Throwback Thursday: Graduations

Good morning! This week, in the spirit of graduations, we wanted to share a fun find that features graduates of generations past!

A roll of class photos , dated 1936. 

 

Signatures across the back of the early yearbook-like page- 1936

A roll of heavy photo paper, adorned with signatures scrolled in various colored ink came out of our cabinet today – the photos on the other side appear to be senior portraits from 82 years ago. A vintage variation of the modern yearbook, this photo scroll displays the class of 1936 at the “Allen C. Mason Intermediate School”.

A closer look at the Allen C. Mason Intermediate school in Tacoma, WA - 1936. The school has since been rebuilt and renamed Mason Middle School 

Unfamiliar with the name of the school, we started taking a look at the black and white head shots and reading the handwritten names below the faces. With Brad’s help, we discovered that this class was that of the late Bettie ( Klopfenstein  ) Fitterer. Bettie, who was Brad’s Aunt, Jon Fitterer’s mother and Joe Fitterer’s wife, attended the Tacoma school that was later rebuilt in 2003. Today, the Allen C. Mason Intermediate School goes by the name of Mason Middle School; though the original building was demolished, the new school remains a staple in the Proctor neighborhood of the city.

Pictured : Bettie Klopfenstein Fitterer 

Though yearbooks photos have evolved over time, improving with advances in technology, the idea has remained the same. A collection of photos commemorating a class of eager graduates, often telling a story of fashion trends and pop culture.

Almost by coincidence, when we went to put this rolled photo away , we discovered a Central Washington College of Education 1938 yearbook! This book is in nearly perfect condition for its age, the pages are crisp, the photos are clear and the finish is glossy.

Front Cover and inside views of the annual publication from the Central Washington College of Education - 1938 

This annual publication is very much like any modern high school yearbook that you’d pick up at the end of the school year. Athletics, activities, clubs, class photos and head shots line the pages in black and white. Many of these traditions have transcended time, though we see more color and less advertising in today’s versions! Fitterer’s grabbed a spot in the advertising section as well!

Congratulations to the class of 2018! If you’re around town celebrating a graduate, stop by and see us!

Throwback Thursday : A 91 Year Old Newspaper!

Good Morning!

You never know what you’re going to stumble across when you head down to the basement for cookie dough! This week’s throwback was an accidental find, and an old one at that!

Fresh cookies are, of course, a staple at Fitterer’s. We bake them every morning, and enjoy spreading a little joy in the form of sugar to our awesome customers. Last week, while prepping the morning’s treats, we stumbled upon a roll of media memorabilia. The bundle was full of newspapers and miscellaneous prints of varying age, held together by a piece of masking tape marked “1927-1983”.

We carefully peeled back this old tape, and started going through the stack of papers, some clearly older than others. The roll contained several articles on the Fitterer family, Fitterer’s Furniture and downtown Ellensburg, from assorted publishers.

An especially old set of pages stood out right away, not due to discoloration or damage, but the advertisements! The name stood out as well, “The Evening Record” was a predecessor to the “Daily Record’ we know today! The year on the paper: 1927.

The first ad we saw was for Fitterer Brothers Furniture, featuring a Colonial Range for $79.50. We’ve come across a few Fitterer’s ads of this vintage in frames, but never in a true publication, so this was a fun find! Any newspaper approaching 100 years old is rare, especially one in such great condition with such little protection!

On the back page ( Page 4.) , Yantis Furniture has a competitor ad for various home furnishings, situated above a vintage ad for Camel cigarettes. Cigarette ads are certainly something you see less of these days!

Each ad in this 91 year old newspaper is truly a fantastic look into the past! The hand drawn artwork done for these antique ads, and even the font type isa beautiful testament to the way things used to be done.

Enjoy browsing the photos of one of our oldest throwback finds!

Throwback: Dollhouse

Good morning!

There’s something so special about the nostalgia surrounding old toys. This week, we brought in some vintage doll furniture to feature for our weekly throwback – a doll collection that you may recognize, in fact!

Suzy Cute in her bedroom set up! The coat hanging from the coat rack is actually a Mattel Ken© doll jacket , circa 1950's/ 60's

 

We have a mix of old toys, stored carefully in a basement for decades and most have held up brilliantly over the course of their 50+ years!

In colors of vibrant yellow, pink and green, the collection includes a full bedroom set for a beloved doll by the name of “Suzy Cute”.

The ‘Suzy Cute’ doll, and her bedroom furniture were made in 1964 in Elizabeth N.J. by Topper Toys. Topper was a popular toy manufacturer in the 1960's , producing a variety of dolls and other toys for children. Topper also went by the brand name “ Deluxe Reading” and had a few other name changes over the years.

We only have the “Suzy Cute” doll, but after some research, it looks like she had some sisters that went by ‘ Suzy Smart’ and ‘Suzy Homemaker’ as well. You can also check out this reel of old Topper commercials on YouTube!

 

Pictured Above: Pages from the 'Suzy Cute' booklet that came with the doll's original packaging. 

 

Our little collection includes Suzy herself, her coat rack, dresser and crib with the original mattress included. The mattress even has a law tag attached, like you’d find on one we’d deliver to your home today! We actually looked up the company listed on this toy tag; though its not real, the address of 121 New Jersey Railroad Ave appears to be home to Vara Contracting Co Inc.

Pictured Above: The 'Suzy Cute' crib mattress law tag. 

 

While these fun vintage toys aren’t as old as some of our antiques around the store, they are neat blast from the past! We found a few other odds and ends from other companies in the 60’s and 70’s as well – take a look at some of these fun toys from Storykins! We especially love the mini black and white tv set! 

 

Throwback Thursday: Cowboys

Good Afternoon!

Between the MLB, college, high school, club and local youth associations, baseball season is in full swing! In keeping with the spirit of the season, this week we are featuring a vintage American Legion baseball uniform. The size small, button down jersey is embroidered across the front with the team’s name, “Cowboys” and “Fitterer Bros” ( the teams’ sponsor) across the back. The #6 jersey is in excellent condition for a vintage piece, and its very heavy.

 Though it’s difficult to say exactly when the top was made, as it was used over several years, there are a few markers that let us know how vintage it truly is.

One of the first indicators that this jersey was made prior to 1960 is the inside tag. Marked “Russell Southern Co.”, the company branding changed in the 60’s when they became “Russell Athletic”. Another marker is the zipper. The brass ‘Conmatic’ zipper is marked USA 44’.

If you played for this American Legion team, we’d love to hear from you! Photos are encouraged!There’s no doubt this is an old top, but Brad and Pat Fitterer both wore this uniform in the 60’s when they played for the Cowboys. Cowboy’s players included several prominent names in the Kittitas Valley; they were even coached by Dean Nicholson at one point!

And just for fun , here’s some early baseball trivia!

1. Abner Doubleday is said to have invented the game of baseball in Cooperstown, New York around 1835

2. The first ever women’s baseball team was fielded by Vassar College in 1866.

3. Under the name of The American Baseball Association, the Beer and Whiskey League was created in 1882.

4. “ Take me out to the Ball Game “ was written in 1908.

5. The first baseball game was broadcast over the radio in 1921.

6. Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run in 1929.

7. The baseball “Hall of Fame” opens in 1936.

8. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is created in 1943.

9. The first World Series was televised in 1947, featuring the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers.

10.The New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers move out west in 1957, becoming the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodges  - California’s first major league teams.
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Source : http://activecities.com/blog/take-me-out-to-the-ballgame-a-historical-timeline-of-baseball/

Throwback Thursday: Landlords

Good Afternoon!

Another Thursday, and another fun find in the mix of memories we keep around this century old building!  Typically we only get to go back as far as 1896 in terms of throwback finds. This week, an even older story made its way to the blog, thanks to a friendly expert at the Ellensburg public library! 

While browsing through boxes in a closet upstairs, we found a newspaper clipping. Attached to the clipping was a letter that explained this article was found in the archives at the public library. Reference Specialist Milton Wagy shared the article, taken from Page 3 of the of the Ellensburg Capital Newspaper in March of 1893. The article features a piece on the change of management of the Horton Hotel – just before the Fitterer brothers took over.

The reporter describes the transition, when Frank and Phillip Fitterer re-opened the dining area of the hotel. Shortly after they would take over all of the rooms as well. The complete change of hands was to occur on April 1st, 1893 according to the article – a little over 125 years ago today!

As Mr. Wagy pointed out in his accompanying letter, the reporter didn’t shy away from his feelings for the former manager of the hotel!

“They will take possession of the rooms on April 1st, at which time, it is understood, the former landlord will leave the town for good. So be it.”

Clearly disgruntled with the former landlord, the writer welcomed the Fitterer brothers with high praise and confidence.

“As the citizens of Ellensburgh can now appreciate the importance of having a pleasant, courteous and public spirited landlord”

The brothers of course transitioned to home furnishings following their time managing the Horton. They took their 'public spirited' , service based approach to their new venture; cultivating success and a strong sense of community in the heart of downtown Ellensburg - or Ellensburgh, as it was in 1893. 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday : Acquisition

We are always immensely grateful to have enjoyed a long history in a town where history presents itself, quite literally, on every street corner. We’ve told you all about the building here on the corner of 4th and Main, gone over the history of our prized cash register and even taken you on a journey through the past to figure out exactly when old fabrics and stamps made their way to the store.

Some items have been in our possession for up to 110 years – but others come to us by different means. This week we wanted to highlight a few antiques that we’ve been privileged to acquire from friends of the store and community members who enjoy the history of city.

Most days people take things out of Fitterer’s and back to their own home. Other times however; they bring something in to us!

We’ve received yard sticks imprinted with Fitterer Bros. branding and contact info from days gone by. Some of these we can’t even date back to, as their age and rarity make it difficult to pin point. The yard stick pictured below for example , we simply could not date. We usually try to find clues on the item to give us an idea of age, and the phone number “Main 97” would be the most distinctive marker. With no search results on the web, we actually took to our Facebook friends for this one. We got a few leads and possible date of 1922 from our fans and local history buffs!

Antique yard stick , given to the store by a friend. This is oldest Fitterer Bros Yard stick that we've come across thus far.

Discovering something new is always a joy -as is discovering something with an interesting back story! A few days ago, we were fortunate to receive a lithograph that was removed from the side of an old building in the process of being demolished. The metal plate, about one yard wide was a newspaper lithograph that happened to feature Former Rodeo Queen Kathie Fitterer and her 1965 Royal court. We were able to share this treasure with the Kathie herself, and learned that its common to find these lithograph panels on old buildings.

1965 Lithograph found on a building being demolished - featuring Rodeo Queen Kathie Fitterer and the Royal Court 

Right side of the lithograph - featuring the full Rodeo Royal Court

 

We’ve even received China, purchased as a wedding gift at Fitterer’s just a few years after the new store on 4th and Main was opened, and an amazing 1896 coin on another occasion.

1896 Coin, given to us by John Davidson III 

 

Taken from our original Facebook Post: This beautiful vintage cream pitcher with gold detailing was a gift for Mr. and Mrs. John Ringer ( Married March 1909) , later given to Fitterer's by Merle Ringer. The Johnson Bros. (England) pitcher was purchased in a china set from Fitterer's in the early 1900s; a note included with the pitcher states that Mr. and Mrs. Bert Richeson
( Married February 1910 ), also had one of the same sets purchased at Fitterer's.

We value the relationship we have with our customers and the community of Ellensburg above all else. We love to be able to share stories that make their way to us through the generous tight knit network that we call our friends, family and neighbors. 

Throwback Thursday: The Fitterer Building

Good morning! It's another sunny March day in Ellensburg!

Today we’d like to take a trip back to when the Fitterer building that we know today first came to the corner of 4th and Main!

People often come into the store and ask us if we've been in the same building all 122 years we've been in business. While the store we know today has been standing for over a Century , the Fitterer brothers (Phillip and Frank at this time) , sold home goods and furnishings at a location on the corner of 3rd and Main.  The original 3rd Avenue location was actually very close to the old Robber's Roost trading post opened by Andrew Jackson Splawn and Ben Burch in 1870. 

The Fitterer's success, driven by top notch service, hard work and long hours, resulted in expansion. In 1907 the the South East lot at the corner of 4th Avenue and Main Street was purchased for $6000, and construction on the new building started shortly after. 

Over 225,000 bricks make up the building -  the majority were actually manufactured locally in Ellensburg at the Cobel brickyard. The beautiful brick and large display windows identify the impressive 120’ x 60’ structure; completed in February of 1909.

One of the most unique features of the Fitterer building is the second floor balcony. Something many people don’t know, is that the building was actually designed to stand just two stories tall. The balcony, added to the 18ft first floor, would later be converted into a second floor for additional showroom space. This unique modification used a system of steel rods to suspend the second floor from the third floor ceiling. If you find yourself walking through the store today, you may notice the rods while you browse. These, along with the zinc plated cash register are just a few reminders of Fitterer’s earliest days!

A look at the suspension system on our second floor. The second floor is suspended by the 3rd floor ceiling. 

While there have been modifications over time, the 21,600 square foot building has been fully operational since its construction in 1909. The next time you find yourself downtown, stop by and see us. We’d love to share our story with you!

Throwback Thursday : Delivered.

Good Morning!

This Thursday we’d like to share a little bit about how furniture was delivered at Fitterer’s in years past!

You’ve probably seen our delivery crew out and about on the streets of Ellensburg , Yakima, Wentatchee, Leavenworth – or even Seattle! We actually deliver statewide , so you never know where you might see a Fitterer’s truck. Thanks to modern technology, trips across the state are possible today, allowing us the opportunity to build relationships with our customers who don’t call Ellensburg home.

Our current delivery truck that travels locally and across Washington State.

While we have grown with the times, it’s fun to look back at the history of business operations at the store!

Naturally, there were no box trucks to fill up in 1896. So how did Fitterer’s get merchandise to customers back then? Well, as the stories go, it all starts with a few horses and a wagon.

Walking into the store today, you’ll see the sales office in the back left corner. Presently we process paperwork, take payments, and keep our vintage cash register in this space. In the 1890’s however, this is where  the delivery horses took their breaks. It sure is hard to imagine horses standing where desks sit today!

As time went on the horses were replaced with more modern means of delivery. The buggy pictured below is rumored to have been the first replacement for the teams of horses, though an exact date for this change is unknown.

Fitterer Bros Delivery vehicle - rumored to have been the first replacement for the delivery horses. Behind the buggy is the bottom of the Webster hotel that used to stand on 3rd and Pearl.

Vehicles for delivery continued to be updated as time went on, including a newer version of the original buggy, and also a vintage version of today’s modern box truck. Each vehicle was stamped with ‘Fitterer Bros Furniture’ and served as tools to get home furnishings to customers all over Ellensburg.

A newer version of the original Fitterer Bros Buggy served as a replacement in later years. 

One of the original Fitterer's box trucks used for delivery. 

Though the way we deliver furniture has evolved, our commitment to a quality customer experience remains unchanged. With statewide delivery being a possibility today, if you’re passing through Ellensburg and in need of furniture – stop by and see us! We have cookies, too. 

Throwback Thursday: Mattress Trivia!

Good afternoon!

We hope to find you well on this beautiful Thursday! This week, in keeping with our theme of mattresses, we will be outlining some mattress trivia that was originally featured on a Fitterer’s 110th anniversary banner in 2006. While you may have heard a few of the more common facts, some of these tidbits may surprise you!

10,000 Years Ago:

In the Neolithic period we find the first evidence of people sleeping on primitive beds made of soft branches and furs.

3400 B.C. :

Egyptian Pharaohs are the first credited with building a platform off the ground on which to sleep. These were known as pallets and were used by royalty. Common people slept on palm bows heaped in the corner of their home.

Roman Empire:

The first luxury bed – usually stuffed with reeds, hay, wool, or feathers , and covered in luxurious fabrics. Romans are also credited with creating the first waterbed. The sleeper would recline in a cradle of warm water until drowsy, then be lifted onto an adjacent cradle with a mattress, where they would be rocked to sleep.

16th & 17th Centuries:

Mattresses were generally stuffed with straw or down and placed atop a latticework of rope for support. Over time these ropes would loosen and need to be tightened, hence the phrase “Sleep Tight”.

1800s :

Mattresses were filled with cotton, hair or feathers. Variations of cotton were the best sellers and foundations were usually open coiled boxsprings. Assorted vermin ( bugs, bacteria, mildew) were typical as an accepted component of even the most royal beds.

1950’s:

Foam Rubber (latex) mattresses and pillows appeared on the market.

1960’s:

Modern waterbed introduced. Adjustable beds become popular with consumers.

1980’s:

Airbeds introduced

1990’s:

Spacious sleeping is on the rise. In 1999, the queen-size mattress became America’s most popular choice for the first time. It beat the twin size.

Today:

Choice and comfort are the key words in contemporary bedding. In addition to an almost unlimited range of innerspring mattress designs, new types of foam mattress cores ( such as ‘memory” or visco-elastic foam and refinements to traditional latex) as well as airbeds, waterbeds, and high-tech adjustable sleep sets offer consumers attractive, quality alternatives. Pillow top mattresses, a popular innovation in luxury, offer an extra mattresses are common.

Though its been a few years since we put this information together for the first time, today’s mattress trends are still largely the same. Choice and individualized comfort are key in choosing the perfect mattress by contemporary standards. If you need a helping hand , our mattress experts are here to help you start sleeping soundly! For more on mattress shopping, check out last weeks’ tip blog!

Tip Tuesday! Mattresses

It’s no secret that sleep is an important factor if you’re trying to stay healthy. It’s also no secret that if your mattress isn’t up to par, you won’t be achieving the maximum benefits from a snooze.

Industry standards say you should replace your mattress every ten years. Sometimes though, ten years might be just too long to wait before upgrading the surface you’re sleeping on. So what should you be looking for when you think its time to make a change? We asked our mattress expert, Aaron, for some tips on when to replace your mattress, and what to look for when you’re searching for ‘the one’.

Is it time for a new mattress?

Pain: If you wake up with pain in your back and neck or you’re simply feeling sore and achy when you wake in the morning, its probably time to consider replacing your mattress. Mattresses that are past their prime can cause tossing and turning, leading to sore muscles, less REM cycles, and just general fatigue.

You’ve Had it Forever : While sometimes a mattress will need replacing before the 10 year mark, other times you simply need a new mattress because, well, yours is old. If it was fantastic when you bought it, you may be hesitant to go to a newer model. Over time, though, body composition can change. When it does, your mattress should be able to support any variations.

What kinds of mattresses are available?

There many mattress types available , each claiming their own unique traits. These are a few of the most common that you’ll see on a showroom floor:

Innerspring : The most commonly used in households across the country. According to furniture.com, an estimated 80 percent of of homes are using innerspring mattresses. These types of mattresses are constructed using steel coils to support body weight.

Latex : These mattresses constructed of either organic, blended or fully synthetic latex material are popular with shoppers today, and are typically hailed for their firmness and high durability.

Memory Foam : Memory foam mattresses are another popular mattress model on the market today. These mattresses are constructed from polyurethane molding that allows for conformity to the shape of the body.

Hybrid : Hybrid mattresses typically combine both memory foam and innerspring mattress technology. They allow for the body hugging feel of a memory foam mattress with the sturdiness and support of innerspring.

Something each of these mattress types will have in common are variations of firmness and style.

What's Right for Me?

It’s difficult to pin point pros and cons for each material without actually laying on the mattress itself. Mattress comfort depends so much on the individual, its difficult to know what's best without a trial. While one person may need the support of a firm latex model, another person may sleep best on a plush memory foam or hybrid.

We asked Aaron what to avoid when you venture out to buy your next mattress - he suggested staying away from pushy sales people. While no one likes to be in a pressure situation, if your mattress salesperson is steering you towards a model that isn’t right for you, you may find yourself in the market for another mattress sooner than you’d like.

 

Definition Sources: https://www.furniture.com/mattress