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Disneyland and Pendleton Woolen Mills: Happy Birthday, Pardner.

Disneyland is 60 years old this year! Who can believe it?

The history of Pendleton Woolen Mills and Disney began when Walt Disney extended a personal invitation to be retail partners in the Park. Mr. Disney was a fan of Pendleton’s “fleece to fashion” vertical manufacturing, which at the time included ownership of our own flocks and scouring facilities. He saw a fit for us in Frontierland as part of his vision of America’s Wild West.

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frontierland2We were more than excited to be part of Disneyland. Pendleton established a ‘Dry Goods Emporium’ that opened for business right along with the rest of the park on April 17, 1955.

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photo courtesy of daveland.web.com

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The store was a rustic wonderland of Pendleton’s woolen products, along with belts, wallets, hats, and other Western-themed merchandise.

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Much of the clothing sold in Disneyland had its own special labeling that featured the spires of Cinderella’s castle.

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It seems that a new plaid Pendleton shirt was part of the vacation for many young men in America, and the store set a record for sales of Turnabout reversible skirts in the late fifties. Our Disneyland store was phenomenally successful. We had a unique way to share the bounty of the Disneyland store’s sales. Visitors were asked for their postal codes, and credit for the purchase was awarded to their nearest Pendleton store back home.

It’s said that the family that plays together stays together. Well, what does a family who plaids together do? Whatever it is, this family from 1963 is doing it in Pendleton style.

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Holiday_Magazine_Oct_65_Pendleton_11963 was the year that Clarence M. Bishop took his own Gold Ticket tour of Disneyland. The Bishop family is a hardworking bunch, and when they vacation, they tend to gravitate towards places where they can ride or fish. But Mr. Bishop had a great time in Anaheim, according to all reports.

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pendispc1(Please note, these are models, not members of the Bishop family, no matter what the ad campaign says)

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Photo courtesy of Regions Beyond

We’re glad that a trip to the old store remains a favorite memory of so many of Disneyland’s long-time guests. We have been asked, “What happened?” by Disney guests who remember our store with nostalgia. The partnership dissolved amicably when the Disneyland Resort shifted their merchandising focus to more Disney-oriented goods. The store closed in April of 1990. Today, the Bonanza Emporium does carry some Pendleton merchandise, as does Ramone’s House of Body Art.

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In our Heritage Hallway, you can find a framed letter from Walt Disney about the partnership, and a small bronze of Jiminy Cricket. The letter came to invite us to the official press and television premiere on July 17th, 1955.

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The bronze was a gift to us from Disney.

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Jiminy stands on a matchbox wearing a medallion that says, simply, “30.”

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The statue’s inscription reads: “PENDLETON WOOLEN MILLS in commemoration and appreciation of 30 years of association with DISNEYLAND 1955-1985”

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We’re proud of our history with Disneyland, and want to say Happy 60th Birthday to our friends there, and thanks to all the guests who made us part of their visit.

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