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:

letter-from-walt

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!

 

Pendleton and Disneyland: We Go Way Back!

A line of models in the 1980s, posed in front of the Pendleton store in Frontierland. They are all wearing Pendleton clothing, and holding hands, with Mickey Mouse in the center of the line.

The history of Pendleton Woolen Mills and Disneyland

It all began when Walt Disney extended a personal invitation to be retail partners in the Park. Walt 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.

Happy guests at the wooden stockade gate to Frontierland in Disneyland, circa 1960

A brochure for Frontierland at Disneyland.

The Dry Goods Emporium

We 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 July 17, 1955.

Disneyland guests outside the Pendleton Woolen Mills Dry Goods Emporium in Frontierland.

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

Pendleton's Frontierland store in the late 1960s.

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

A collage of Pendleton labels that feature the spires of Cinderella's castle and these words: Pendleton WOolen Mills Disneyland (r)alt Disney Productions Frontierland exhibit." This is a special label for products sold at the Pendleton DIsneyland store.

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 zipcodes, and credit for the purchase was awarded to their nearest Pendleton store back home.

Stationery letterhead for Pendleton WOolen Mills that features a drawing of the Pendleton store in Frontierland.

 

More advertising

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.

An ad from 1965 featuring a family of four, all wearing the same blue Pendleton plaid.

A 1965 Pendleton ad featruring various family members dressed alike in Pendleton plaids.1963 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.

A photo of the 1965 "Gold Pass" issued to Clarence M. Bishop and party of five to Disneyland, signed by Walt Disney himself.

A line of models in the 1980s, posed in front of the Pendleton store in Frontierland. They are all wearing Pendleton clothing, and holding hands, with Mickey Mouse in the center of the line.

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

A black and white photo collage that was used in advertising the Pendleton store in Frontierland in the 1980s, showing the Old West interior and racks of merchandise.

Today, and the Heritage Hallway

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.

A side-by-side collage of two shots of the building that housed the Pendleton store in Frontierland - one from the 1950s, when it was still Pendleton's, and one that shows its conversion to "Bonanza Outfitters."

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.

A 1955 letter from Walt Disney to Clarence Morton Bishop.

The bronze was a gift to us from Disney.

A side view of a small bronze statue of Jiminy Cricket, gifted to Pendleton by Walt Disney.

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

A small bronze statue of Jiminy Circket, given to Pendleton Woolen Mills to mark 30 years of association.

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

Jiminy_inscription

We’re proud of our history with Disneyland, and want to say thanks to all the guests who have made us part of their visit.

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