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Your Link to the Past

Your Link to the Past

T. S. Martin Department Store

42In 1880 Thomas S. Martin opened the T. S. Martin Company, a dry goods store, at 49 Fourth Street in Sioux City. He was joined by George Westcott, and later by his brother, James P. Martin. The business grew quickly – in 1883 the store expanded to 323-325 Fourth Street. The product line expanded as well: carpets, curtains, potions, and oil cloths were listed in addition to general dry goods on ads and receipts, but dry goods remained the mainstay of the business. Catalogues from this period prominently feature an array of clothing selections for men, women, and children. Other products like porcelain and food service items were added as the business grew.


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T. S. Martin Realty Company

T. S. Martin and the Martin family were leading forces in the development of commerce and real estate in Sioux City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Along with starting one of the city’s most successful department stores, the T. S. Martin Company invested in real estate and developing downtown Sioux City into a major business district.

20171220 163753The company’s first development project was a building at 515-517 Fourth Street. The company constructed the building in 1885 and dubbed it the “Martin Block”. They leased it out to clothing retailers while their own dry goods store operated at 323-325 Fourth Street. The Martin Block did well for the company until a fire struck in the building in December 1888. The incident helped to spur the city government to establish a municipal fire department, rather than relying on private hose companies. The company remodeled the Martin Block and moved the department store there in 1894.

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Sioux City Brick and Tile Company


scbrickandtile1Brick and Tile manufacturing has been a very important part of Sioux City’s history. The earliest settlers in Sioux City and Woodbury County recognized the possibilities of rich clay deposits in the Loess Hills and started making brick and tile for many building projects. By 1890 there were seven brickyards in and around Sioux City producing tens of millions of bricks a year. In the early twentieth century the Sioux City Brick and Tile Company started operating in Sergeant Bluff and has been an integral part of the community since that time.

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Palmer Candy Company

The Palmer Candy name has been well known in Sioux City for over one hundred years. From a relatively small beginning in wholesale groceries, the company became the largest confectioner in Sioux City and one of the largest in Iowa. The company’s name is now recognized across the United States. Just as important, however, have been the actions of five generations of the Palmer family since their arrival in Sioux City in the late nineteenth century.
In 1878 Edward Cook Palmer moved to Sioux City from St. Joseph, Michigan. He hoped to reap the fortune of the quickly populating American West. Upon his arrival he purchased the wholesale grocery business of H.D. Booge, who was concentrating on plans of opening a large meatpacking plant in Sioux City. These early years were good for Palmer, who later sold this business to Tolerton and Warfield Wholesale Grocers in 1887. Palmer then entered into business with Riley J. Willey. Their partnership in the dry goods business was brief. 

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Aalfs Manufacturing Company

aalfs1From varnish and paint to glass and garments the Aalfs Manufacturing Company has been an important part of Sioux City since 1892. Though the business has undergone major changes in is past, Aalfs has long been a well-recognized name in the community. More than manufacturing, however, the Aalfs family has contributed both time and money to make Sioux City a better place for residents. 

Nittert Aalfs and his wife, Wilhelmina, moved to Sioux City in 1909 hoping to open a new wholesale house. Nittert already had a successful paint company in both LeMars and Fort Dodge, Iowa. Upon his move to Sioux City, Aalfs tried to expand his business by selling both wallpaper and paint. He had several customers; most were other Sioux City businesses. From this small start, though, he transformed Aalfs Paint and Glass Company into one of the largest distributors of paint and glass in the Midwest.


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