Iowa Century Businesses

transcribed and donated by Sheryl Ferrall

Polk County, Iowa

Central Life Assurance Society of Iowa, est. 1896, in Des Moines by George Breckenridge Peak.  The company is now know as the AmerUs Group. 

Burget Mill, est. by George Burget in 1894, was a mule-driven stone grinding mill.  Today the Altoona mill produces horse feeds and is run by George's g-grandson.

— The 'Iowa Star' was first published from a log cabin near the junction of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers.  The original publisher was Barlow Granger and the year was 1849.  The paper was "decidedly and radically democratic.. responsible to no party, sect, creed or clique".  In 1915, the paper was renamed "The Des Moines Register"

— W. A. Rutledge founded the Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Association with a small collective of Iowa farmers in 1893.  The Des Moines company is now called Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa.

First Bank, est. in 1901, by Joseph W. Mullane in Valley Junction.  The bank is now located in West Des Moines

Jester Insurance was founded in 1897 by Joshua Jester, a legislator hailing from Greene county.  The company is located on the corner of Locust and East Fifth Street in Des Moines and is currently owned and managed by the 4th generation of Jester's.

'Successful Farming' magazine was first published by Edwin Thomas Meredith in 1902.  Meredith Corporation in Des Moines now publishes 17 subscription magazines.

Bankers Life Association was opened in 1879 by Edward Temple.  The name was changed to The Principal Financial Group in 1985.

Des Moines Edison Light and Power was founded in 1885.  The company is now known as MidAmerican Energy Holdings company.

— Charles H. Weitz established a carpentry shop in Des Moines in 1855.  The Weitz Company has been owned by 4 generations of the Weitz family.

— Solomon Joseph started a watch business in Des Moines in 1871.  The family-owned business is known as S. Joseph & Son, Inc. 



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