History of Sioux City, IA - Industrial & Commercial part 1
From: History of the Counties of Woodbury and Plymouth, Iowa
A Warner & Co., Publishers
Chicago Illinois, 1890-91


TO find the cause of the rapid growth of Sioux City needs no mysterious unfolding of circumstances; it has grown because of the marvelous richness of its farming vicinity; of its being the center of the great corn belt, and because of its being in the very heart of the country producing the greater portion of live stock raised in the west. Other chapters have told how the site of this city came to be selected, and before the present resources and future possibilities are considered, the reader is asked to briefly retrace the years of the city's history, and, if possible, learn who and what the pioneer business men were, and what impress they left behind them, as a perpetual legacy for all time to come.

The present city's magnificent retail establishments are in striking contrast with the three or four rude frame and log cabin stores, which were huddled together at the corner of Second and Pearl streets in 1860. But few can realize the hardships seen by merchants in those early days. There were no railroad trains, no steamboats regularly coming and going and no stages or mail.

To James A. Jackson belongs the honor of establishing the first real store at Sioux City. Dr. Cook, Mr. Jackson's father in law, had surveyed much of the territory in this part of Iowa, and was fully posted, and he selected this place in 1854 as a most propitious site for a commercial center. He made known his opinion to Mr. Jackson, who was then in partnership with Milton Tootle, the firm having stores in Council Bluffs and Omaha. Tootle & Jackson agreeing in the opinion of Dr. Cook, that Sioux City would become, at no late date, a great distributing point, an agreement was entered into whereby this firm was to open a branch store in Sioux City the following spring. Dr. Cook then returned to Sioux City, and purchased of Pioneer Leonais, the site of the town, paying him $3,000 for it.

There being no means of transportation, other than wagons, Mr. Jackson journeyed to St. Louis in June, 1856, where he chartered the steamer "Omaha," paying the captain $24,000 for the trip up to Sioux City. He then stocked the boat up with a cargo valued at $70,000, consisting of a saw mill, lumber, furniture, dry goods, hardware, and all other goods found in the general stores of those days. Two thirds of the cargo were for Sioux City. Dr. Cook, meanwhile, had built a log store on the corner of Second and Pearl streets. Mr. Jackson arrived with the boat in June, 1856, and opened up the store, remained six weeks, and then left the establishment in the hands of Samuel Holland. When the "Omaha" landed at the wild banks of the turbulent Missouri, there were only two houses to greet the eye of the pilot. The firm above named, finding their business here was a success, had a frame store built in St. Louis and brought here in sections. This was the first frame store in the embryo city. It cost $800, and the cost of getting it up from St. Louis was about the same amount. The building still stands between Second and Third streets, on Pearl.

In 1857 Mr. Jackson purchased a steam ferry for the Sioux City Land & Ferry Company, paying $6,000 for the same. Prior to that, a flatboat was propelled across the river with oars and poles.

Of the five small stores in Sioux City in 1860, it may be said that their proprietors are all gone, and none any way connected with them remains, except W. H. Livingston, who clerked for Jackson & Tootle, and finally embarked in trade for himself. Of those pioneer trading days Mr. Livingston says: "We had a population of about 600 when I arrived in 1860. I was five days coming here by stage from Missouri. On the way up, we passed through Council Bluffs, which was then a dirty little place, and Omaha, of still less consequence. I was only twenty years old then. The traders then in business were as follows: H. D. Booge & Co., Milton Tootle, L. D. Parmer, T. J. Kinkaid, general dealers, and D. T. Hedges, a grocer. The enterprising merchant of that day carried about everything: tobacco, shoes, sash, doors, whisky, etc. Jobbing was a good percentage of Sioux City's trade, even at that early day. The stores supplied the forts of the northwest, and then, as now, the extent of the country dependent upon goods from Sioux City was large."

It seems that hard work was the lot of the clerks and proprietors in those days, and Mr. Livingston, now the biggest dealer in the city, tells of how be was kept busy handling sash, doors, salt, pork and other heavy articles, until, some days, he well nigh gave out. In 1863 he left the store of Tootle & Charles, and opened the first exclusive dry goods house in the place, under the firm name of W. H. Livingston & Co., the "Co." being his old employers.

City Directory of 1866. - To show what Sioux City was twenty four years ago, the following has been carefully copied from a local paper published at that date:

Merchants - L. D. Parmer, Tootle & Charles, T. J. Kinkaid, H. D. Booge & Co., D. T. Hedges, G. H. Shuster & Co., E. R. Kirk & Co., Appleton & Westcott, W. F. Faulkner, J. H. Morf, A. Groningen.
Jeweler - D. H. Collamer.
Boots and Shoes - Mat. Gaugran, Sam. Krumann.
News Depot - John Pinkney.
Drugs and Medicines - C. Kent, C. K. Howard.
Meat Shops - S. W. Haviland, J. P. Webster.
Tinware and Stoves - Charles K. Smith & Co.
Bank - Weare & Allison.
Churches - Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Congregational, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian.

As a Railroad Center Sioux City stands in the fore rank of Iowa cities, the following roads having been built to its borders: Chicago & Northwestern; Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, and two branches into South Dakota; Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha, and three branches into Nebraska; Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley; Illinois Central; Sioux City & Pacific; Sioux City & Northern; Union Pacific, making a total of eight trunk lines and five distinct branches. Sixty passenger trains go in and out of Sioux City daily over these roads. During the year 1889 the railroads received 52,910 car loads of freight for Sioux City, and forwarded 24,095 car loads, exclusive of freight passing through.

The Sioux City Terminal Railroad & Warehouse Company was organized, during the past summer, for the purpose of developing property for terminal purposes, including passenger depot and three immense freight warehouses. The official composition of the company is as follows: President, A. S. Garretson; vice president, T. P. Gere; acting secretary, D. E. Paulin.

Wholesale and Jobbing Trade - Since Sioux City first engaged in the jobbing trade, great changes have taken place in the west. Twenty years ago - 1870 - the Mississippi river towns in Iowa dominated. Later on, some interior cities developed ambition to take the lead, and worked their territory with a laudable enterprise. But Sioux City held its own, and as the great domain north and west settled up, its jobbers pushed vigorously on to the front, distancing all competitors, and for several years it has been the leading wholesale point in Iowa, and now aspires to be second to none in the whole Missouri valley.

Sioux City is the center of the finest farming section in the west - where crops never totally fail. She has as good railroad facilities as Omaha or Kansas City, and her own business men work as one man, to encourage and build up these wholesale and jobbing houses. The men of means in Sioux City build railroads to the territory they wish to capture, and finally, commercially supply. She built the Sioux City & Northern, and is now about to build into the Black Hills country, all of which means an immense increase in the wholesale business of Sioux City.

The foundation of the jobbing trade was laid long before the day of railroads, when the great Missouri river was the means of transportation to this place and points beyond. This was the result of geographical relations and the inherent advantages of the site which had been selected for Sioux City. From British Columbia, in the north, to the Gulf of Mexico, in the south, there could be found no point more valuable for the upbuilding of a vast metropolis. The great rivers seem to have entered into a league, hundreds of years ago, to prepare the way for the commercial interests of Sioux City. The vast Missouri, nearly 200 miles in Dakota, changes from its course to the south, and for that distance runs nearly east to Sioux City, then bends backward to the south as it passes on to the Gulf of Mexico, as if its mission was to inspire this city with its presence and the burden of its commerce, and to bring here the millions of wealth represented in the thousands of square miles of fertile lands upon its banks.

Space here forbids going into detail, more than to outline the wholesale interests, by enumerating a few of the leading firms doing business at the commencement of 1890, when there were forty five jobbing houses in Sioux City, all doing a thriving business, using all the capital at their command. Their sales for 1889 were about nine and one half million dollars, and were represented among the following lines:

Furniture - Number of traveling men, 4; number of men employed, 10; annual sales, $200,000.

Furs and hides - Number of traveling men, 5; number of men employed, 15; annual sales, $500,000.

Oils - Number of traveling men, 5; number of men employed, 25; annual sales, $500,000.

Confectionery - Number of traveling men, 11; number of men employed, 69; annual sales, $290,000.

Agricultural implements - Number of traveling men, 6; number of men employed, 25; annual sales, $360,000.

Dry goods notions - Number of traveling men, 9; number of men employed, 24; annual sales, $575,000.

Commission merchants - Number of traveling men, 15; number of men employed, 60; annual sales, $1,414,000.

Drugs - Number of traveling men, 10; number of men employed, 42; annual sales, $1,200,000.

Groceries - Number of traveling men, 23; number of men employed, 44; annual sales, $2,750,000.

Clothing - Number of traveling men, 2; number of men employed, 4; annual sales, $100,000.

Stationery - Number of traveling men, 3; number of men em¬ployed, 10; annual sales, $115,000.

Queensware - Number of traveling men, 5; number of men employed, 12; annual sales, $150,000.

Hardware - Number of traveling men, 7; number of men employed, 25; annual sales, $600,000.

Boots and shoes - Number of traveling men, 3; number of men employed, 7; annual sales, $150,000.

Saddlery hardware - Number of traveling men, 6; number of men employed, 19; annual sales, $250,000.

Cigars - Number of traveling men, 7; number of men employed, 23; annual sales, $303,000.

Total for 1889 - Number of traveling men, 179; number of men employed, 414; annual sales, $9,457,000.

Among the large dealers are Tollerton & Stetson Co., C. Shenkberg & Co., Donnan & Fowler Co., William Tackaberry & Co., wholesale grocers; J. H. Griffin & Co., Iowa Candy Co., Sioux City Cracker & Candy Co., confectioners; Jandt & Thompkins, Palmer, Noyes & Wiley, dry goods; Hornick Drug Co., F. Hansen, drugs; Baker & Bissell, Knapp & Spalding Co., hardware; Peavey & Stephens, George H. Howell, furniture; Strange Bros., hides, etc.; W. E. Higman & Co., boots and shoes; L Feldenheimer, clothing; J. K. Prugh & Co., queensware; Sioux City Plow Co., Weisz & Moll Co., agricultural implements; Northwestern Spice Co., coffee, cigars and spices.

The saddlery hardware business of L. Humbert was started in a small way in 1870. Later on, the hide trade was added, and the combined business has constantly grown. A commercial salesman is now employed, and the full force engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling is twenty.

C. H. Martin's music business was established in 1886, and has come to be a big trade, extending over a large territory. The highest grades of musical instruments extant are handled in large quantities.

Crowell & Martin, wholesale dealers in fruit, now doing an extensive business, commenced their operations in 1880, by shipping one carload of oranges and lemons, and later the first car of bananas ever shipped to Sioux City. At that date it was looked upon as a foolish piece of business venture, and it took some time to work these goods off, but they have steadily increased, with the growth of the city, and now handle several cars each week, of the above mentioned goods.

The Independent Lumber Company, located here within the past year, consists of S. Barrow and J. H. Vallean, who sell in car lots, all grades of lumber, coming from the forests of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Although a newly organized firm, these gentlemen have already secured a large trade among builders and contractors.

A jobbers' and manufacturers' association was organized December 5, 1885, which has been of great value to the city, in carrying out her many gigantic business enterprises, including the several corn palaces. The present officers are James F. Peavey, president; John Hornick, first vice president; E. H. Stone, treasurer; James V. Mahoney, acting secretary; Messrs. Tollerton, Hornick and Gere, committee on transportation.

Manufacturing. - Not until recently has Sioux City laid claim to being much of a manufacturing point, aside from that branch to which the packing industry belongs. But of late years, with the additional railway facilities, and the rapidly developing farming section to the north and west, an effort has been carried to a successful issue, in the inducement of manufacturers to locate here. Eastern and western surplus money has found a paying investment in these gigantic plants. Aside from the pork packing business mentioned elsewhere, the leading manufacturing plants are the two great brick and tile works, the largest in Iowa; the Sioux City engine works at Leeds; the linseed oil mills, the largest in America; the pottery, soap, vinegar and woodworking factories; agricultural implement works, lithographing, blank book and auxiliary printing houses. Also the Daniel Paris stove works (at Leeds), which are now being erected, and will employ 400 workmen. It is the largest west of Cleveland, Ohio. The milling interests of Sioux City have come to be of great magnitude. During the present year, 1890, the second largest flouring mill in Iowa, a roller plant, has been built at Leeds, at which place a shoe factory is also being built.

With the Haley Iron Works and the Scraper Works, together with foundries here and there over the city, no trouble is experienced in getting heavy castings of all kinds.

A stock company with a capital of $2,000,000 was formed in 1889, to assist in the establishment of manufactories. The members are all heavy capitalists, who have abundant faith in building up great manufacturing interests at Sioux City. Among the flourishing manufacturing plants who have furnished the writer with data are the following:

The Sioux City engine works were first established in 1871, and incorporated in 1884. C. M. Giddings is president and manager, with H. J. Westover as superintendent. They build high grade engines, including the automatic, their own invention. This plant was located in the city up to 1889, at which time they removed to Leeds, where their works now cover four acres. They have the capacity for turning out 150 engines per annum. Their specialty in engine work is the Sioux City Corliss, which finds ready sale in all parts of the country. They make them from 100 to 200 horse power. During the last year they have sold them in California; St. Paul, Minn.; Des Moines, Iowa; Chillicothe, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; St. Joseph, Mo., and many smaller points.

The Sioux City Brick & Tile Works, with office and works at Springdale, were incorporated November 12, 1886, by C. F. Hoyt, Thomas Green, H. Huerth, C. R. Marks and W. M. Stevens. The present officers are C. F. Hoyt, president; C. R. Marks, secretary; Thomas Green, superintendent and treasurer. The capital stock is $60,000. The output of the plant is never less than 1,000,000 a month, the year through. The quality of brick made is very superior; they were used in the foundation of the United Bank block, instead of stone. The supply of clay is inexhaustible at their plant, and in the Sioux valley. They also possess fine builder's sand and glass sand. $50,000 has been invested in improvements, and the plant is fully equipped with all sorts of modern machinery.

The Sergeant's Bluff & Sioux City Terra Cotta, Tile & Brick Works began operations in 1887, their first year's output being 4,000,000. The attention of the company was turned toward paving brick, in the fall of 1889, and early in the spring of 1890, they constructed new kilns and added new machinery for such purpose. Their clay is of a superior quality for this work, being a hard blue shale, which in paving, makes the hardest and most lasting brick known. Their 1890 output was 7,000,000. The officers of this company are Aaron Halseth, president; George A. Mead, vice president; M. L. Sloan, secretary; George H. Brown, treasurer. The works are situated at Sergeant's Bluff, while their office is at Sioux City.

Prominent among Sioux City's gigantic business enterprises may be mentioned one of the largest linseed oil mills in the United States. This plant is located on the north side of Second street, with a frontage of 150 feet each, on Court and Iowa streets. The plant is a model of modern skill, and ranks second to none in the world in amount of oil produced. The works were built by Messrs. R. D. Hubbard, of Mankato, Minn., and T. P. Gere, of St. Paul, the location being influenced by the fact that Sioux City was in the center of the flax growing belt. The construction of these works was commenced in August, 1883, the first crushing being done for the crop of 1884. Five hundred thousand bushels of flax seed are consumed annually by these mills. The product is linseed oil and oil cake. The name of the incorporated company owing and operating these works, is the National Linseed Oil Company, and its paid up capital is $18,000,000. The resident manager is Thomas P. Gere.

In the line of novelty goods, made at this point, should be mentioned the Martin piano truck, which was invented by C. H. Martin, of Sioux City, in 1889. Business was commenced at once upon receipt of the letters patent. The firm became C. H. Martin & Co. (C. H. Martin and E. H. Stone). During the first year they sold $12,000 worth of trucks in all parts of the union. They own and conduct a large factory, and the business is constantly increasing.

The Sioux City Butter Tub Factory commenced operation in 1881, with a capacity of 15,000 butter tubs; but the plant has grown, and in 1889 it turned out 50,000 tubs, 5,000 lard barrels, 2,000 pork barrels, 2,000 half barrels. The proprietors are W. F. Baker & Son, and the factory is located in the rear of 107 West Third street.

Fletcher & Case Co., with an authorized capital of $100,000, was established in March, 1882, with an original capital of only $9,000, and employing but ten men. They manufacture all kinds of doors, windows, blinds, moldings, bank work, etc. In March, 1889, the business was incorporated, and during that year employed sixty men and turned out $100,000 worth of work.

The steam heating and plumbing business of Louis Kettleson was founded in 1889. In 1890 the business amounted to $40,000, and employed ten workmen.

The Union Planing Mill Company was organized in 1889, with Daniel Linblad, manager; O. Soiset, president, and A. Elving, secretary. The mill is 40x75 feet, with engine room 24x25 feet. Every kind of planing is done by the most improved machinery. They employ twenty men. Mr. Linblad is a native of Sweden, and came to America in 1881, locating at Sioux City.

Union Stock Yards and Packing houses. - Nothing has been more successful in the history of Sioux City, than the beef and pork packing plants, which have sprung up within a few years and already rank third in the Union. It is now the stock market of northwestern Iowa, southwestern Minnesota, Dakota and Nebraska. This business has assumed immense proportions, and is rapidly growing. The present great cattle and hog industry of the west, dates its origin to the gold discoveries of 1860. The grassy plains lying between the Rocky mountains and the Missouri river, were grazed upon only by the vast multitudes of buffalo, elk, antelope, etc., running wild over them. It is from the completion of the Union Pacific road, in 1869, that freighting stock from the vast western country commenced. The map shows that several great trunk lines of railway shoot out from Sioux City and traverse this section, bringing in the live stock treasure.

The nucleus of what is now a great corporation - the Union Stock Yards Company - was organized in 1884, with a paid up capital of $100,000. D. T. Hedges was president and treasurer; F. T. Evans, Sr., vice president, and Ed. Haakinson, secretary and superintendent. The company was composed of men far seeing, shrewd, and possessed of great executive ability. After the immediate wants of the stock yards proper were attended to, they began buying land on what is termed "the flats," at the junction of the Floyd and Missouri rivers, just where the eastern abutment of the railroad bridge is. The company now owns in that vicinity, over 1,500 acres of ground and in the neighborhood of 400 city lots. On these grounds are located the mammoth packing plants of the Silberhorn company, and the Fowler house, now operated by Ed. Haakinson & Co., and the James E. Booge & Son Packing Company. These immense institutions have a daily capacity of 12,000 hogs and 2,000 cattle.

The present officers of the Union Stock Yards Company are D. T. Hedges, president; J. E. Booge, vice president; Ed. Haakinson, secretary; J. W. Hutchings, superintendent. The capital stock of the company is $1,000,000.

The oldest and best known establishment of its kind, in this part of the great Missouri valley, is the one conducted by the James E. Booge & Sons Packing Company, an institution of which Sioux City is proud, and which for years past has enriched our local interests on. every hand, to the extent of millions of dollars every year, likewise encouraging the hog product among the farmers of the northwest, covering an area of nearly 100 miles tributary to this market. For the past ten years this company has been engaged in packing and turning out the product of 2,000 hogs slaughtered each day. For its successful operation, 350 men are employed throughout the season.

The W. H. Silberhorn company was the second packing house to locate at Sioux City. The main buildings consist of four immense structures of solid brick, four stories high, and are constructed with every improvement known to science and skill. The best evidence of the truth of this statement, is in the fact that the total cost is more than $750,000. The machinery is driven by two magnificent Corliss engines of 225 horse power, getting their steam from the two largest boilers in Iowa.

The capacity of the establishment, controlled by the Silberhorns, when worked to its full limit, is 3,000 hogs, 1,000 beeves and 500 sheep each and every day; in other words, 4,500 animals can be reduced to pork, beef and mutton every twelve, hours. The methods employed are skillful in the last degree.

The third packing house is conducted by Ed. Haakinson & Co. This great establishment was originally built for Robert D. Fowler, but owing to the failing health of that great pork packer, the plant was taken, in March, 1888, by Ed. Haakinson & Co. This great pork packing house is supplied with all the latest machinery for the packing of pork and beef. It is a splendidly laid out plant, having all those conveniences of the great packing houses of Chicago. The house for killing and dressing beef is six stories high, 154x62; storing and packing, five stories, 160x160; smoke house, 50x100; fertilizing, 50x98; beef house, four stories high, 100x100, and ice house, forty seven feet high, 148x60.

[Continued in Industrial & Commercial Part 2]

Return to [ Iowa History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ] [ Iowa Biographies ]

Iowa Counties at this web site Audubon County - Buchanan County - Dickinson County - Fayette County - Hancock County - Iowa County - Madison County - Marion County - Plymouth County - Sac County - Wapello County - Winnebago County - Woodbury County

Also see the local histories for [ CT ] [ IA ] [ IL ] [ IN ] [ KS ] [ ME ] [ MO ] [ MI ] [ NE ] [ NJ ] [ NY ] [ PA ] [ OH ] [ PA ] [ WI ]

All pages copyright 2003-2013. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy