A Brief History of the Zion Park Blanket.

A Guest Post

Today’s post is a guest post from Fred Coldwell, a traveler, collector and lecturer who is the unchallenged expert on Pendleton’s National Park blankets. Please enjoy his informative essay on the origins of the Zion Park blanket, which we reintroduced in a new coloration this year after a long hiatus from the line. All photos of the vintage versions are courtesy Fred Coldwell, taken from his personal collection. 

The introduction

The Zion Park blanket was introduced on September 1, 1926 in six body colors: straw, drab, white, camel hair, rose, and delft blue. Three rows of three character stripes appear at each end. Only one size was produced, 66” x 80”, using pure virgin wool filling on a cotton warp. Felt binding was sewn across both ends, and the Zion Park used the standard Pendleton blanket label for its time.

Here is a stunning example in Delft blue:

The 1926 debut version of the Pendleton Zion National Park blanket.

The colorful character stripes are, from the top down: white, rose, and drab; white, straw, and red; and white, rose and drab. Except for red, Zion Park blankets were available in all these other body colors.

A closer view of the stripes on the 1926 debut of the Pendleton Zion National Park blanket.

The Zion Park used a very thick fleece wool and white felt binding, both visible around its Pendleton copyright 1921 label used from 1921 to 1930:

embroidered label on 1926 version of the Pendleton National Park blanket.

The redesign

In 1929, the Zion Park blanket was redesigned to feature a thunderbird with a Hopi border top and bottom. Seven color combinations were available. Here’s a terra cotta bird on a brown body with a 1921-1930 Pendleton label:

The 1929 version of the Zion Park blanket, a thunderbird on a rust red background.

Back to stripes

The Zion Park disappeared in the 1930s but reappeared postwar with a new design, 5 color bands at each end with three very thin lines of body color at the outer edge of the outer bands. Here’s one in stone with a black center band that emulates a solar eclipse:

The 1940s stripe version of the Pendleton Zion National Park blanket.

The remnants of satin binding appear original to the blanket. The three thin lines of stone body color can barely be seen migrating into the outer straw band:

The corner of the 1940s version shows a blue and gold embroidered Pendleton label.

While retaining its stone body color, the Zion Park soon changed its 5 color bands to lighter pastels popular in the 1950s:

Shot of blanket with Pendleton cardboard tag still attached.

It was identified by its stapled card and wore a new gold label that did not otherwise distinguish it. Both the card and gold label now proclaim the Zion Park was made from 100% virgin wool. The color being given only as Zion National Park suggests the Zion Park came only in this one official color.

1950s Pendleton Zion Park blanket with cardboard tag and white and gold Pendleton label.

The pastel colors became slightly stronger over time, but once the card was removed the gold Pendleton label by itself makes the Zion Park difficult to identify, so one must memorize its color scheme.

1950s Pendleton Zion National Park blanket with satin binding.

In the 1960’s the Zion Park was also available in a small 64” x 43” throw with fringe along each side:

A Pendleton Zion National Park Zion blanket throw with a fringed edge from the 1960s.

The Woolmark logo (lower left) on the throw blanket’s label identifies it as made in around 1965 or later, when Pendleton began using the Woolmark to identify its 100% virgin wool blankets:

A closeup of the Pendleton blue and gold embroidered label on the 1960s Zion National Park throw.

Also in the 1960s overstitched binding replaced the satin. The three thin lines of the body color, which were always present but nearly impossible to see due to the faint colors, now became slightly more visible due to the mildly stronger colors:

A folded shot of the 1960s version, with stitched binding.

2020 release

The Zion Park was discontinued in 1966 and the name remained dormant until 2020. This year, the Zion Park rejoins the National Park blanket family with richer and deeper colors and, finally, its own National Park Blanket label featuring a mountain lion:

The label of the Zion National Park blanket by Pendleton.

The new 2020 Zion Park layout was inspired directly by the 1950s pastel version, but its colors were updated to reflect the landscape of the park itself. The three thin line design feature is now even more visible because of the contrasting brick red body and navy band colors. Why be subtle when you can be bold!

Thank you, Fred! The 2020 version of the Pendleton Zion National Park blanket can be seen here: Zion National Park, by Pendleton

Pendleton label with bald eagle: "Pendleton since 1863 Highest Quality Made in the USA."

 

 

 

 

Pendleton Blanket Coats – From the Archives

70 Years of Style

We’re looking forward to celebrating 70 Years of Style next week – a party that honors our womenswear line, providing classic American style to women for seven decades! We’ll be celebrating at the Pendleton store Portland, Oregon, on Friday, 9/6/19, with a party. And you’re invited. We’re breaking out some beautiful clothes from the Pendleton archives for the event, along with bites and sips, music, giveaways, prizes and more. Vintage clothes (especially Pendleton) are encouraged and will be rewarded!

The event details are here: Seven Decades of Style party

The Heritage Coat

Here’s one of the most exciting items in the line for Fall 2019 – the coat on the right.

two women wearing Pendleton blanket coats - to left, actress Anita Page, to right, brunette model wearing hat, jeans, Pendleton blanket coat

Yes, that’s right. The coat on the right is a modern revival of one of our most iconic pieces; the Harding blanket coat. Before there was an official women’s sportswear line, Pendleton produced coats sewn from wool fabric in several lengths and styles to meet the needs of snowshoers, skiiers, tobogganers, and movie stars like Anita Page, photographed in a similar coat in the 1930s.

Actress Anita Page in a Pendleton blanket coat circa 1920s

The photo is black and white, but it’s safe to say that this coat was sewn in the familiar Harding pattern coloration.

The Pendleton Archives

Our archives hold several blanket coats in the Harding pattern on our racks of vintage Pendleton garments, carefully cataloged and hung under white sheets to protect them from dust. Visitors wear white gloves when they handle these treasures, to protect fragile garments from the oils we all have on our hands.

The coat at the front of this “go-back” rack (waiting to be checked back in) is very similar to the coat worn by Anita Page. It’s a well-worn example, with mismatched buttons.archive-coat

Here’s another beautiful Harding pattern coat we call “the airplane coat.” 

The Pendleton "airplane" coat, a blanket coat in the Harding pattern in the Pendleton archives.

This label gave it its name–see the airplane in the lower left of the label?

This car coat was sewn for passengers to wear in open cockpit airplanes. This is also a Harding pattern. The strap-and-button details are charming.

Here’s the rack where both of these coats live in the archives. The “out” cards mark  the spots where other garments have been taken to our design area.

A group of vintage Pendleton blanket coats hanging together in the Pendleton archives. Yellow and pink pieces of paper calle d"out cards" are interspersed, showing where garments have been checked out of the archives for design inspiration.

See You At The Party!

We can’t wait to see what the designers come up with next–and we can’t wait to see you at the party! Come help us celebrate.

Reproduction of a postcard sent to invite people to the 70 Years of Style Celebration at Portland, Park Avenue West, on Firday, Spetember 6, 2019. Includes photos of Anita page in a Pendleton coat from the 1920s, and a modern shot of a model wearing the Heritage Coat from the 2019 Fall Pendleton line.

70 Years of Pendleton Womenswear – WOVEN magazine

cover of Pendleton magazine with actress Anita page in a Pendleton blanket coat circa 1930

We are celebrating seven decades of Pendleton Womenswear with a spectacular issue of WOVEN. Follow along the timeline of style and history, from from poodle skirts to power suits. You’ll love this look back at the styles, ads, and happenings of the day from 1949 through 2019. You’ll also get a sneak peak at the special collection for this fall, with garments drawn from our archives, like this coat on the back cover.

woman wearing hat and wool blanket coat by Pendleton

Read it online here: WOVEN – 70 years of Women’s Fashion

 

Before they were the Beach Boys, they were the Pendletones. This shirt is why.

CIRCA 1963: Photo of Beach Boys Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Pendletones

In the early 1960s, a group called The Pendletones adopted their name in honor of the surf uniform of the day: Pendleton shirts worn over tee shirts with khakis. The original lineup included brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine.

The Pendletones soon changed their name to the Beach Boys (learn more about them here: (the Beach Boys) Even though only one member of the group had ever been on a surfboard, they sang about the California surfing scene; waves, sunshine, cars and girls. This might have been simple subject matter, but layered instrumentation and soaring harmonies made these songs anything but simple. Under the unique artistic leadership of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys defined surf music. And though their name changed, their uniform didn’t. The band wore this blue and charcoal plaid shirt on the covers of 45s and LPs throughout the early 1960s.

Album covers by the Beach boys, for Surfin' Safari and Surfer Gilr. The Boys are wearing Pendleton Board Shirts.

Surf History

The Beach Boys’ Pendleton shirts were part an existing trend. When surfing came to California in the late 1950s, surfers devised performance wear: swim trunks and plaid Pendleton shirts over a layer of Vaseline. Surfers wore the same shirts over light pants on the shore, and a fashion trend was born.

The Majorettes

This look hit the radio airwaves courtesy of the Majorettes, whose song, “White Levis” became a number one hit in 1963. As the lyrics said, “My boyfriend’s always wearin’ white Levi’s…and his tennis shoes and his surfin’ hat and a big plaid Pendleton shirt.”

Record and cover for the 45 single of "White Levis" by the Majorettes. The cover shows a drawing of a young man wearing white Levi's and a plaid Pendleton shirt.

That’s a Pendleton shirt  cover of that 45, even though they named the song after the pants. You can give it a listen here, and don’t be surprised if you start singing along.  But let’s get back to the shirt made so popular by the Beach Boys.

An Icon Returns

In 2002, Pendleton celebrated eight decades of Pendleton shirts by bringing back iconic shirts from each decade. To celebrate the 1960s, we brought back the Board Shirt in the same plaid seen on all those record covers. We call it the Original Surf Plaid.

The shirt has stayed in the line ever since.

A young man stands next to an orange surfboard in front of a shingled wall. He is wearing a Pendleton Board Shirt in the Original Surf Plaid made famous by The Beach Boys.

Photo Joel Bear

We’ve used it in caps, hats, bags and jackets. It’s still made in the original 100% virgin Umatilla wool as it was back then.

A man kneels in his driveway in front of a motorcycle, with is arm around a white fluffy dog. he is wearing a Pendleton Board Shirt in Original Surf Plaid.

Photo Cassy Berry

There’s some discussion now and then in Pendleton’s Menswear division about which is our most enduring men’s item of all time. Some say it’s the Topster, the shirt jacket that defined collegiate wear in the 1950s and 60s. Some say it’s the Original Westerley cardigan worn by the Dude in “The Big Lebowski.”

Musician Ben Jaffe leans against a cedarwood wall. He is wearing a Pendleton Board Shirt in Original Surf Plaid.

Photo Ben Jaffe, styling Suzanne Santo

Others claim the honor for the Board Shirt. We’ll let you decide.

A young man leans against a rusted orange camper. he is wearing a Pendleton Board Shirt in Original Surf Plaid.

Photo Travis Hallmark

No matter where you are, or what’s the weather, this piece of the sunny California surf scene will take you to the waves.

A woman and a man wear Pendleton Board Shirts in Original Surf Plaid.

A Gift to Honor: Pendleton Blankets and U.S. Presidents

Archival Post

In honor of Presents’ Day, please enjoy this guest post by Pendleton’s Archivist and Historian, Richard Hobbs. Mr. Hobbs wishes to thank Verna Ashton for her research assistance for this article.

 

“Gifting to politicians is basically about status and respect.”

— Robert Christnacht

 

At Pendleton Woolen Mills, “robe” is both a noun and a verb.  And, it’s no accident.

A Tradition

Giving a Pendleton blanket to a family member, friend, or distinguished person—for example, a U. S. President—is a powerful symbol that carries a wealth of history and tradition.  “It is the ultimate in showing respect,” notes Bob Christnacht, EVP Sales and Marketing.

Pendleton has been producing beautiful wool blankets for Native Americans (and others, of course) since 1909.  Two of the distinctive features of the company’s culture interwoven throughout its history are our alliance with Native American tribes, and our unwavering commitment to making premium quality merchandise.

Robing

For tribal members, the custom of “robing” may be used to mark an important event, to Honor a dignitary, or to recognize a significant achievement in one’s life.  At the most elemental level, it represents a gift that has life-sustaining properties.  The custom attracted media attention in 2016 at the White House-sponsored National Congress of American Indians when President of the Congress, Brian Cladoosby, emphasized, “To blanket is to remember those we honor, those we lost, and those who are going to build our futures.”

Robing with Pendleton Blankets

For nearly a century, various tribes have occasionally honored a visiting President (and sometimes First Lady) with one of Pendleton’s fine “Warranted To Be …” blankets.  “Gifting to politicians,” says Christnacht, “is basically about status and respect.”

For Pendleton, the custom began in 1923 when local tribes presented President Warren G. and Mrs. Florence Harding with the special “Harding” shawl, named in honor of the First Lady, at the dedication of the Oregon Trail marker in Meacham, Oregon.  Presidents and First Ladies robed since then include Calvin Coolidge (1925; he was also adopted into the Osage tribe), Herbert Hoover (1930), Eleanor Roosevelt (1941), Harry Truman (1950), Dwight Eisenhower (1954), Barbara Bush (1992), Bill Clinton (2000), George Bush, Sr. (2005), Laura Bush (2005), Barack Obama (2016) and Michelle Obama (2016).

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt accepts a Pendleton blanket (about 1941).

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt accepts a Pendleton blanket (about 1941).

President Harry Truman receives a “Chief Joseph” blanket while on tour in Pendleton, Oregon, 1950.

President Harry Truman receives a “Chief Joseph” blanket while on tour in Pendleton, Oregon, 1950.

President Dwight Eisenhower accepts a “Harding” blanket during the dedication  ceremony for McNary Dam in eastern Oregon, 1954

President Dwight Eisenhower accepts a “Harding” blanket during the dedication  ceremony for McNary Dam in eastern Oregon, 1954

 

President Bill Clinton shows off the “White Buffalo Calf Woman” blanket he received at the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Nebraska, 2000.

President Bill Clinton shows off the “White Buffalo Calf Woman” blanket he received at the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Nebraska, 2000.

 

President Barack Obama is wrapped in a custom tribal robe, woven for the Swinomish Tribe, at the Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C., 2016.

President Barack Obama is wrapped in a custom tribal robe, woven for the Swinomish Tribe, at the Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C., 2016.

 

First Lady Michelle Obama is robed with a “Chief Joseph” blanket at Santa Fe Indian School, 2016

First Lady Michelle Obama is robed with a “Chief Joseph” blanket at Santa Fe Indian School, 2016

Pendleton Fabric Expertise – A Story of Generations

A Century of Weaving

Pendleton textiles are renowned for their quality, beauty and craftsmanship. Where did we learn to make fabric like this? Our expertise is generational, earned over a century of weaving in America.

The Beginning

The company known today as Pendleton Woolen Mills actually had its genesis in one mill; the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill in Salem, Oregon, founded by Thomas Kay, a master weaver from England.

A photo of the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill in Salem, Orebon. This 2.5 story building is red brick with rows of white-trimmed windows.

Thomas Kay brought extensive knowledge to his own mill, after a career that started in his childhood as a bobbin boy, and grew into management of large mills in the UK and the US before he finally opened his own. He specialized in fabrics for tailoring, and produced the first bolt of worsted wool west of the Mississippi.

The Next Generation

His daughter, Fannie Kay, became her father’s protégé in her teen years. She learned weaving and mill management at her father’s side. Fannie Kay became Fannie Bishop upon her marriage to Charles P. Bishop, a prominent Salem merchant. Their three sons opened the Pendleton Woolen Mill in Pendleton, Oregon, in 1909. That mill is still running today! The Kay/Bishop history extends through today’s Pendleton. The Bishop family still owns and operates Pendleton Woolen Mills. And Pendleton’s fabric expertise grows each year, as we challenge ourselves to do more with wool.

Today’s Mills

Fabric weaving was once a major industry in the United States, with more than 800 mills in operation. Today only a handful of those mills remain.  Our facilities in Pendleton, Oregon, and Washougal, Washington, are two of the very few woolen mills still operating in North America.

Pendleton, Oregon

This photo is a vintage postcard image of the Pendleton, Oregon woolen mill. The building is grey brick, with rows of windows trimmed in white, and large front doors on the first, second and third floors at the front of the building.

The Pendleton, Oregon mill opened in 1909, taking over a defunct wool-scouring plant on the banks of the Columbia River and transforming it into a full mill under the direction of Clarence, Roy and Chauncey Bishop. The location had been scouted by Fannie Kay Bishop, who encouraged her sons to make use of the existing building, the nearby Columbia River, and the supply of high quality wool fleece available from local sheep ranchers.

The company’s original products were wool blankets for Native American customers. Today, the Pendleton mill is open for tours. Travelers can watch those world-famous blankets being woven on two-story looms.

Washougal, Washington

Our Washougal facility sits on the banks of the Columbia River at the entry to the scenic Columbia River Gorge. The Washougal community helped fund the startup of this mill in 1912, and it has been a major employer in this small Washington town ever since.

A vintage sepia-toned photo of the Washougal woolen mill owned by Pendleton Woolen Mills. The mill is two stories tall and in the photo, it is dwarfed by two water towers.

The additional mill gave Pendleton the ability to weave a wider variety of fabrics.

AirLoom Merino (found in our Sir Pendleton shirts) and Umatilla woolen fabric (found in so many of our flannel shirt styles) are both woven in Washougal, as well as fabrics for the women’s line.

Its roots may be historic, but the Washougal mill is a 300,000-square-foot model of modern efficiency. Mill owners come from around the world to tour it, and to learn about Pendleton’s weaving techniques, dyeing processes, and fabric finishing.

The Fabrics

Pendleton Woolen Mills has maintained the quality and craftsmanship of its textiles through decade upon decade of manufacturing in its own facilities. This allows us to maintain quality control from start to finish, from fleece to fashion. Our state-of-the-art computer dyeing technology controls water, dyes, heat, and more. Carding machines, looms and finishing processes are also computer-controlled, allowing for minute adjustments to guarantee uniformity of weave, weight and hand.

Eleven different Pendleton woolen fabrics in a line, showing the different weights and patterns woven on the Pendleton looms.

We can perfect it because we control it, and it shows in our fabrics. We will be exploring some of those special fabrics in the months to come. We hope you’ll follow along.

PWM_USA_label

Answering Questions about Pendleton

The original (and current) Pendleton WOolen Mill in Pendleton, Oregon.

Claims and Questions

Thanks to our friends who have brought some claims circulating on social media to our attention. We owe an enormous debt of respect and gratitude to the Native Americans and First Nations people who choose our blankets, and care deeply about this relationship. We understand that it’s important to speak the truth.

Our Mills

Pendleton’s mills are our pride and joy, and both are well over a century old. Keeping them updated is a priority and a challenge, but we think it’s worth it to keep weaving in the USA. Our mills are subject to inspections, and when problems are identified, we take immediate action to resolve them. We have earned third-party certification for sustainability (read more here), and our management is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees.

Political Donations

We respect the right of current and former employees to make political donations to candidates they personally support. These donations are not endorsements by Pendleton.

Pattern Origins

Pendleton supports the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We make our blankets for Native Americans, but we don’t claim our products are made by them. Our company’s history is always part of our marketing and sales materials, and is available on our website.

Pendleton blanket patterns are developed by in-house designers. Some are based on historic designs created to serve the Native American market. Blanket stories, told on hangtags and on the website, credit the inspirations and traditions behind the patterns. We also commission Native American artists to create designs, and adapt existing artwork (usually paintings) into blankets. These artists are always compensated and credited by name for their work. You can learn more here: Native artists.

Pendleton is proud to support organizations that serve Native Americans, veterans and America’s National Parks. Our relationship with The American Indian College Fund spans more than twenty years, and our endowment to the College Fund provides scholarships for Native American students. Pendleton also makes annual donations to NARA (Native American Rehabilitation Center) to support outreach and health care for Native American women.

In 1909, Pendleton was one of many mills producing wool blankets for Native Americans. Now, over a hundred years later, we are the only mill still weaving wool blankets for Native Americans here in the USA. Native Americans were our first, and are still our most valued customers. Thanks to everyone who has written in support of our shared history and friendship.

We hope we have answered your questions, but if you have more concerns, please write to us at PendletonWM@penmills.com and we will respond. We are listening.

Pendleton logo label that shows a drawing of a bald eagle, and the words: "Pendleton since 1863 Highest Quality Made in the USA." This blanket is sewn onto all Pendleton's traditional wool blankets, which are still 00% made in the USA.

Greg Hatten guest post – Buell Blankets and the St. Joseph Museum

A guest post!

Today’s post is from our friend Greg Hatten, of WoodenBoat adventure fame. Greg has always been interested in our Buell blankets (all retired, but one is still available), which were part of our Mill Tribute Series. Greg decided to find out some information on the original Buell blankets at the source; his hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. Enjoy this visit, and if you’re interested in our Mill Tribute series blankets, links to our previous posts are below.

Buell-2-table

Buell Blankets Headed West

St. Joseph, Missouri is my hometown. It’s a dreamy little river town that started out as a trading post on the banks of the Missouri and quickly became a launching pad for pioneers headed west to Oregon and California in the mid 1800’s. Some historians estimate that 250,000 settlers made the trek by wagon and on foot between 1850 and 1900. Most of those trips started in St. Joseph or Independence – where final provisions for the 5 month journey were acquired before embarking on the grand westward adventure that started by crossing the Midwestern prairie. Many were leaving for the rest of their lives.

Provisions and Provender

Wool blankets were on the provisions list of every trip – for sleeping and trading with Native Americans along the way. In St. Joseph, the Buell Woolen Mill was the primary source for blankets headed west. Known for quality over quantity, the blankets were strikingly colorful and many designs were based on patterns used by different Native tribes in paintings and beadwork out west. They were prized by the pioneers and Native Americans alike.

Buell-2-slide

As stated in the 1910 Buell Catalog:

Missouri ranks up with the first in the production of good staple wools, and the surrounding states produce a quality almost equal. We buy the choicest lots, have first pick, and train our buyers to get the best… We obtain the best dyes possible that we may produce the required fastness of color, and many beautiful shades and combinations which have made Buell…Blankets the handsomest, most desirable line in the world.

A Visit to the Buell Museum

As I packed for my most recent trip west to run Wild and Scenic Rivers in a wooden boat, a friend of mine asked if I had seen the small collection of Buell blankets at the St. Joseph museum.  I hadn’t – so I made a call to Sara Wilson, Director of the Museum, who is as enthusiastic about blankets as I am about wooden boats and canvas and wool camping.

The next day I visited Sara and watched as she put on cotton gloves, opened a box, carefully lifted out two colorful Buell blankets from the early 1900’s and spread them on the wooden table. Her reverence for these artifacts was touching as she pointed out the tri-colors , the double weave, and the attention to detail that made these blankets so special. I immediately enlisted in her small band of “blanket historians” trying to preserve, protect, and expand the Buell collection in St. Joseph.

Buell-1-table

Setting Out Again

Back home on Lovers Lane, I readied my wooden boat and packed my Land Cruiser for the trip to Idaho across the plains of Nebraska. Among other things, my provisions list included wool blankets from Pendleton Woolen Mills. For my river adventure on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in the Frank Church Wilderness, I chose two blankets to take – a utilitarian camp blanket in slate gray and a colorful Chief Joseph blanket for more dramatic photos of canvas and wool sleeping beside the “River of No Return.”

Greg_hatten_packed_rig

Pendleton Blankets

My friends at Pendleton have always spoken of the Buell blankets with the utmost admiration. Pendleton’s  wool blankets have been a part of every adventure I’ve undertaken in the past 15 years. It was pretty amazing to learn about this little thread of blanket history running through the backyard of my home town as I prepared for the first in a series of adventures featuring wood boats and wool blankets on Wild and Scenic Rivers.

 

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If you have a Buell Blanket, images of a Buell Blanket, or a personal story about Buell Blankets, please contact my friend and blanket enthusiast, Sara Wilson, Director of the St. Joseph Museum. You can email her at  sara@stjosephmuseum.org

Thanks, Greg! We hope some beautiful Buells make their way to the museum. And for those of you who would like to read more about the Pendleton series that pays tribute to these blankets, here are the links:

Mill Tribute Series: Buell

Mill Tribute Series: Capp

Mill Tribute Series: Oregon City

Mill Tribute Series: Racine

The History of Pendleton at Seaside, Oregon – From 1910 to 2018

Pendleton in Seaside

Seaside_store

Circa 1915  – A bunting-draped storefront celebrates the Fourth of July.

We’re excited about the Grand Re-Opening of our Seaside, Oregon Pendleton store this June–June 15th to be exact. But did you know that Pendleton Woolen Mills opened its first retail operation in Seaside, Oregon, in June of 1910?

The store, our very first, was open for “the season”: June through August. Young Chauncey Bishop oversaw the bustling operation that featured an array of products from the mill. From 1912 – 1918, The Pendleton Store continued under the supervision of D. E. Bowman. In 1919, management passed to Walter Jackson, an ailing office manager at the Pendleton Mill. Jackson and his wife ran the store for only one season before he passed away. His wife, Effie Jackson, ran the store ably through the summer of 1920, but elected to stay home with her son when it was time to open the store for business in 1921.

The Seaside Pendleton Store continued to prosper throughout the Roaring Twenties. It closed in 1928. In 2007, Pendleton opened again at Seaside. The current store is located at 1111 N. Roosevelt Drive, #410, Seaside, Oregon, 97138. You can call 503-717-1692 for hours. We’ve just given the interior a new look. Visit us soon to see it all, and to enjoy Seaside the town, the last stop of the Lewis and Clark Trail.

A Little More History

Trips to the Pendleton Archives always yield something of interest, as far as company history. This letter from Fannie Kay Bishop to her sons Clarence and Roy showed her keen interest in Pendleton Woolen Mill’s new retail operation in Seaside, Oregon.

Fannie-Kay-n.d

Fannie Kay Bishop and her son Roy

Fannie Kay was her father’s protégé, and learned about the wool business by his side while he ran the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill in Salem, Oregon. Of her siblings, she was by far the most interested and knowledgeable about the wool trade, but upon her father’s death, the business was left to her brothers. She turned her considerable energies to the raising of her sons. But it was Fannie Kay who saw the possibilities in a shuttered mill in Pendleton, Oregon, and who urged her sons to re-open it to found Pendleton Woolen Mills. Without her, there would be no Pendleton Woolen Mills!

In the following letter, Fannie Kay was discussing the Seaside operation with her sons, Roy and Clarence. The “exhibitions” she referred to were exhibitions at the coming 1911 centennial of Astoria, Oregon. The “Bowman” to whom she referred was D.E. Bowman, a PWM salesman who oversaw the store opening.

To quote, “Bowman has the goods arranged very nicely.  The front windows are not in yet. I suppose they they (sic) will arrive from Portland today. I hope he will do a good business.” She needn’t have worried. The store, open each summer between 1910 and 1928, did a booming trade in Pendleton goods.

Gearhart Park, Oregon

July 12, 1911

My dears Clarence and Roy,

I came up here today to attend the Chattaqua and meet your father on the 10:45 train. I received a letter from him yesterday stating he would be in Portland on the 12:30 pm train. I wrote for him to come down this evening. He could leave Portland at 6:15. I hope he will come. I want to see him so much.

Bowman* has the goods arranged very nicely.  The front windows are not in yet. I suppose they they (sic) will arrive from Portland today. I hope he will do a good business. But the season is very late. Yesterday and today have been bright and warm.

I want to see you so very very much. And hear all about your trip and what you think of conditions. Write to Grandmother Kay – she is quite feeble and often speaks of you boys and wants you to write. I am real well here. Your father and I will go to Astoria next week and make what arrangements are necessary for the exhibitions**.

I received a nice letter from Ruth today and will send it.

I hope that you boys are well – be careful to not get overheated. Take things reasonable easy.

With much love to both –

Affectionately,

Mother

Today in Seaside

We hope you’ll come visit the new Seaside store, where graphics and a timeline go into the shared history of Pendleton and Seaside in more depth. The town sits at the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail. You can feel the history all around you, and since Seaside began as a resort, what you feel is the history of fun.  The Natatorium is no more–the waters of the Oregon coast are so cold that an indoor swimming pool was a huge draw–but the town is full of things to do, like the Seaside Aquarium, the Carousel Mall, Bumper Cars, and the historic Funland Arcade.

Historic Photos of Seaside, Oregon Pendleton

Here are a few images of the old Seaside–come see the new one for yourself!

Circa 1911 –A cozy counter display of Pendleton blankets, steamer rugs (fringed throws), wool socks and men’s hunting jacket.

Circa 1911 –A cozy counter display of Pendleton blankets, steamer rugs (fringed throws), wool socks and men’s hunting jacket.

Seaside_b&w_2

Circa 1911 – Serape-draped tables hold stacks of colorful trade blankets. At rear of store, note the rack of blanket-weight lounging robes for cool coastal evenings.

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Circa 1911 – An interior view of the store features blanket-draped daybeds. The blanket in the center of the photo was brought back as the Saguaro Blanket in our Heritage Collection, and again as a Muchacho blanket in three colors. All are currently retired.

Seaside_b&wCirca 1911 – Note the rack of wool skeins and basket of knitting needles and crochet hooks. All floor rugs and fringed rugs are Native American weavings.

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Seaside postcard – A hand-tinted version of the photo above was transformed into a postcard that helped tourists commemorate their visit to the Seaside Pendleton Store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into the Archives: Rare Photos of the Pendleton Disneyland Store

A photo from the Pendleton archives of the Pendleton store in Disneyland: Front window

Archival Treasures

The Pendleton archives hold a lot of history, some of it dating back to our founder’s opening of his own mill in 1863. Some of the most delightful history comes from our association with Disney, which stretches back to the opening of Disneyland in 1955. So here is a peek at these very special archival materials.

We were sent a personal invitation:

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It’s hard to imagine a time when Disneyland wasn’t a household name worldwide, isn’t it? But we have another letter from our company president, Mort Bishop, referring to an “attached brochure” that explains the Disneyland park. And the letter makes it quite clear that the Pendleton location’s primary function was an exhibit, rather than a store.

So courtesy of photos in our archives, let us take you on a tour of the Pendleton Dry Goods Emporium, as it was called on opening day.

Archival Photos

Excited visitors entered Frontierland for a taste of the Old West.

A photo from the Pendleton archives of the Pendleton store in Disneyland: entrance near the Frontierland gate

And there we were, complete with comfortable benches for whittlers (spittoons are notably absent).

A photo from the Pendleton archives of the Pendleton store in Disneyland: Storefront, the Pendleton Dry Goods Emporium

We proudly displayed the World’s largest Champion Buckle in our window. This was before wrestling belts eclipsed western buckles, of course.

A photo from the Pendleton archives of the Pendleton store in Disneyland: Side window display featuring the Wold's Biggest Cowboy Buckle

Inside the Store

Western wear was a staple of the store. And cowboys were shopping!

A photo from the Pendleton archives of the Pendleton store in Disneyland: Interior, blanket counter

We didn’t just offer western clothing, of course. Pendleton’s famed Turnabout Reversible Skirt and the women’s 49’er Jacket were big hits here.

A photo from the Pendleton archives of the Pendleton store in Disneyland: Women's clothes with reversible skirts

We also sold blankets, boots, hats…

A photo from the Pendleton archives of the Pendleton store in Disneyland: Blanket counter and shirt shelves, with stairway to second floor

…and Levi’s jeans! Pendleton and Levi’s have an association that goes way back. We were both part of the original surfer’s uniform in the Southern California surf scene of the early 1960s. And we’ve done at least four collaborations in the 2000s.

A photo from the Pendleton archives of the Pendleton store in Disneyland: Display with Topster jacket and Levi's

So many Disneyland guest remember visits to the Pendleton Dry Goods Emporium as part of family vacations.

A photo from the Pendleton archives of the Pendleton store in Disneyland: A woman and two gentlemen shopping.

A Special Label

Some of the merchandise at this store carried a special label featuring the iconic Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

A close view of the special label for Pendleton goods at Disneyland

You can read more about our Disney connection: Pendleton and Disneyland: We Go Way back!