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Boats-n-Buggies: 1940

Boats-n-Buggies: 1940

April 1940. "Abandoned boat along Mississippi River waterfront. Dubuque, Iowa." Photobomb by the A.A. Cooper Wagon & Buggy Co. Acetate negative by John Vachon. View full size.


Missed the turn of the century

In the late 19th century, the A.A. Cooper Wagon & Buggy Co. was the largest business in Dubuque, and its operations consumed 27 acres in the city (including a levee warehouse). Henry Ford came to Dubuque in an effort to convince A.A. Cooper to build chassis for automobiles. Cooper declined, and stubbornly stayed out of the auto business. The company's final work was making wagons for use by the U.S. Army during World War I. By then, Cooper had conveyed his stock to his sons (and daughters, who conveyed it to their brothers) but his sons gave too little heed to two other 20th century changes - the income tax and excess profits tax. A dubious report that Cooper died penniless led a granddaughter to obtain a new executor's appointment. In 1923 a federal jury found the sons guilty of violating federal tax laws. In 1927 the sons settled with the feds after reversing their convictions, before their retrial would have begun.

Mussel memory

Could this be one of the boats used to collect mussels for button making in eastern Iowa? Button making was a big industry along the Mississippi from about 1890 to 1950.

Logo placement FTW

Welcome aboard the bonny vessel Shorpy. We'd sail with you anywhere, Dave.

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