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Wahl's Department Store Records, 1900-1982

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Wahl's Department Store
Title
Wahl's Department Store Records
Dates
1900-1982 (inclusive)
1944-1969 (bulk)
Quantity
12 linear feet
Collection Number
XOE_CPNWS0046wahlstore (collection)
Summary
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.
Repository
Western Washington University, Heritage Resources
Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Building
808 25th St
Bellingham, WA
98225-9123
Telephone: 360-650-7747
Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu
Access Restrictions

This collection is open to the public.

Languages
English.


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

Preferred Citation

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.

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1: Administrative
1900-1967
Box/Folder
1/1
Correspondence
1900-1967
Subseries 2: Financial
1904-1918
Box/Folder
1/2
Company day books
October 1904- December 1909, ; January 1910-May 1915
1/3
Invoices and bill of sale
1905-1918
1/4
Estimation of Wahl's department store fire damage costs
1910

Series 2:  General Real Estate, 1924-1982Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1: Wahl's department store and Grand Theatre Lots
1924-1982
Box/Folder
1/5
Plat map of downtown Bellingham (denotes Wahl holdings)
1948
1/6
Real estate contracts, Lot 1, 2, 3 Block 24
1928, ; 1933
1/7
Warranty deed, Lot 1, 2, 3 B 24
October 1, 1936
1/8
Release of mortgage, Lot 1, 2, 3 B 24
1924-1939
1/9
Abstract of title, Lot 1, 2, 3, B 24
1940
1/10
Mortgage payments, and release of mortgage, Lot 1, 2, 3 B 24
1933-1946
1/11
Grand Theater records, Lot 3, B 24
1924-1958
1/12
Warranty deeds, and title insurance policy, Lot 5, 6 B 24
1949, ; 1951
1/13
Real estate contract, warranty deed, bill of sale, and title insurance policy Lot 9, Block 19; and Lots 7 and 8, Block 24
1953-1954
Oversize Folder
1
Wahl’s house and department store demolition photos
1974-1982
1
Wahl’s department store and Grand Theatre hand-drawn floor plans
1956-1968

Series 3:  Clippings and Printed Matter, 1905-1974Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/14
Wahl's department store advertisements
1905-1966
1/15
Front page of Bellingham Herald, End of WWI
1918 November 11
1/16
Wahl's department store ephemera
1924, ; 1929
1/17
Wahl family and department store clippings
1954-1974
1/18
Speech: Ralph Wahl
1950
Subseries 1: Scrapbooks
1944-1969
Volume
1
Scrapbook
1944 September- 1948 January
2
Scrapbook
1948 February - 1950 October
3
Scrapbook
1950 October - 1953 May
4
Scrapbook
1953 May - 1955 April
5
Scrapbook
1955 April - 1956 March
6
Scrapbook
1956 April - December
7
Scrapbook
1957 January - 1958 May
8
Scrapbook
1958 June - 1960 February
9
Scrapbook
1960 March - 1961 November
10
Scrapbook
1961 December- 1963 December
11
Scrapbook
1964 January - 1966 April
12
Scrapbook
1966 May - 1969 August