Wahl's Department Store Records, 1900-1982 PDF
- Wahl's Department Store
- Wahl's Department Store Records
- 1900-1982 (inclusive)19001982
- 12 linear feet
- Collection Number
- XOE_CPNWS0046wahlstore (collection)
- This collection of materials reflects eighty-two years of the Wahl family-operated department store in Bellingham, Washington. While bound volumes of advertisements from the Bellingham Herald comprise a large portion of the collection, other materials include financial records, administrative records, real estate records, clippings, and correspondence.
- Western Washington University, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Archives Building
808 25th St.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open to the public.
- Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Funding for encoding the finding aid was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Historical NoteReturn to Top
Wahl's department store, located in downtown Bellingham, Washington, was owned and operated by the Wahl family from 1913 to 1972. Constructed by J.J. Donovan in 1913, Wahl's department store building was bought by J.B. Wahl that year and used as a dry goods store. After J.B. Wahl died in 1937, his son Ralph E. Wahl assumed management until his retirement in 1971. Ralph E. Wahl considered himself more of a fisherman/photographer than a businessman, and is known for his photography of the Bellingham area.
In addition to owning the department store, the Wahl family also owned the Grand Theatre housed in the same building complex. Purchased by the National Bank of Commerce in 1972, the department store and Grand Theatre were demolished two years later to be remodeled into a new National Bank of Commerce office.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The Wahl's Department Store records span the years 1900 to 1982. The bulk of the collection consists of twelve bound volumes of department store advertisements from the Bellingham Herald dating from September 1944 to August 1969. The Wahl's Department Store collection also includes administrative, financial, and real estate records as well as clippings and other printed matter. Real estate records document the acquisition and ownership of the department store and Grand Theatre by lot number. The real estate records also include hand-drawn floor plans and demolition photos of the store and the Grand Theatre.
The collection's administrative records consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence to and from customers, associates, and Wahl family members. Included in the correspondence materials is a letter from A Mother’s Club of Bellingham to the Wahl Department Store about a Japanese man in their employ, written in 1942.
Financial records contain invoices, company day books, bills of sale, and inventories of damage costs due to a fire that occurred in the department store in 1910.
Use of the CollectionReturn to Top
Wahl's Department Store Records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.
Series 1: Administrative and Financial Records, 1900-1967Return to Top
Administrative correspondence includes a 1942 letter from A Mother’s Club to Wahl's department store concerning a Japanese employee.
Subseries 1: Administrative
Subseries 2: Financial
Company day books
|October 1904- December 1909, ; January 1910-May 1915|
Invoices and bill of sale
Estimation of Wahl's department store fire damage costs
Series 2: General Real Estate, 1924-1982Return to Top
Subseries 1: Wahl's department store and Grand Theatre Lots
Plat map of downtown Bellingham (denotes Wahl holdings)
Real estate contracts, Lot 1, 2, 3 Block 24
|1928, ; 1933|
Warranty deed, Lot 1, 2, 3 B 24
|October 1, 1936|
Release of mortgage, Lot 1, 2, 3 B 24
Abstract of title, Lot 1, 2, 3, B 24
Mortgage payments, and release of mortgage, Lot 1, 2, 3 B 24
Grand Theater records, Lot 3, B 24
Warranty deeds, and title insurance policy, Lot 5, 6 B 24
|1949, ; 1951|
Real estate contract, warranty deed, bill of sale, and title insurance policy Lot 9, Block 19; and Lots 7 and 8, Block 24
Wahl’s house and department store demolition photos
Wahl’s department store and Grand Theatre hand-drawn floor plans
Series 3: Clippings and Printed Matter, 1905-1974Return to Top
Wahl's department store advertisements
Front page of Bellingham Herald, End of WWI
|1918 November 11|
Wahl's department store ephemera
|1924, ; 1929|
Wahl family and department store clippings
Speech: Ralph Wahl
Subseries 1: Scrapbooks
|1944 September- 1948 January|
|1948 February - 1950 October|
|1950 October - 1953 May|
|1953 May - 1955 April|
|1955 April - 1956 March|
|1956 April - December|
|1957 January - 1958 May|
|1958 June - 1960 February|
|1960 March - 1961 November|
|1961 December- 1963 December|
|1964 January - 1966 April|
|1966 May - 1969 August|
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Subject Terms :
- Business enterprises -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham -- History -- Sources.
- Department stores -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham -- History -- Sources.
- Japanese Americans -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham --History --Sources.
- Retail trade -- United States -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham -- History --Sources.
- Sales promotion -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham -- History -- Sources.
- Theaters -- Washington (State) --Bellingham --History --Sources.
- Personal Names :
- Wahl, Ralph.
- Corporate Names :
- Wahl's (Firm). (creator)
- Grand Theatre (Bellingham, Wash.) (creator)
- Geographical Names :
- Bellingham (Wash.) -- History -- Sources.