Saturday, December 27, 2014

Holiday Shopping in Hudson . . . 100 Years Ago

Holiday shopping is done and gifts have been given for 2014, but yesterday Gossips discovered this guide to shopping in Hudson, published in the Columbia Republican on December 22, 1914, and continued on December 26, 1914. It goes on and on, clearly with the purpose of mentioning every retail business that advertised or might advertise in the Republican. Besides being an early example of the "Shop Local" spirit, the piece provides an interesting inventory of the shops in Hudson a hundred years ago. Here, interspersed with period advertisements for some of the businesses mentioned, is the first part:

While I have resided in Hudson nearly eighteen months, coming here from Pennsylvania, I have never done much Christmas shopping here. I had always been accustomed to buying my Christmas purchases in Philadelphia among the great department stores. Having this idea in mind I traveled both to New York and Albany last December, believing that shopping of the right kind could only be done in big stores in big cities.
But the tiresomeness of traveling, the long waiting for trains and the many other inconveniences of shopping out of town, not mentioning the expense, made me inspect the Hudson stores this time for holiday buying and I will never again have the impression that shopping cannot be done right in a small city.
I have found articles here in this pretty little city that I have searched for day in and day out in the great department stores. There is nothing that the Christmas shopper could imagine that is not to be found in some Hudson merchant's store. And then you are treated so cordially by the polite and pretty shop girls. Nothing is too much bother for them or the store proprietors as well.
Not being a full fledged Hudsonian in the full sense of the word I took  my Morning Republican with me the other day and guided by the attractive advertising, "did the rounds," and I can assure everyone that I am perfectly satisfied now that my choice of presents this year will hit the mark everywhere.
I first visited some meat markets including those conducted by A. F. Funk, Charles Scheu, J. Rettstadt, Koslow & Liepshutz, and J. Liepshutz, in order to price their real Christmas birds--the turkeys. I was surprised to note the cleanliness of the markets and the prices quoted for the delivery of a turkey, dressed and plucked. Every  market was well stocked with choice meats of various kinds and I took advantage of the prices.
Having procured the best part of the dinner of dinners I looked about for the "fixings," for surely I could hardly leave a turkey unaccompanied on the table, on such a day. I looked up the groceries and visited C. S. Rogers, The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co.'s store, Koster & Englke, C. J. Bedford and Frank Horth. The enormous line of groceries carried by these stores almost made me believe I was imagining a whole lot. From fresh vegetables to delicate relishes I found in these places, including every kind of staple goods. The prices were quite reasonable and my appetite wants perfectly appeased.
There were some things I needed on the table as well as little things that Santa Claus might not be able to crowd into the little stockings, so I stopped for some fruit at Costa & Co. and at Samuel Sutty. These fruit stores were fairly overflowing with everything ripe and juicy. There were many other things, including pure olive oil, an article which I had hunted high and low for, expecting to find it at an importer's place of business.
Then my thoughts turned to the little folks. What kind of a Christmas would it be if they did not have their fill of candies and sweet things for once in a year. I stopped at the Eagle Confectionery Shop and the Pappas Candy Parlor. Their candies made by expert candy makers in their own kitchens suited my taste and I went no further in this line.
As I glanced down at my Republican I saw the advertisements of the Columbia Wine and Liquor Co, who have two Warren street stores, and the Diamond Bottling Company. Then I remember that the old folks were coming and some "Christmas cheer" was a necessity. I visited the places and found they had prepared clever combination sales for one dollar and I immediately invested.
A bit of ice cream would top off my dinner in fine shape, so I glanced at the ads in the paper once more and found that Dayton & Lamont and C. C. Griswold had stores on Warren street and were taking orders for their celebrated cream in the brick form or by the quart. Once more I was a customer.
As it was then time for luncheon and there was not real need for my traveling to the outskirts of the city for a bite, as I wanted to continue my enjoyable shopping trip, I dined at the City Hall Grill. Everything was so neatly and quickly served with the politeness of a Parisian cafe I began to wonder if a good many people did not have their Christmas dinner in this cosy grill and the waiter obliged by affirming my belief.
Greatly refreshed, I started out anew. The taste of a delightful portion of fish and a few oysters which I had had at lunch gave me a new thought. My newspaper did not fail me and I quickly found the well stocked markets so well known as Ford's and Newcomb's. I placed my orders for Christmas and departed having found just the foods that I wished at the right prices.
There were a few articles in the stationery I needed that day and the advertisements of Frank Maloney, Eugene Dowling, Wm. Ziesnitz and Jerry Downing attracted my eye. Instead of buying my few needs I purchased a number of articles which will make delightful gifts. They were pictures, leather goods, writing paper, etc., just the things that make appreciable but still inexpensive gifts.
I was on my way back to the grocery stores to pick out my Christmas tree when I met a young lady in my acquaintance. She had just cashed a Christmas Club check on the First National Bank and told me it was the best thing she had ever done when she made weekly deposits there for holiday expenses. She accompanied me to the Albany Southern Railway office and to the store of A. E. Johnson, where I purchased the cutest electrical fixtures for my Christmas tree I had ever been able to find.
My friend wished to look over bicycles, a gift for her brother. We journeyed to the store of G. Edward Purlver. He had the very kind she wanted and a sale was made in a few minutes.

At Wm. R. Benedict's my curiosity was aroused by the thousands of electrical toys and other things that make the little folks happy. I made several purchases and then helped a deserving youngster along by giving him my votes in the Christmas contest there.
Having forgotten to look over penknives, skates, etc., the things that tickle the heart of the future men, I decided to look over the stock at some hardware stores. With my friend I visited Kingman's and Rogerson's & Co.'s. I made several purchases and then watched the customers pick out such useful gifts as food choppers, carving sets, etc.
Leaving the buzz of the hardware shoppers behind, my friend and I started to look over those neat, useful and non-expensive gifts which are found in the pharmacies. Before we reached the store of McKinstry & Son, we met a neighbor of mine, who also was making Santa Claus look cheap. She told me of a gift her husband had purchased for her--a full set of china--from the Osborne crockery store. It struck me at that moment as one of the best Christmas gifts procurable.
With two companions now I felt right at home in the hurrying crowd and soon we reached the McKinstry drug store, the pharmacy of Leavitt & Smith, Van Loan's on the Warren street side of the park, the Economy drug store, T. E. Burkes's and then to the end of the bsy street to Wardle's. In every one of these stores we found a welcome gift. Sometimes it would be a comb and a brush; sometimes a shaving set, a bottle of perfume or toilet water. In fact there were so many useful gifts I cannot remember all the things "our busy trio" purchased. I noted that nearly one out of every three in the drug stores placed an order for the Christmas chocolates and bon bons of the standard kinds put up in special holiday packages.
My young friend seemed a bit nervous and I questioned her. She said she had a gentleman friend whom she wished to remember on Christmas eve. I recalled then the same feeling she was experiencing but mine was in happy days gone by. I knew the young man well, upright and enterprising, and he was to be rewarded. My companion guided us to the jewelry district--it is all in one section--the Clow store, the Joseph store and the Maratskey store. With the taste of an expert she went over the cuff links, rings, watches, stick pins, etc., and with excellent judgment as to both price and article, she made the purchase that meant more to her than all the others. She sealed my lips when we entered the stores, as I am not at liberty yet to disclose what one lucky young man will receive.
The grayness of the short December days was slowing drawing itself about the shopping district, so after bidding "good-day" to my young friend, my neighbor and I hailed a Hudson City taxicab and were whisked back to our homes full of appreciation for the Hudson merchants and their stores, and agreeing that nothing but a blizzard would keep us at home the following day, the experiences of which I will tell you on the morrow.

1 comment:

  1. 407 Warren Street continues as Cascades - a great restaurant and before this an ice cream parlor.