Sam Hillinger Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent Store Collection, 1910-1950  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Hillinger, Sam, 1922-2000
Title
Sam Hillinger Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent Store Collection
Dates
1910-1950 (inclusive)
Quantity
1 box, (.21 cubic feet)
Collection Number
1996.10 (accession)
Summary
Photographs and other materials documenting the development of the Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent Store and the Rhodes Department Store
Repository
Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
98108
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
library@mohai.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Languages
English.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Sam Hillinger was born in Frankfurt, Germany on January 5, 1922. He moved to the United States at age twelve. He served with the United States Army and the Army of Occupation from 1943-1949, and he met and married his wife Maggie in Frankfurt in 1948. After returning to the United States, he graduated with honors from Ohio State University with a degree in public accounting. After graduation, he moved to Seattle with his family and worked as a CPA in the Ballard area for over thirty five years. He was an avid collector and enjoyed travel. Sam Hillinger died in Seattle on November 25, 2000.

Sam Hillinger was working as an accountant for the Modern Home Builders company of Lynnwood in 1958 when that company purchased the Rhodes Ten Cent Stores of Seattle. The materials in this collection were probably acquired by Hillinger as a result of his connection with Modern Home Builders at the time of the acquisition.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists primarily of black and white photographs documenting the history of the Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent Stores and the Rhodes Department Store in Seattle. Included are street views of store exteriors and a series of photographs showing interior merchandise cases and displays. There are detailed images of historic variety store merchandise, such as cooking utensils, crockery, small tools, sewing supplies, holiday decorations, toys, home decor and food.

Also included is a souvenir program for a production of “The Wayfarer,” presented at the University of Washington stadium in 1922. The program contains a photograph of William Rhodes, who served as “The Wayfarer” committee chairman. The collection also includes sheet music and a souvenir Seattle booklet, both published by the Rhodes Brothers Company.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

In the early 20th century, the Rhodes brothers were prominent business leaders in the Puget Sound region. Albert, Henry, William and Charles grew up on a farm near Trempealeau, Wisconsin. Albert Rhodes, born in 1864, was the founder of Rhodes Company, one of Seattle’s largest and most prestigious department stores. In 1889, Albert moved to the Northwest and worked for several years as a traveling salesman for a wholesale crockery company. During this time, he met and married Harriet Williams in Dallas, Oregon in 1893. Their residence at 1901 Tenth Avenue North in Seattle was completed in 1915, and was considered one of the finest homes at the time. The couple did not have children.

William Rhodes was born in 1867. Like his brother Albert, he also relocated from Wisconsin to Washington in 1889, where he became a salesman for a tea and coffee company. In 1892, Henry and Charles joined William to establish a small tea shop in Tacoma, Washington. Albert left his sales job to work with his brothers managing the Tacoma enterprise. The success and broadening scope of their business resulted in the department store concept, and Rhodes Brothers, Inc. was formed with William acting as president. In 1899, the first Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent store was established in Seattle.

William Rhodes married Claudia Altenburg in 1892, and they had two children, William and Aubrey. Their home was located at 1005 Belmont Place in Seattle. William Rhodes was active in the Seattle Chamber of Commerce finance committee and a member of numerous civic and charitable organizations. During World War I he organized the first Red Cross campaign and promoted a war savings stamps program in Seattle. After the war, William Rhodes was chairman of a committee that raised $5,500,000 for the University of Washington Stadium, completed in 1926. In 1945, William Rhodes took his own life at his home in Seattle. At the time of his death, his estate was valued at $100,000. His son William continued to manage the business, and in 1951 five branches of the Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent store were operating in Seattle at 1315 Second Avenue, 6402 Roosevelt Way, 435 North Broadway, 531 Queen Anne Avenue, and 6213 13th Avenue South.

In 1907, Albert Rhodes had made an individual business investment in Seattle, where he established the Rhodes Company with himself as president and principal shareholder. He opened his first Rhodes Company Store in 20 feet of retail space in downtown Seattle. The business grew rapidly, and by 1920 the Rhodes Department Store occupied three floors of the Arcade Building on Second Avenue and had over 400 employees. In 1921, Albert Rhodes died suddenly of influenza contracted on a business trip to New York. He was active in civic affairs and the head of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce at the time of his death. After his death, his wife Harriet became president of Rhodes Company, and continued to manage the successful Seattle department store.

In 1927, five years after Albert’s death, there were four separate Rhodes stores operating in Seattle and Tacoma, three of them still managed by Rhodes family members. In 1926, the Rhodes Brothers Department Store in Tacoma had been sold by Henry Rhodes (the sole owner) to B.F. Schlesinger and Sons. In Seattle, Harriet Rhodes was the head of the Rhodes Department Store and William Rhodes managed the two Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent Stores. One of these bargain stores was located at 1315 Second Avenue, on the street level of the Rhodes Department Store in the Arcade Building. Another large Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent store was located at 1507 Fourth Avenue.

Architect Harlan Thomas (1870-1953) was commissioned by Harriet Rhodes in 1927 to renovate the Arcade Building store. He designed a lofty, seven floor department store that anchored the corner of Second Avenue and Union Street in the downtown retail core. The Aeolian pipe organ Albert had planned was installed, and concerts in the mezzanine dining room were popular at lunch and dinnertime. Harry Reed was chief organist for over 30 years. The store interior was elegant with extensive inventory and services, and Rhodes became a popular downtown shopping destination.

Harriet Rhodes managed the Rhodes Company until her death in 1944. She was succeeded in the business by her nephew Carl B. Williams. With the growth and prosperity following World War II, the company opened branch stores at University Village (1956), Crossroads Mall in Bellevue (1964), and Lake Forest Park (1964.) The first moving stair escalators in Seattle were installed at the downtown Rhodes Store in 1951, at the cost of $500,000.

In 1958, Modern Home Builders of Lynnwood purchased Rhodes Ten Cent Stores of Seattle. Shortly after, the Rhodes Department Store was acquired by Western Department Stores, Inc. and in 1960 the name was changed to Rhodes Western. In October 1965, the financially ailing Rhodes was purchased again by the Pay ‘n Save Corporation. The downtown Seattle Rhodes store closed in 1968, and the Tacoma store closed in 1974. Under Pay ‘n Save management, the focus shifted to the suburbs where several Rhodes stores continued to operate. In an attempt to create a strong department store brand, the Rhodes stores were converted to the Lamont’s name in 1970. Lamont’s remained a division of Pay ‘n Save until 1985. The Lamont’s chain filed for bankruptcy in the 1990s and closed several stores before being sold to Gottschalks. Gottschalks later declared bankruptcy and was liquidated in 2009.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format here or by clicking on the camera icons in the inventory below.

Restrictions on Use

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Sam Hillinger Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent Store Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Postcards, 1916Return to Top

7 postcards 3" x 5"

Postcards depicting snowy Seattle scenes after the blizzard of February 1916.

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder
1
1996.10.1: Two men posing with snowman on Second Avenue
1916 February
1
1996.10.2: Streetcars covered with snow
1916 February
1
1996.10.3: Automobile covered with snow
1916 February
1
1996.10.4: Snow sculpture of Billiken and polar bear
1916 February
1
1996.10.5: Van covered with snow
1916 February
1
1996.10.6: Snow drifts on Second Avenue
1916 February
1
1996.10.7: Snow drifts on downtown street
1916 February

Publications, 1909, 1922Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder
2
1996.10.8: Souvenir program for "The Wayfarer"
Performed at the University of Washington Stadium, July 24-29, 1922. Includes a photograph of William Rhodes, 1922 Wayfarer committee chairman.
1922
3
1996.10.9: "Souvenir Seattle Washington," book of photographs
8.5" x 11"
Published by the Rhodes Brothers Company, Seattle
1909
1996.10.10: "City Life March Two-Step," sheet music
Published by Rhodes Brothers and Company Music Department
Item is housed with the Northwest Sheet Music Collection, Box 3.
1909

Photographs, circa 1915-1950Return to Top

53 photographs
Container(s) Description Dates
Folder
4
1996.10.11: Aerial view of downtown Seattle
Drawing of building attached to front of photograph, stamped on back, Pierson Photo Co.
1929
5
1996.10.12: Vacant building façade
circa 1915
5
1996.10.13: Meves Cafeteria Building, Fourth and Pine Streets, view of cars and pedestrians
Stamped on back, Walter P. Miller, Commercial Photographer
circa 1920
5 circa 1915
5
1996.10.15: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, 1507 Fourth Avenue, artist's drawing
circa 1924
5 circa 1924
5 circa 1924
6
1996.10.19:  Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street
Stamped on back, Photo by Art Forde and Fred Carter
circa 1950
6 circa 1946
6 circa 1940
6
1996.10.23: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street, window display with mannequin
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick, Seattle
circa 1940
6
1996.10.24: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street, glass case with embroidery goods
Stamped on back, Webster and Stevens Commercial Photographers
circa 1920
6
1996.10.25: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street, glass display case with china
Stamped on back, Webster and Stevens Commercial Photographers
circa 1920
6
1996.10.26-.28:  Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street, display cases with assorted merchandise
Stamped on back, Webster and Stevens Commercial Photographers
circa 1920
7
1996.10.29-.30:  Rhodes Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street, canned food displays
Stamped on back, Walter P. Miller Commercial Photographers
circa 1920
7
1996.10.31: Rhodes Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street, textiles and household goods displays
Stamped on back, Walter P. Miller Commercial Photographers
circa 1920
7
1996.10.32: Rhodes Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street, assorted merchandise displays
Stamped on back, Walter P. Miller Commercial Photographers
circa 1920
7
1996.10.33: Rhodes Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street, linens and household goods displays
Stamped on back, Walter P. Miller Commercial Photographers
circa 1920
7
1996.10.34: Rhodes Store, Arcade Building, Second Avenue and Union Street, china and glassware displays
Stamped on back, Webster and Stevens Commercial Photographers
circa 1920
8
1996.10.35: Rhodes Company employees working in office
Handwritten on back, Mrs. Brown, Miss Mickelson, Anna Miller, Burnell
circa 1915
9
1996.10.36: Panorama view of soda fountain counter
Folded
circa 1920
10
1996.10.37: Rhodes Bros. Ten Store, Easter goods display
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
10
1996.10.38: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, assorted merchandise display
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
10
1996.10.39: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, cash register and assorted household goods
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
10
1996.10.40:  Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, assorted household goods display
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
10
1996.10.41: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, buttons display
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
10
1996.10.42: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Easter goods display
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
10
1996.10.43: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, kitchen tools display
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
10
1996.10.44: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, assorted household goods display
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
10
1996.10.45: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, assorted merchandise display
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
10
1996.10.46: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, office supplies display
Stamped on back, Photography by Dolph Zubick
circa 1950
11
1996.10.47:  Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, display of fresh citrus fruit
Stamped on back, H.C. Davidson Commercial Photographer
circa 1925
11
1996.10.48:  Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, employees and food counter
Stamped on back, Webster and Stevens Commercial Photographers
circa 1910
12
1996.10.49-.53: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, assorted merchandise display
Stamped on back, Webster and Stevens Commercial Photographers
circa 1920
12
1996.10.54: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, Toyland entrance
Stamped on back, Walter P. Miller Commercial Photographer
circa 1920
12
1996.10.55: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, display of artificial flowers and assorted merchandise
Stamped on back, Walter P. Miller Commercial Photographer
circa 1920
12
1996.10.56: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, display cases with assorted merchandise
Stamped on back, Walter P. Miller Commercial Photographer
circa 1930
12 circa 1920
12
1996.10.58:  Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, display of fresh citrus fruit with shoppers
Stamped on back, H.C. Davidson Commercial Photographer
circa 1925
12 circa 1910
12
1996.10.60: Rhodes Store, Arcade Building, Second and Union Street, sewing display
circa 1924
12 circa 1924
12
1996.10.62:  Rhodes Store, Arcade Building, Second and Union Street, main floor with employees
Handwritten on back, this picture taken one minute before opening door on opening date December 15, 1924
1924 December
12
1996.10.63: Rhodes Bros. Ten Cent Store, assorted merchandise display
Stamped on back, Webster and Stevens Commercial Photographers
circa 1924

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Department stores
  • Merchandise displays
  • Variety stores
  • Personal Names :
  • Rhodes, Albert, 1864-1921
  • Rhodes, Harriet, 1872-1944
  • Rhodes, William, 1867-1945
  • Geographical Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic postcards
  • Photographs
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Rhodes Bros. Co. (creator)