History 417 Oakland

Originally built in 1914 or 1915, Grace and Edward Duquette purchased this home at 417 Oakland Ave. in 1920. After serving during World War I, Edward Duquette was president and general manager of P.C. DeVol Hardware. In 1923, the Duquettes sold the house to Rose and Julius Katelman, owner of the Council Bluffs Junk Co., when Edward was named territorial sales manager forWashington and Oregon for Cole Maufacturing Co., a manufacturer of stoves and furnaces.

Medard Duquette, with whom this story begins, was born in Canada in 1835 and came to Council Bluffs in 1868. Medard and Matilda had five children: Edward, Charles, Hattie (Harriet), George and Harry.

Early city directories, not all of which are available, list 36 Fourth St. as the address for Duquette & Co. as well as the residence. The family business advertised “candy manufacturers, wholesale fruit.”

From 1876-1879, Duquette is also listed with August Louie: ice cream restaurant, confectioners, fruit, at 340 M. (Middle) Broadway.

From 1884-1885 and 1886, the listing was (Wirt and Duquette) Duquette 36 Fourth St., W.O. Wirt 716 Willow.

In 1889, the business was listed as M. Duquette (M. Duquette and Co.) 36 Fourth St., wholesale fruits, candy manufacture 347 W. Broadway.

After 1891, the business is listed as Duquette & Co. (Medard Duquette and John G. Woodward) wholesale confectioners 211-213 W. Broadway, 36 Fourth St.

In 1897 and 1899 the business address was listed as Medard Duquette (Duquette and Co.) 11 S. Main, 36 Fourth St.

Then Medard sold the business to John Woodward. Medard and Matilda moved to Chicago and, later, to Los Angeles where Matilda died in 1908 and Medard died in 1916. According to his obituary, he was the “founder of the first candy factory in the Missouri Valley which continued as the John G. Woodward Co. of Council Bluffs”.

Medard’s son, Edward, was born in 1873. After high school, he worked as bookkeeper for Cole & Co., served in WWI, then was general manager and president of P.C. DeVol Hardware.

In 1895, Edward married Grace Evans (from Missouri) in Council Bluffs. They had two children – Herbert (born in 1898) and Pauline (born in 1907).

In 1911, Grace and Edward built a house that still stands at 500 Glen Ave. In 1920, they sold the house and, also in 1920, purchased this home at 417 Oakland Ave. which — according to courthouse records — was apparently built c.1914 or 1915 and remodeled later.

The nomination of the Lincoln Fairview Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places wrote this about the house:

“The two-story Four Square style house has a two-story sunroom/sleeping porch ell on the south side. The hip roof has a wide eave overhang. The front door has a flat roof overhang with console brackets, and a segmental arched door and doorway on the front. Good integrity.”

In 1923, Edward became territorial sales manager for Cole Manufacturing Co., a manufacturer of stoves and furnaces, in Washington and Oregon. The Duquettes sold the house to Rose and Julius Katelman, owner of the Council Bluffs Junk Co.

The family, including Herbert and wife, Evelyn (Smith) and Pauline and husband Don Phillips and their families, relocated to Baltimore, Maryland. Edward L. Duquette died in Chicago in 1928.

Edward and Grace’s son, Herbert Evan Duquette, and grandson, Herbert Evan, Jr. (known as H. Evan Duquette) had impressive war records.

Herbert served in WWI and, in 1942, at age 45, registered for WWII. He served with the National Guard after the war and, eventually, earned the rank of Major General. His mother, Grace, died in 1953. According to her obituary, Harold was “Gen. Harold E. Duquette, working at the Pentagon.”

Herbert’s son, H. Evan Duquette (age 22), registered for the navy in 1942 and was listed as “student.” On Oct. 3, 1944, the Seabee News Service posted this notice:

“Eleven CEC officers and an undetermined number of Seabees were among the members of a Navy Combat Demolition Unit which has been awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for “daring and heroic” services during the invasion of Normandy.

“Landing with the first waves under heavy artillery, machine gun and sniper fire, and despite 53 percent casualties and the loss of most of their explosives, the Demolitioneers succeeded in blasting five landing lanes through the enemy obstructions and removing mines and other beach obstacles.

“In spite of the extremely high losses, 31 killed and 60 wounded, the remaining officers and men removed 85 percent of the German-placed traps in their assigned beachhead area in two days.”

Among the nine men receiving the citation was Ensign Herbert E. Duquette Jr.

The Duquette House at 417 Oakland Ave. will be among the decorated homes featured on the Holiday Homes Tour on Dec. 2.

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