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My words and photographs are copyrighted, and may not be used without permission, even on Pinterest.

~ Kathy M.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

J.W. Quackenbush's Hardware Store, Eugene OR:

This week's Sepia Saturday  photo prompt shows dishes and pans in the the royal kitchen at Windsor Castle (1878), but when I first saw it I thought it was a picture of a department store.  That reminded me of the neatest store that was in Eugene for decades, the J.W. Quackenbush Hardware Store.  This week's story will be woven from one thing to another until we end up at Quackenbush's. 

Around the time that Quackenbush's was opening and gaining clientele in Eugene, my Great Granny, Talitha Letsom was living in Yoncalla, Oregon, 40 miles away.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

These pictures are of the Letsom Home, near Yoncalla in a spot later known as Elkhead, Oregon:

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

One day, Litha received a postcard from her friend Pearl.  The postcard is an advertisement for a department store in Spokane, Washington:

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Granny was later married to Ben, and had baby John in 1909, so this card was sent sometime prior to all of that, but when she was old enough to have beaus.  There is no date or postmark, dang it.

Pearl writes, "Hello Litha.  How are you making it by this time?  You're well and happy I suppose?  How many different fellows have you on the string?  I'm having a very jolly time.  From Pearl"

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Perhaps when she was not shopping at The Waldorf,  Pearl visited the waterfalls during her time in Spokane.  This postcard was sent to Talitha's father, John Letsom in 1907, though we don't know from who:

  Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

And, it is likely that every once in awhile, young Miss Litha Letsom would catch the train from the station in nearby Drain, and travel into Eugene for a day of shopping ...

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

If I were Granny, I would head straight downtown for a cool hardware store and more: Quackenbush's.  I found the article below online, from the Lane County Historian, a publication of the Lane County Historical Society.  It was published in 1972, and gives us a history of that neat place that I was later riding my bike to in the 70's with my junior high friends to enjoy for myself:

  Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

  Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

  Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Lucky for me, there are even some dishes shown on page 79!  So, there, I am on theme after all.  

I was surprised that it was not very easy to find out information about this store, especially pictures of the inside. I spent hours searching around, and if anybody out there knows of some, please let me know.  Here is a link to the newspaper article on the store's 50th anniversary celebration:  "CLICK HERE to read the article."

The store was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1982.  In this link to the application for being listed, you will find a comprehensive report on the building and history on the Quackenbush Family.  "CLICK HERE to read that 17 page report."

At print time, I don't even know when the business officially closed down.  The building is currently Ambrosia Restaurant, a used book store, boutiques and more and looks like this:


Below are some You Tube videos about early Eugene, if you would like to check them out, they are pretty interesting.

Thank you so much for your visit today, and I hope that you enjoyed the show!

~ Kathy M. 

So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories.  To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar and read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

This is also an "I Dream of Eugene" post.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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barbara and nancy said...

What an interesting post. Love the stories about the old hardware store. Also enjoyed the videos about Eugene. Since my ex husband was a runner, I enjoyed the info about "Pre".

Little Nell said...

That’s a great name - Quackenbush. I’ve never heard it before. Once again a lovely story pulled from your archives. Interesting to see the store site is still in use.

Wendy said...

There is a street named Quackenbush where I grew up. It's a fun name to say. QUACKenbush. I enjoyed this post and how you pictured life in the day with the post card, etc. Very clever.

Postcardy said...

I wish I could go shopping in the old store as it was back then.

Alan Burnett said...

Another wonderful installment. You weave together family history, old images and stories in such a creative and informative way.

Brett Payne said...

The Letsom House looks remarkably well preserved.

Bob Scotney said...

With a name like Quackenbush I was looking for some photos of ducks. The thing that couaght me eye amongst all your fascinating detail was that overhead change carrier. I remember one like that in Stamford, England - the town where I went to school. I stood and watched it for hours.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I see exactly why you thought the prompt picture was a department store. Great story and post!

Karen S. said...

I have to laugh at her question, How many fellows have you on a string! What an amazing story, and wonderful photos you pulled from your treasure! I too rather like that name Quackenbush it would make a perfect children's book! Great post again, thanks!

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Great post and right on theme. I can remember when I first saw a machine like the change maker in a department store in the city. The clerk put the money into the tube and it was somehow sucked up several floors and no money was kept on the sales floor.That was back in the late 50's. I see them used at drive in banking locations now.

Tattered and Lost said...

That is such a wonderfully haunted looking house. Most likely haunted with memories and not ghosts.

Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

What a wonderful story and pictures of the old hardware store. I always love looking at the stores and proprietors of old. So much different from today. I particularly enjoyed the advertisement from the Wonder Department Store.

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