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Selling

What do these photos tell you about the different type of goods were sold in city stores?

Gano-Downs Department Store

This is the boys department of the Gano-Downs department store. The table and shelves hold boys pants, shirts, and hats.

Gano-DownsDepartment Store

Photo: Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

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Department stores were among the most popular stores of the late 1800s. They were like several small shops under one roof. Each section or department of the store specialized in a different line of goods, such as boys and girls clothing.

Their Own Words

"We went in the big front door. There were long counters piled high with bolts of goods and boxes of things like handkerchiefs and gloves. There were stools in front of the counters where mamas sat when they bought things. The stools went round when you hit them. "

Source: Edwina H. Fallis, When Denver and I Were Young, (Denver: Sage Books, 1956): 80.

A Denver Street Market

This is a photo of an outdoor vegetable market in Denver. The photo was taken in 1901.

A Denver Street Market

Photo: Colorado Historical Society

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Cities in the late 1800s had outdoor markets similar to the “Farmers’ Markets” of today. These markets provided fresh produce at discount prices. The market stall in this photo was managed by African Americans.

A Saddle And Harness Shop

This is a saddle and harness store in Grand Junction. It also sold horse collars, which are hanging from ceiling.

A Saddle And Harness Shop

Photo: Colorado Historical Society

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Some businesses of the 1800s also made the items they sold. This Grand Junction store also had a shop that made saddles and harnesses (see Manufacturing, Photo 3). Some wagon and carriage dealers also built the vehicles.

Their Own Words

"[In the late 1870s in Pueblo] George Gallup had a harness and saddle shop. His saddles became famous throughout the West. Many of them were woks of art."

Source: James Owen, “Reminiscences of Early Pueblo,”  Colorado Magazine, 22 (May 1945): 105.

A Jewelry Store In Denver

This is a photo of Sam Mayer’s Diamond Palace. The store sold jewelry, watches, picture frames, silverware, and crystal bowls.

A Jewelry Store In Denver

Photo: Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

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Cities had many kinds of specialty stores. These included jewelry, hardware, and drug stores.

Their Own Words

"Just beyond the convent was a two-story building where Mr. Howard had his 'Drug Store.' This was truly a drug store with the great jars of colored liquid in the windows and smelling of real drugs…. His store boasted a telephone, which could be used by anyone needing to make an emergency call…. One of our purchases was 'Rubifoam,' a colored liquid dentifrice which was a beautiful red and tasted good. Castile soap was found here also. It was not a 'fancy' soap in appearance but came in long, narrow, irregular bars, which had to be cut into smaller pieces at home. But it was considered the best and the only kind suitable for babies."

Source: Quantrille D. McClung, Memoirs of My Childhood and Youth in North Denver (Denver: Colorado Genealogical Society, 1979): 12.

A Denver Street Peddler

This is a photo of a street peddler on a sidewalk in Denver, Colorado. It was taken during a festival held in Denver in 1901. It was called the Festival of Mountain and Plains. The man is selling flags and souvenirs to festival goers.

A Denver Street Peddler

Photo: Colorado Historical Society

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Street vendors and peddlers also were common in Colorado cities. Some farmers came to town to sell vegetables door-to-door.

A "Novelty" Shop

This is the interior of a dry goods store. The photo was taken about 1910.

A "Novelty" Shop

Photo: Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

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Dry goods stores sold a wide variety of items. These included fabric, cloth, and clothing, which were called “dry goods.” The stores also sold “notions,” which included buttons, pins, needles, and other small useful household items.

Their Own Words

"In the stores of that day there were also bolts of cloth, papers of pins and needles, cards of buttons and tape, large glass cases where the thread was arranged, anything one might need."

Source: Quantrille D. McClung, Memoirs of My Childhood and Youth in North Denver (Denver: Colorado Genealogical Society, 1979): 41.