Carr, Adams and Collier/Caradco, 1945 to 1977, Maintenance, Millwright
I had a lot of family working at Caradco. Well, my grandfather, Charlie Fluhr worked here. He did scroll work. My dad, Joe Fluhr, was a knife grinder and set-up man. And then my Uncle Ozzie, he was a superintendent. He was over all maintenance—the head honcho. When I started at Caradco, they were all here. Then my brother, Dave, started later.
When I first started I was in high school yet—I worked in the summer. That was in ’45. I had to be about sixteen. I was down under the cutting room in what they called “the racks.” The lumber would come down a conveyer belt and drop in certain areas and you had to keep taking them off and sort the different lengths, then pile them on that truck. I worked that for one summer. It wasn’t a very good job.
I started full-time in 1947. I was just a helper then, but after that, oh god, I run a ton of machines—a lot of them. Then I bid and went into mechanical work taking care of all the vehicles, and from there I went into millwright work.
I’ll tell you one thing about working at Caradco, it was the best damn place I ever worked. As far as getting along with people, criminy, it was just like a family. No problems.
Millwork was about all there was for jobs in Dubuque ‘til Deere’s come in. Boy, there were a lot of them: Metz’s, Farley’s, Carr’s … there was more than that too. There was a little one down under the bridge—I can’t remember what that was called. But what always got me—it seems like now Dubuque does a lot to keep businesses, but in them days when they started closing, like with Farley’s, they didn’t try to keep them or nothing. They just let ‘em go. One of the reasons they gave for closing up Caradco in Dubuque was that the buildings were condemned. And here they are, still standing.