A. I. Nietzel. Store No. 2, established in April of 1940 by A. I. Nietzel and R. M. Bahnsen.
Nietzel’s Drug store No. 1 was formerly the old Riemcke drug store, founded by G. A. Riemcke back in 1879. A. I. Nietzel bought the firm from W. M. Riemcke, son of the founder, in August of 1933 and changed the name to Nietzel’s Drug store. In the summer of 1936 he took over the Walgreen agency, and installed a new fountain.
The new No. 2 store on East Second Street was opened in April of this year by A. I. Nietzel and R. M. Bahnsen. A luncheonette and fountain is operated in connection with the drug business at this new store. Booths were installed and an attractive knotty pine room erected which is available for private parties.
PITTSBURG PAINT STORE – Established in September of 1933 by Frank Schmitt.
Frank Schmitt, proprietor of the Pittsburgh Paint store at 311 East Third Street, is well qualified to handle paints as he was a painting contractor in Muscatine for 25 years before opening his own store. The firm specializes in Pittsburgh paint and enamel, Pittsburgh glass, Imperial washable wallpaper, and a large assortment of brushes.
Having direct contact with the Pittsburgh Paint company’s warehouse at Davenport, the local store is able to give quick service to customers. Mr. Schmitt’s nephew, Freeman Schmitt, is associated in business with him, having had six years’ previous experience as a salesman in the Hahn Paint firm.
ROCK-A-BYE INN-Established in January of 1933 by August Avesing.
SELL-RITE STORES-Established May 16, 1933 by a group of Muscatine grocers.
The Sell-rite grocery organization of Muscatine was begun on May 16, 1933 by a group of local grocers, to enable all members to buy collectively as a group so that a saving might be passed on the retail customer. Regular meetings are held weekly at the Hotel Muscatine, at which time the grocery owners discuss problems that confront them in their various businesses to do their collective buying. The organization carries many well-known brands of canned goods.
Member stores of the firm are the E. W. Berg grocery, Chayka grocery, William Collitz market, Guy Duncan grocery, harry Hass grocery, Havemann Brothers grocery, August Hoffman grocery, George Hofman grocery, Lucas street grocery, Pilgrim’s market. Walt …
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… man and West, Ed Weis grocery, and Brookhart’s general merchandise at Cranston. First officers to serve the organization included Roy Fisher as president; the late John Bast, vice President; Bernard Chayka, secretary; Walter Pilgrim, treasurer; and Ed Weis, advertising manager.
TENNYSON LAWN MOWER SHOP –Established in April of 1933 by James Tennyson.
UPTOWN BEAUTY SHOP—Established Oct. 1, 1933 by Effie Henderson Marquardt.
Sixteen years’ experience in the beauty business ranks Effie Henderson Marquardt among the first of Muscatine beauty operators. Prior to opening the Uptown Beauty shop in 1933, she operated the Hotel Muscatine Beauty shop and worked in numerous other shops in the city. Lora Chelf, also of the Uptown shop, has had 12 years’ experience as a beauty operator.
MYRLE AYE SHELL SERVICE –Established in September of 1934 by Myrle Aye.
Myrle Aye has been in the service station business for the past 12 years, first with Standard Oil and later with Joe Roth. He opened his Shell service station at the corner of Park Avenue and Washington Street in September of 1934. A wash and grease department is operated in connection with the gas and oil station.
WILL M. DAUT DELIVERY –Established in December of 1934 by Will M. Daut.
“Bill” Daut has been handling furniture for 25 years, both as salesman and as delivery man. For the last six years he had been in the furniture moving business for himself, and prior to that was a salesman for the Huebotter Furniture Company both at Davenport and the Batterson store in Muscatine.
He is fully licensed and insured to move household goods anywhere in Iowa and Illinois. The body of his truck is solidly built, weather-proof, and large enough to accommodate seven average rooms of furnishing. His other equipment is modern and in good condition, including a specially-built refrigerator and stove dolly, and over 75 thick, specially-made packing pads. Having proper equipment and being experienced in furniture handling, Mr. Daut offers his services to those who want their belongings moved carefully and safely. Prices are no higher than ordinary moving rates.
FURNITURE MART –Established in September of 1934 by Orrie A. Glatstein.
Orrie A. Glatstein, proprietor of the Furniture Mart, started in the furniture business back in 1905 in partnership with his father and brothers and has been in the business continuously since then. He started his own show room and store in 1934 at the American Bank building, and later, through the fast growth of his business, bought the three-story building at 118 East Second Street in which the firm is now located, using the four floors and parts of the two adjoining buildings at 116 and 120 East Second Street.
The Furniture Mart serves a large territory including the Tri-Cities, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Washington, even going as far south as Paducah, Ky.
Mr. Glatstein also operates the Bee Gee shop and handles electrical home appliances such as Kelvinator refrigerators, rangers, and washing machines, in addition to high quality furniture. He is assisted in business by his wife and three daughters. The Furniture Mart slogan is no order too large or none too small.
DR. D. H. GRAU OSTEOPATHIC PHYSICIAN AND SURGEON—Established in June of 1934 by Dr. D. H. Grau.
Dr. D. H. Grau, osteopathic physician and surgeon who opened a practice in Muscatine in 1934, founded the Grau Hospital in July of 1938. He purchased the former home of the Misses Ella and Nellie Reuling at 109 East Fourth Street, and converted it into a modern, up-to-date hospital.
The Grau Hospital engages in general surgery and obstetrics, and is equipped to do diagnostic X-ray and fluoroscopy.
GROSJEAN’S 66 SERVICE STATION—Established Aug. 27, 1934 by George Grosjean.
George Grosjean opened his Phillip’s 66 service station at 822 East Second Street on August 27, 1934. The firm specializes in lubrication, and has a complete battery and tire department, in addition to handling a full line of Phillips products.
C. C. HAKES & COMPANY—Established Oct 1, 1934 by C. C. Hakes.
C. C. Hakes started in the real estate and mortgage business here in February of 1919, upon his return from the army, …
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… but did not organize his own company until October of 1934. The firm handles real estate, farm and city loans, and insurance of all kinds. During last year Hakes and company sold over half a million dollars’ worth of farm and city real estate and made over a half million dollars’ worth of loans.
In March of 1939 an office was established in Davenport, at 505 First National Bank building, where four persons are employed. The local office employs 8.
Mr. Hakes is secretary of the Muscatine National Farm Loan association, which he organized in 1933. Later he was made secretary treasurer of the Louisa County National Farm Loan association and the Farmers National Farm Loan association, covering Muscatine and Louisa counties. Mr. Hakes has placed about 2,800,000 Federal land bank loans with farmers of the two counties through these three associations. For two years he was also president of the secretary-treasurers association of the eighth federal land bank district covering Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.
A year ago Hakes and Com-mortgage loan correspondent for city loans with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, covering the Tri-Cities, Muscatine and vicinity and was recently given the contract for Iowa City. In the first year the firm has closed and is in the process of closing over $ 300,000 worth of city loans for the Metropolitan. The Hakes Company is also approved brokers for F. H. A. insured loans in the Tri-Cities, Muscatine, and Iowa City, and management sales brokers for the Home Owners Loan Corporation.
MAD CREEK GOLF CLUB—Established July 4, 1934 by Jim and Bill Twohig.
The only public golf course in Muscatine is the Made Creek course, located at 2223 Mulberry Avenue, which was opened on the Fourth of July, 1934, under the management of Jim and Bill Twohig. Its slogan is “The Friendly Course.” Beginners in the sport are given their first game free of charge. A city golf tournament is conducted by the course each summer. In the clubhouse a full line of golf equipment is sold, and golf instruction is given on the course at all times.
PETER F. SACHS—Established in April of 1934 by Peter Sachs and Ray Ribbink.
Peter Sachs, who came to this country in 1924 from Germany, did carpenter work in the old country five or six years. Upon coming to Muscatine he worked for August Blaesing, Jr., several years before going into business with Ray Ribbink in 1934. Mr. Ribbink was in the firm about two years, and since then Mr. Sachs has conducted the business himself at 905 Sycamore Street.
PURE MILK DAIRY—Established in May of 1934 by Ralph W. Williams.
Ralph Williams, a graduate of the Iowa State college dairy industry department, purchased the Muscatine Pure Milk company from Robert Miller in May of 1934. The business, located at 411 Sycamore Street, was moved to 425 Mulberry Avenue in December of 1934, to provide for growth in business.
In the spring of 1937 the firm was moved to the new modern building which is located at 1018 East Ninth Street, and the name changed to Pure Milk Dairy. The building was planned by Mr. Williams to provide the most sanitary facilities for handling and pasteurizing milk. Highest quality is the continual aim of the dairy. Employes are specially trained for their work. Samples of milk are periodically sent to Iowa State College for testing to see that the quality is kept best. Milk is purchased from leading Muscatine farmers where herds are approved by a state inspector. Dependable retail and wholesale delivery is made to all parts of the city. Products include pasteurized milk, cream, whipped cream, cottage cheese, buttermilk, chocolate milk and Bireleys’ orangeade.
RED BELL GROCERY—Established Feb. 10, 1934 by Charles Frack.
J. L. BEHRENS TRAVEL BUREAU—Established in January 1934 by J. L. Behrens.
Complete travel service is available in Muscatine through the travel bureau established by J. L. Behrens in 1934. Mr. Behrens furnishes information as to rates and line-ups on vacation tours for all important airlines, railroads and bus lines, securing reservations when so desired. The travel bureau also covered steamship bookings but during the current war in Europe this part of the service has fallen off. Mr. Behrens maintains his offices in the Hershey Building.
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