ALL OFFICES AND STORES. New York, May 3lst, 1916.
GENERAL LETTER NO. 6.
Tuesday, May 9th, we took the famous Shasta Limited and crossed the bay into Oakland. In passing over the bay, we saw plenty of shipping, including the old warship “Oregon”, which made the wonderful trip from San Francisco around to Santiago during the Spanish War of 1898. The Bay extends in two arms, thirty miles north and thirty-five miles south of San Francisco and from five to fifteen miles in width, the water area covering over 250 square miles, providing 40 square miles of good anchorage. This they claim is the largest land locked harbor in the world. (Please note they say “in the world”.}
We got out at the pier of the Southern Pacific Railway which extends a mile into the bay. We had elegant accommodations on the train, thanks to Mr. Rand
The train passed through Oakland and Berkeley to Port Costa, thirty one miles from San Francisco, where it crossed Carquinez Straits to Benicia, on what they call the largest ferry boats for trains in the world, each capable of transporting twenty passenger coaches and four locomotives.
We were then fully on our way to Portland, Oregon, up the famous Sacramento River, where lemons, oranges, raisin grapes, and alfalfa are grown. The scenery from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon is the finest I had seen up to that time and the railroad service was wonderful- a beautiful dining car and meals well served.
Mr. Rand cautioned us, however, to look out as we were going through the hottest part of California, but we surprised him by going through on a nice cool day and there was no fatigue whatsoever. He said we were very lucky, as it is generally very hot through the Sacramento Valley.
The train was running northward through Anderson and Redding, in plain sight of Mt. Lassen, a high peak against the skyline. This mountain is in erruption some parts of the year and probably when this volcano is in erruption, there is no danger of earthquakes in San Francisco. Mt. Lassen is 10577 feet high and lays 47 miles to the east of the Sierra-Nevada Range. On May 14th, 1914, it renewed its volcanic activity, believing to have last occurred 200 years ago, and at varied intervals it has since been in erruption, emitting large volumes of smoke and ashes and has incited much interest.
After leaving Redding, the train ran for many miles through the picturesque canyon of the upper Sacramento. It seems o be a habit in all these Pacific Coast States to call a small ravine or a large range of any kind of valley, a “canyon”, so please don’t confuse this with the wonderful spectacle we saw at Grand Canyon, Arizona. We saw the barren jagged lava rock bed of the river, which is remarkable, for there is no vegetation on either side of the river for miles and miles, which they say is caused by the fumes from the smelters. We saw the relics of many a mining camp, which had been abandoned years ago, yet notwithstanding this fact, we saw prospectors along the side of the river, looking for gold and I presume in the bottom of the Sacramento River, have been deposited considerable quantities of gold which have never been taken out.
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EXECUTIVE OFFICE. 6-l-16 2.
ALL OFFICES AND STORES. New York, May 31st, 1916,
At Kennett there is a large smelter in operation. One of the smelters was closed and out of business, on account of the protest raised by the residents, about the fumes which killed all vegetation. They now have a process, however, of smelting the ore without using chemicals that produce these poisonous fumes. We saw some of the smelters in full operation.
There is a small town called Castle Crag and the name is taken from the great splintered spires of Castle Crag, covering 2000 feet above the base and appearing in truth like some ruined mediaeval stronghold.
We suddenly came into beautiful green trees and vegetation and shrubs and from this on, the scenery was wonderful.
I forgot to mention that long before we struck this canyon, we saw in the distance, Mt. Shasta, which they say can be seen 150 miles away on a clear day. The train follows the winding Sacramento farther and farther into the depths of the mountains and now and then we catch a glimpse of Mt. Shasta.
All along this river, are summer outing spots, more or less rustic in character, the most prominent being Shasta Springs. The train stopped at Shasta Springs and it was after dark, but everyone got off the train to see these wonderful springs illuminated at night, with various colored incandescent electric lamps, which was a complete and unexpected surprise. The falls burst from the green mossy mountain side in mirrored virginal streams, which extend for a considerable distance along the hillside and pour a large quantity of water into the Sacramento River. The entire mountain side is a reservoir of pure, clean, delicious water, of which these falls are but a part. We all took a drink of this water, which has a strong mineral taste. There are two wonderful falls, which are about 40 feet high.
After leaving these springs, although it was night (the moon was shining bright), we saw the beauties of Shasta Mountain, like a great white loaf of sugar, piercing the sky. Shasta is the first of the great glacier peaks of the Cascade. Of all these peaks, Shasta is, according to Government measurementone of the two or three highest in the United States. It rises about 11,000.feet above the valley at its base and its table elevation is 14,162 feet above the level of the sea, according to one authority and 14380 feet according to another authority.
The train gradually winds around the foot of this mountain and for an hour and a half we sat up and looked at Mt. Shasta from various points of view, yet I suppose we were twenty or thirty miles from the base of the mountain. It is a wonderful sight at moonlight, with its perpetual snow. Geologists say it was once a volcano.
Congregating about it are five glaciers, one of which is more than two miles long, having crevices the same as those of the Alps and the ice is several hundred feet thick.
The next morning, we were surprised to find we werein the land of green pastures, beautiful trees and a nice lovely, rain storm, the first we had seen since we left New York, It was very pleasant and agreeable to again be back, away from the regions of Southern California, where they have no rain for six months and get back into a climate we were more accustomed to. The air was pure and had plenty of live, stimulation and oxygen, which we did not find in Southern California.
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EXECUTIVE OFFICE. 6-1-16 3.
ALL OFFICES AND STORES. New York, May 31st, 1916.
We were now in Oregon and you would think you were in an entirely different country, as the houses were built differently and the vegetation was different, and the whole country looked more like Northern New York State, than any country we had been in since we left the east. The rain was pouring down in torrents; the rivers and the streams were all swollen and were now in the “Web-Footed” country.
We arrived in Portland at 1:50.P.M. Wednesday, May 10th and the rain had all cleared off and the sun was shining for the first time in three days. However, before we got to Portland, Mr. Rand received several telegrams, asking if Mr. Woolworth and his party would not please stay over a little, longer in Portland to visit the wonderful Columbia River Highway. We had planned to remain in Portland only two hours, but after several telegrams had passed between Mr. Rand and the prominent citizens of Portland, we decided to stay over in Portland until the night train for Seattle.
We immediately visited the store, which is one of the largest we have on the Coast. We were met at the station by the manager of the store and several others. The store is located on a prominent corner, which is connected with another large store on another business street. The store was beautifully decorated, windows handsomely trimmed, in fact, they had what looked to us like fifteen or twenty windows, it being a corner store with windows all around. It was decorated inside with placards, all over the store reading “Welcome to our President, F. W. Woolworth” Even when we went into the basement of this store, we saw the same placards.
The girls at the store evidently had expected us and while we were passing through the store, one of the young ladies at the counter wrote the following poem, extemporaneously – it was written on a piece of wrapping paper, which I still hold in my possession as a souvenir of the trip:
“When Mr. Woolworth comes to town, they make us all jump up and down. They change our counters all around, and throw our rubbish on the ground.
They sweep the walls and mop the floors, and varnish all around the doors.
Perhaps you never knew before that palms are growing in our store; Yes! Palms and roses fair to see, are blooming like a Christmas Tree.
We girls wear waists all white and clean, and Wallace wears a suit of green. (the porter)
No matter when our breakfast’s been, we girls must go to lunch at ten.
We grab our little luncheon sack and eat our food and hurry back. We’re all excited as can be and stretch our necks so we can see. He comes, He goes, we scarce know when, we sigh and settle down again,
Oh Mr. Woolworth, Hail to Thee, your kindly face we got to see, your car awaits, you at the door, Welcome, thrice Welcome to our store.
The above I consider very clever and only illustrates what literary talent we have in the Portland store.
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EXECUTIVE OFFICE. 6-1-16 4.
ALL OFFICES AND STORES New York, May 31st, 1916
I am very sorry we did not have more time to go farther into the details of this store, but we went over them upon our return, before the train left for Seattle.
We were met at the storeby one of the prominent citizens of Portland who had made his fortunes in the lumber business in the west, and owns a great many business blocks in Portland, one of which we occupy, and he is therefore our landlord, Mr. J. B. Yeon. This was the gentleman who was so persistent in sending telegrams, as he was very anxious to show us the Columbia River Highway, one of the most famous highways in this country, if not the most famous.
The Mayor of the city was there at the store to greet us and representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, and they expected, according to the newspapers, we were to be entertained and given a banquet while in Portland and they were all ready to give us a big rousing welcome, but unfortunately our time was limited and we could not accept.
We found three cars lined up, all of which belonged to Mr. Yeon, to take this wonderful drive, on the Columbia Highway and we were soon on the road, although the rain was evidently going to make us trouble, but we had very little trouble in that direction,
Mr. Yeon drove one of his own cars, a Franklin by the way, and we had the lead. The rest of the party followed in the other two cars. He explained to me the wonderful road we were driving over in the suburbs of the city of Portland, and he said you can tell the minute you get outside of the city, by the road.
Now, this man is the kind of men they raise in the west. He told me he agreed to spend two years of his time for nothing in supervising and building this wonderful Columbia Highway. He said he made all his money there and he could see no reason why, since he had experience and knew how to build roads, that he could not be permitted to give up two years of his time for the public.
The beautiful road we drove over long before we got to the Columbia Highway, was 18 feet wide and cost $16,000. per mile. A more perfect road you could never find. We probably rode about twenty miles until we struck the famous Columbia Highway and all the glories of this wonderful scenery presented itself to us at once.
You have all heard of the Columbia River where the famous salmon are caught and here we were two thousand feet about that river and looking up and down this broad gigantic stream, with mountains snow capped on either side.
By the way, I forgot to mention, long before we got to this spot, I saw in the distance, what appeared to me to be a mountain and Mr.Yeon said it was Mt. Hood, a beautiful white cone shaped mountain, probably 45 miles away. In fact, there were high mountains all around, but this Columbia Highway has some of the grandest scenery in the Worldand it is impossible for me to describe it. This road was built recently, where there was never any road before, jagged rocks they had to cut through and tunnel through, yet there was not over five per-cent grade on the entire road.
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ALL OFFICES AND STORES. New York, May 31st, 1916.
On one side of us were falls dashing from the heights above down near the level of the road. Some of these falls were four and five hundred feet high and the grotesque rocks and big formations were wonderful. The road was not quite completed and we went about twenty miles on it and returned.
Just about as we were striking this wonderful road, I saw a little restaurant perched upon a hill, with a large sign out reading:
“CHICKEN DINNERS A SPECIALTY”
I said to myself, I am mighty glad we are going to pass that place, although Mr.Yeon told me we would have dinner at a restaurant on the road somewhere. To my horror, however, on our return, we were, told that was the place we were to have our dinner. Of course, it is generally known that there is one thing I abhor in the food line, and that is chicken. There is no road leading up to this restaurant – it is so high up in the air, so we climbed up to it. At the same time, I was wondering how I was going to avoid a chicken dinner. A woman met us as we went into the restaurant, and I am sorry to say, one of our party asked me if that woman had paint on her cheeks, because they were of such a delicate pink. She afterwards appeared to be the landlady and the cook.
We finally sat down to the table and lo and behold, after the soup was served, the chicken commenced to come in all shapes – chicken pot-pie, chicken this, chicken that and everything else. Inthe meantime, somebody tipped her off and instead of chicken they gave me the finest salmon, just caught out of the river, I had ever tasted, in fact the whole dinner was one of the best I had on the coast and it appealed to me very much.
There was another dinner party at the restaurant while we were there and we soon discovered it was representatives of the New York Life Insurance Co. of New York and Mr. Mc Call, the Vice-President, made himself known to us.
After dinner we remained and saw the grand sunset on the Columbia ever and the scenery is simply beautiful, and much finer than ever. We decided this was one of the most enjoyable trips we had had since we left New York, and we started back to Portland. The moon was shining bright and it was certainly a lovely ride.
I forgot to mention that soon after we left Portland to go on the Columbia Highway, the road led to a high elevation, which gave us a fine view of the City of Portland and on our return the city was all illuminated and looked very handsome.
By the way, we were told that the time to visit Portland to see it at its best, is the latter part of June, when they have the Rose Carnival and people who have been there and seen this wonderful sight, say it is one of the finest they have ever seen in their lives, as that is the time of the year when the roses are all in bloom.
We returned to the store and made a thorough investigation after the store was closed and the manager certainly had it up in mighty good shape, and he is one of the live wires among the managers of the Pacific coast.
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EXECUTIVE OFFICE. 6-1-16 6.
ALL OFFICES AND STORES. New York. May 31st, 1916.
We were somewhat tired and as a five and ten cent store is one of the worst places to rest in we decided to go to the best hotel in town. Mr. Yeon remained with us and entertained us to the best of his ability until we were tired out and decided to go to the train where we were soon neatly tucked away in our berths and were ready for the sights of Seattle.
Wednesday, May 11th, we arrived in Seattle early in the morning and had an excellent breakfast at the New Washington Hotel. When driving up from the station, we passed the L. C. Smith Office Building, the highest building on the Pacific Coast, and some people call it a duplicate of the Woolworth Building. Of course, I don’t know who the architect was of this building, but our party certainly did not like the architecture. The heighth of the tower they claim is 492 feet, or in other words, 300 feet shorter than the Woolworth Building. We obtained a pass to visit the tower and to our surprise, we did not go anywhere near the top of the building, but we landed in a large room, the full size of the tower, which looked very mysterious to us, as the decorations in this room were gold and black and inthe panels were Chinese letters or characters, which we suppose meant something. The attendent, however, came out and read to us what all these characters meant and he repeated some of the history of Seattle from its beginning up to the present time. Now what the object was in having these hieroglyphics was never made plain to us. On some of the doors of the building, we saw signs up, 42 story building, but as the elevator only goes to the 35th floor, I can’t quite understand how they make out the seven floors extra, as there is nothing but a conical tower, similar to the one on the Bankers Trust Co. Building. Of course, the building has not very much of an area, probably about one third the size of the Woolworth Building. Wewere given to understand, however, that the building was not a financial success, as there are a great many offices vacant.
For some unaccountable reason, the people we met in Seattle did not refer to that building at all as the people of New York refer to the Woolworth Building, as being such a beautiful structure and the highest building in the world.
I was led to believe that the city of Seattle was built on a hill and it was a very hilly city, but after coming from San Francisco, the hills looked very tame to us.
The buisness (sic) part of the city is well built up and our store is elegantly located and well managed and kept up in excellent condition, as Mr. Barstow seems to understand the method of running a good five, ten and fifteen cent store. This store had one of the best restaurants I have ever seen in any five and ten cent store in this country. It is run by a very bright young lady who certainly understands her business. It is not only a very attractive restaurant, but a good paying one, and we were told it was the very best restaurant in Seattle. This only illustrates the fact that we can have a restaurant connected with our store, if we find the man or woman that knows how to run it.
We also visited our competitors store which was fully the size of ours and apparently had been doing some business heretofore, as I understand he was connected originally with the dry goods business and opened up this store in competition with us, in fact turned over this part of his dry goods store to a five, ten and fifteen cent store. It is called TheRose 5, 10 and 15cstore. We found he had a good many five, ten and fifteen cent goods displayed in the windows, but on examining the inter
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ALL OFFICES AND STORES. New York, May 31st, 1916
ior of the store, we found a great many higher priced goods than that, and some goods running up to a dollar and a dollar and a half, and I am glad to see our manager is getting the best of this competition.
We were entertained at luncheon by the managers of the stores in the surrounding district of Seattle. We had a separate room at this wonderful luncheon and the table was beautifully decorated and everything passed off wonderfully well and we were highly entertained. The following managers of the different stores were present:
|Mr.W.A. Smith||Manager||#419||Bellingham,Wash. Wash.|
|Mr.F.H.De Vere||Manager||498||Salem, Oregon|
|Mr.S.E.Davies||Manager||503||Walla Walla, Wash WWWWWWashWash.Wash|
All of these gentlemen appeared to be very enthusiastic over the business and it was a great pleasure for us to meet them and get their ideas of business. Each one of them gave a little history of how they were led into the business and the experiences they had had. It appeared the harder the experience the young men had, the better managers they had become and it was certainly very interesting to us to listen to these young men. When I say young men, I might as well mention the fact right here that out of all the managers of stores we saw on the Pacific Coast, nearly everyone of them was born after this business was started in other words, they were under thirty-seven years of age with very few exceptions.
The luncheon lasted over two hours and a half after which we took an extended drive around the city and must say that the city of Seattle is wonderfully located, notwithstanding the fact that Seattle had passed through a great many booms in real estate and also a great many reactions. It is now evidently safely launched as a commercial centre and will eventually be a very large city, because the natural advantages it has over many other coast cities is in evidence in taking the drive we did.
They have a wonderful harbor and a wonderful fresh water lake, called Lake Washington, which is now being connected by canal with the salt water of Puget Sound. We took a drive around Lake Washington, which was very beautiful, in fact the drives all around Seattle are not only fine but very extended and we enjoyed it very much.
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EXECUTIVE OFFICE. 6-1-16 8.
ALL OFFICES AND STORES. New York, May 31st, 1916.
The day was very pleasant and sun-shiny and we were told to watch to catch a glimpse of Mt. Rainier, which is in full view of the principal part of Seattle. Snow capped mountains in pleasant weather are generally surrounded with white clouds. We did not get a view of Mt. Rainier but we were told we saw the peak of the mountain above the clouds, which looks very much like the clouds and it was almost impossible to distinguish the difference. They told us when the weather is clear around the mountain, it is a wonderful sight from Seattle.
The total height of Mt. Rainier, sometimes called Mt. Tacoma, is 14,408 feet high above the level of the sea and the reason why Mt. Rainier is so much more imposing than any other mountain in the United States is because it practically starts at sea level and it therefore, rises at an extreme height above the sea, and this is called the highest mountain in the United States, of course, not counting Alaska.
There are several other beautiful snow capped peaks near Seattle.
Mt. Hood 11,325 feet
Mt St. Helens 9,697 “
Mt. Adams 12,307 «
These mountains are revelations to those accustomed to the peaks of the east. Even in the Rockies, no such mountains can be seen. If one expects to see such visions, one must go to this spot to see them. They are grand examples of volcanic mountain structure. Mt. Rainier has fifteen or more massive glaciers slowly working down its sideand all points of Puget this grand mountain looms high above everything. At sunrise, or sunset, under favorable conditions, one is vouchsafed visions such as is rarely given mortals to see.
(The above are quotations from the guide book.)
A committee of the Chamber of Commerce met us in our store and welcomed us to Seattle and they gave us vivid descriptions of the wonderful city of Seattle and they claim it is finest climate in the world. No extreme cold, neither is there any extreme heat, as the city is so near the Pacific, the weather is influenced by the Japanese Stream, which comes across the Pacific and warms the Pacific Coast. They claim a population of 325,000, although Portland claims it is just as big as Seattle and there seems to be a great strife between these two cities for supremacy in population. It means a great deal to either one of the cities, more than an eastern man can realise, when we take into consideration the fact that once upon a time Philadelphia was larger than New York, and once upon a time New Brunswick was larger than New York, and once upon a time the little town of Flushing inLong Island was inhabited before New York City was inhabited, but on account of New York having so many advantages and being such a wonderful harbor and in addition to this the completing of the Erie Canal in 1825, whereby all the products of the west could be forwarded to New York City, gave New York the great start over all her competitors. This of course, was before the railroads commenced to change population in the various parts of the United States. It seems they are striving on the Pacific Coast for supremacy and there is great competition between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, all of which have certain natural advantages, and it remains to be seen which will be the largest city twenty-five years from now.
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ALL OFFICES AND STORES. New York, May 31st, 1916
The City of Seattle has 300 churches, the United States Assay Office, the Washington State University, the Carnegie Library, which contains 125,000 volumes; and does an enormous export and import business and has splendid street railway systems and water system.
The University of Washington is finely located with a campus of 350 acres within the City limits and a system of 28 parks.
We were told there was great and wonderful fishing all around the suburbs of Seattle and it seems to me a sportsman could spend several weeks around Seattle, Tacoma and Portland.
While in San Francisco, before deciding what route to take to come east, we were undecided between the Central Pacific Line by way of Ogden, Denver, Omaha and Chicago, or by way of Seattle Spokane, St. Paul and Chicago, but Mr. Rand thought it would be best for us to take the Northern Route, so as to be sure and see the managers of our stores in the Seattle District, and as the Railroad fare was just the same, and we could see the Pacific Coast by going by way of Seattle, we decided to take that road, especially after Mr. Rand recommended the Northern Pacific as being one of the finest routes from the Pacific Coast to Chicago, as we were told the dining car service was superb and accommodations first class, so on Friday night, we took the 7:10 train out of Seattle on the Northern Pacific for Chicago.
While we were at the station, I was approached by a young man whom I had never seen before, and he said he had read in the newspaper we were going to leave on this particular train and he wished to see me before I left. He happened to be the son of a man that was in partnership with my Uncle in Cedar Springs, Mich. Years ago. I knew his father quite well and he seemed to be very glad to meet me.
I also might mention the fact that just before we got on the train in Portland, Oregon, a man came up to me and shook hands and called me by name and this man I had not seen in forty years, but I called his name, Henry Coon, and he said I was right, as Henry Coon went to the old stone school house at Great Bend, N. Y. where I used to live. It appears that a good many people who saw my name in the paper were anxious to meet me and would generally catch me at the station, if nowhere else, but going back to our final departure for the east, Mr. and Mrs. Rand were down at thestation, and also most all the managers of the stores were there to seeus off and they loaded us down with flowers and fruit and presents, and to bid us good-bye. They all invited us to come again and thus ended one of the most enjoyable trips we ever had in our, lives, beginning at Pasadena in Southern California and ending at Seattle, Wash. as far the Pacific Coast was concerned.
After the train pulled out of the station, we were somewhat disappointed in the Northern Pacific Railway. We had been in the habit of riding on steel constructed parlor cars and this train did not have any steel cars at all, they had all old fashioned wooden cars, but notwithstanding this fact, they were very comfortable.
We were also surprised to learn that we were on one of the roughest roads we had encountered on our entire trip, as the road is not sand ballasted the same as the Santa Fe Road, and we imagined we were going to have a very hard trip, as we were doomed for three days and three nights on this one car, until we reached Chicago, but on the other hand, we found, the trainmen very accommodating, very pleasant and agreeable, especially the dining car service, which was the best I have ever experienced in any country. We were taken care of so well and they were so
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accommodating, they could not seem to do enough for us, so we imagined that Mr. Rand had tipped off the railroad people to make the trip as pleasant as possible for us, in other words, we were still under the influence of Mr. Rand, notwithstanding we had bid him good-bye.
One of the principal Pacific Railway dishes that are served on the Northern Pacific Railway, and is in large type on the menu is a great big baked potato, and they have made a specialty of this great big baked potato business, and you are impressed with it from the start. The menu is printed on a card the shape of a great big potato. They make a specialty of getting potatoes that will not weigh less than two pounds and some of them weigh over four pounds and we measured one of them, and it was 11 inches in length and they generally served these baked potatoes every meal.
Some days they have the menu in the shape of a great big apple, which of course, grow in the state of Washington.
The steward of the dining car service could not have been more obliging to anyone than he was to us. Not only the steward, but Mr. Titus, the superintendent of the dining car service of the Northern pacific Railroad was on our train and saw that we were attended to on our entire trip. One of the inspectors of the dining car service, Mr. Leighton, was on part of the trip, and he also saw we were well taken care of, and when we reached Butte, Mont. the ladies were each presented with a large box of candy.
On Friday night, they served an especially fine complimentary dinner for us, which seems to have been gotten up regardless of any expense and on which there was no charge. Unfortunately for me, I was not permitted to partake of this wonderful dinner, as I was ill and lying in my state room for two days. During my illness, unfortunately, we passed through Butte, Mont. about 9 o’clock in the evening and the managers and their wives, of the stores in Butte, and Helena, also Mrs. Gardiner, the wife of the Superintendent of the Seattle District, were at the station, and we were still under the influence of Mr. Rand, because they brought us plenty of fruit and flowers, and I was very sorry I did not have an opportunity of seeing these friends, as they had made extra efforts to come to see us through a snow storm.
I had little chance to see the wonderful scenery, except what I could see on my side of the car by lying in bed, and although we went through the Great Divide Pass over the Rocky Mountains, I saw very little of it. The rest of the party enthused on the scenery however, most of which was on the opposite side of the car.
As. we approached the Great Divide, however, the weather got much colder, and the snow was quite deep, so all day Friday and part of Saturday, I saw very little of the scenery.
Saturday, May 13th, we were on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in the state of Montana and we were pointed out the place where Colonel Roosevelt had his ranch years ago. The country, however, was rather barren and uninteresting, as we were passing through the Great Plains of Montana and we were told that the reason why the meat’s now selling at such high prices, is because all the cattle ranches, throughout this vast territory have practically been abandoned and all the space has been taken up by farmers and settlers and very few cattle are raised in comparison with what there was 25 years ago. We soon passed
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over the border of Montana into North Dakota, into what they call the “bad lands” of North Dakota, and they certainly were bad. It seems nothing will live on such miserable land which is composed of little hills and hummocks and sand, and in fact, it does not seem to produce anything, except once in a while a coal mine. This is the worst territory we had passed through.
All day Saturday and Sunday it was raining, consequently there was no dust and it was very pleasant riding.
We arrived at St. Paul Sunday morning about 7:30 and Mr. Albright was up and met the manager of the St. Paul store, Mr. Worrall, who presented us with a great big box of American Beauties from Chicago Office. This was rather an unexpected surprise and illustrated to us that there are a vew (sic) live wires east of the Rocky Mountains, as well as west.
I forgot to mention the fact, that soon after we crossed the line between Montana and North Dakota, at a little town by the name of Beach, N.D. which is practically on the line of the two states, we received a telegram from Mr. Rand, bidding us good-bye to the San Francisco District and at the same station, we received a telegram from Mr. Mickler, manager of the Chicago Office, bidding us welcome to the Chicago District, both telegrams were handed to us at the same time which was very nice of both of the men, in reminding us of our passage from one district into another.
When we reached Paradise, Mont, we received the following telegram from Mr. Mickler, of the Chicago Office –
“Can we count on you and your party for Monday luncheon. Please wire answer.”
We accepted at once, as we expected to stay in Chicago only one night and left on the 5:30 train the next day.
We rode all day Sunday, from 7:30. in the morning from St. Paul to Chicago, where we arrived at 9 o’clock P.M. I rode over this same route before, fourteen years ago, and I must say that the country looked better than I have ever seen it, as the farms were kept up in excellent condition and evidently produced wonderful crops.
We stopped off in Milwaukee, about a half hour just before dark and we walked up the streets of Milwaukee quite a distance, and saw one of the handsomest buildings we had seen on our entire trip – The North Western Life Insurance Co. Building, which was only completed a year ago. In fact all of the buildings looked good to us in Milwaukee. This was the first time I ever visited this city.
The railroad from St. Paul to Chicago was in very much better condition, as far as the road bed was concerned, than the entire road from Seattle to St. Paul, as here we took the Chicago North Western Railway Route, which is one of the best railroads in the United States and we made very fast time, especially from Milwaukee to Chicago.
We arrived in Chicago about 9 P.M. and were surprised before we got out of the car to hear some one calling out the name “Woolworth”. I did not expect any of the boys to meet us at Chicago at nine o’clock at night and we could not understand who was calling our name, but it was one of the railroad officials, who had been instructed to take care of us, when we arrived in Chicago, which he had in fine shape and saw that
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our baggage and everything was taken care of, but when we got to the gate leading to the station, we saw an array of men waiting for us, with Mr. Mickler and his wife and all of the men connected with the Chicago Office, including the Superintendents of the different districts, who greeted us and welcomed us to Chicago,
While on the train I sent a message ahead to the Blackstone Hotel to secure rooms. We were told we had wasted our money, as the rooms had been secured three days before and the order we gave for a taxicab to take our baggage and ourselves to the Hotel had to be cancelled, as the boys had their own cars there to take care of our baggage, in fact, we were in their hands from that time on and we were not allowed to lift a finger or do anything. They had secured the Regal Suite in the Blackstone Hotel, with a very large sitting room.
When we arrived there, apparently the same American Beauty Roses were there to welcome us, and the room was loaded down with flowers and they gave us a royal welcome, but they were very considerate and knew we were very tired and they left us to stay at the hotel and rest, for they knew the next day would be a very busy day.
Monday, May 15th, we arose as early as practical. When I say “practical”, I mean we had to lie in bed until our suits were pressed before we could get up, as our trunks we had not seen since we left San Francisco and did not expect them until we arrived in New York.
Mrs. Mickler was there early, and took the ladies out to show them the city, while Mr. Albright and I went to our Chicago Office, which we found in excellent condition and found plenty of flowers there to welcome us, as this was our first visit to Chicago Office, since they moved into the beautiful Mc Cormick Building.
The inspection of the office proved very satisfactory and I must say I am proud that the company has such beautiful offices as we found in St. Louis, San Francisco and Chicago, which is a credit to the business to have the office in such fine condition and especially run by such energetic managers and staff, which of course, includes the employees of the company.
We were warned we could not stay in the office very long, that there was a luncheon to be at the Blackstone Hotel at 12:30, with the result we went back to the Blackstone and there the real entertainment just was really to commence.
We had secured the Empire Room in the Blackstone, which was eminently suited for the beautiful and magnificent luncheon that Chicago Office gave to us. At this luncheon the ladies were also invited and there were twenty-three to sit down to the table, which of course, includes the managers of Chicago Office stores, the superintendents and their wives, and when I was introduced to the ladies, I was rather surprised and dumbfounded to see such a handsome lot of ladies connected with the Chicago Office. I knew the men were all good locking, but I did not expect, they had such good judgment to select such beautiful girls for wives. When I say “girls” – young people – asthey all appeared to be quite young and they were dressed in the heighth of fashion.
It is hardy possible for me to describe the decorations on the table, as that is something out of my line. To say that the table was loaded with flowers and beautiful decorations, would be putting it very mild. However, I noticed particularly, two handsomely decorated ladies
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hats on each end of the table, which looked to me very much out of place, until I discovered they were made of candy, and such a luncheon as those boys put up for us! To say that we were all happy and delighted, would be putting it very mild.
The speeches that were made by the men connected with the Chicago Office, were certainly very interesting. They all gave their experiences of how they had worked up and got into the five and ten cent business and into their present positions.
Although I could remember a great many things we had at this dinner it would make this letter entirely too long. Toward the latter part of the dinner, we were surprised to see a couple of very handsome presents given to the ladies, which consisted of a beautiful crystal perfume bottle, handsomely decorated, with gold and enamel tops. Then Mr. A1bright and myself decided that there must be something coming to us. Finally, they presented. Mr. Albright with a very handsome bronze inkwell. When he got up to respond and thank them for this wonderful present, immediately a frog seemed to come up into his throat and he was speechless and dumbfounded, to think he should be picked out among so many and given such a beautiful present.
Time went on, however, and I commenced to feel a little jealous to think everybody else in our party had received presents and apparently none was coming to me, but Mr. Mickler got up and made a wonderful speech and I was presented with one of the handsomest cups I have ever received from any dinner or luncheon – a beautiful silver loving cup, about fourteen inches high appropriately engraved. This was certainly too much for me and I was in about the same condition Mr. Albright was, and simply overcome and surprised with such a wonderful gift, and I again take this opportunity to again thank the Managers of the Chicago Office for the beautiful presents they gave the ladies and the beautiful souvenir they gave Mr. Albright and the wonderful loving cup they gave to me.
This luncheon lasted about two hours and a half, I forgot to mention they had also procured an orchestra for our entertainment during the luncheon, and among other pieces they played, was the same we had heard in Los Angeles during our luncheon party there, also the same we heard in San Francisco, during a dinner party there – “The End of A Perfect Day”, and several other beautiful selections.
We were very sorry to be obliged to break up this elegant luncheon party, but we had not seen the stores in Chicago and a few other things, so we had to hustle to catch the 5:30 train to New York.
We then visited the two large stores on State St. and found them in very nice condition. We also visited our competitor’s store and a hurried glance at Marshall Fields & Co, and returned to the station, where we took the 5:30 Lake Shore Limited, and here was a crowd to bid us good-bye, with scores of flowers, fruit, etc.
The following people were at the luncheon:-
– over –
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Mr. & Mrs. C. E Mickler, Mr.R.H. Strongman,
Mr. & Mrs. C, E. Stirling,
Mr. &. Mrs H, D. Pruden,
Mr. & Mrs. S. E. Walker,
Mr. & Mrs. C. H. Tolle,
Mr. & Mrs. W. C. Allen,
Mr. & Mrs. F. G. Young,
Mr. & Mrs. F. D. Sprague,
Mr. & Mrs. G, H.Wheeler,
Mr & Mrs. H. R.Albright,
Miss W. Salter,
Mr. F. W. Woolworth,
You will notice that all the men connected with the Chicago Office are married except Mr. Strongman. We are not yet prepared to announce what is going to happen to him later on, but you can all do a little guessing on your own hook.
Before we left Chicago, we had decided to stop off at Syracuse and go to Watertown to attend the annual meeting of the Company on Wednesday, the 17th of May and they fixed up our tickets in good shape, so we could stop off and take a side trip to Watertown. We arrived at Syracuse at 10:30 A.M. Tuesday May 16th and we immediately visited our store on South Salina St. andsaw the manager, Mr. J. K. Brownell. After visiting our competitor’s stores and getting luncheon at the Hotel, we were driven through the city to see the sights until our train left at 1:50. Mr. Brownell accompanied us on this drive and pointed out the principal sights of Syracuse.
I forgot to mention that when we arrived at Syracuse, there was a young man calling out our name, the same as they did in Chicago and this young man took care of our baggage, arranged our tickets and transfers and everything in mighty fine shape. This was new to us, and it seems the influence of Mr. Rand was still with us. We thought we had gotten away from him entirely, so we gave him the credit of getting the railroad officials next to our party.
Mr. Ed. Smith of Buffalo met us in Syracuse and accompanied us to Watertown, where we arrived at 4:10 P M Tuesday afternoon, and here again we were met by a railroad official, who took care of our baggage and had been informed about our tickets and it was all arranged that we should go back to New York in safe hands, as our tickets would be all taken care of. This certainly was a surprise to us, to think that Mr. Rand’s influence had reached as far as Watertown apparently.
We stopped at the Woodruff Hotel in Watertown and went out to walk around. Upon our return, the manager of our store, Mr. Eldridge, came to us excitedly and informed us that Mr. W. H. Moore, one of the originators of the five and ten cent business, had just died. Mr. Moore died exactly one year from the time Mr. S. H. Knox died.
Before receiving this sad message, however, I had been interviewed by the Secretary of the Chamber Of Commerce and promised to be a guest at the Chamber of Commerce on the following day, Wednesday, at one o’clock. It seems that great preparations had been made for this luncheon party and it had been arranged by Mr. W.H. Moore himself. The Chamber of Commerce had tried to give me such a luncheon once before, two years ago, but I was taken ill and could not attend. There would probably have been
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over 500 people at that luncheon, which represent the commercial interests of Watertown, N. Y. had it not been for the death of Mr. Moore, but on account of his death, the luncheon was called off, so we decided to stay in Watertown until after the funeral, which was on the following Friday afternoon.
In the meantime, however we were kept quite busy, in trying to put through a deal with the Trustees of the Henry Keep Home and trying to secure a larger store in Watertown and possibly put up a new building. An agreement was reached, however, the following Friday afternoon, just before the train left for New York and if everything goes through satisfactorily, we will probably get possession of the property next January. Then we propose to have a very handsome store in Watertown.
We attended the annual meeting of our Corporation at noon on Wednesday.
Thursday there was a cold drizzly rain all day.
Friday morning we went up to Great Bend to see the Woolworth Memorial Church and in the afternoon we attended Mr. Moore’s Funeral. The body lay in state from twelve to two in Trinity Church. Mr. Moore was so well known in Watertown, a great many people availed themselves of the privilege of reviewing the remains. The services were held in the church at 3:30 and the interment was at Brookside Cemetary. It was a very beautiful day on Friday and everything passed off very smoothly.
The newspapers had long accounts about Mr. Moore’s career, having been fifty-five years in business in one place, the corner store, where our store is now located.
We arrived in New York, Saturday morning, May 20th.
F. W. WOOLWORTH.