Treasures of the Valley

A Bride Shops in Montrose – 1937

Our former local newspaper, The Ledger, was always touting the benefits of shopping locally rather than in Glendale or Pasadena. With that in mind, in 1937 they sent two reporters out posing as a bride and groom shopping together to outfit their new home. The idea was to show that everything a couple could need could be purchased locally.

This article contrasts with the way a modern couple might shop for their post-wedded life. Whereas a couple today might make most purchases online (perhaps all through Amazon) in 1937 the shopping trip was on foot and involved visits to multiple stores. Here’s the bride’s report on her “honeymoon tour” of Montrose. (I’ll cover the groom next week.)

The first stop was the hardware store. The bride was miffed when the first thing they were shown was a garbage can. Her interest perked up at their large selection of the new Pyrex ware, featuring innovative clear glass cookware.

“One could watch the food cook!” gushed the bride. She also settled on a whistling teakettle.

The next stop was the jewelry store where a selection of rings was viewed. At the furniture store, an economical and practical studio couch was chosen, along with some rustic outdoor furniture for lawn and garden use. But the prize was a maple bedroom suite. Maple wood furniture was all the fashion.

In a stop at the Moise Electric Shop, the bride was taken with the all-new Westinghouse electric roaster. It included nested glass baking dishes and an accessory grill for hot cakes and chops.

“This roaster will cook everything that can be cooked on an electric stove!” However an electric range was viewed at the Home Appliance shop. It was a Woolwine stove, made right here in Los Angeles, which would be lower priced because of no need to pay freight.

The drug store provided the usual needed bathroom items such as bandages, tape, toothbrushes, soap and talcum powder, along with some items we don’t see much of today such as bicarbonate of soda and iodine.

Across the street was a dress shop. The bride selected several outfits, including one with a sharkskin jacket, and another with a charming new ankle-length dress. She pronounced her selections “very ducky.”

Shopping for refrigerators required trips to three different stores. She liked the G.E. refrigerator simply because it offered a foot pedal door opener. Kelvinator offered an exterior thermometer that told the inside temperature. The Hotpoint refrigerator was best for making ice, able to produce 12 pounds at a time. Unusual in the mix was the Electrolux refrigerator that, despite its name, was not run by electricity but instead by natural gas.

“There is heat at one end and ice at the other,” promoted the salesman.

A local gift store supplied the couple with a 32-piece dinner set along with vases and ashtrays. Scanlon’s Dress Shop rounded out the purchases with bed and table linens, washcloths and towels, along with lingerie and pajamas. They now had all they needed to outfit their new home.

And that brings us to their last local purchase – a lot on which to build their newlywed home. Three different realtors were consulted. The first realtor showed them a lot on Hermosa Avenue in Verdugo City. It faced north with a view of the mountains and had many trees on the parkway. The soil there was not too sandy – perfect for a garden.

Wasson Realty on Foothill Boulevard offered a lot high up in the valley, between Rosemont and Briggs avenues. It was a lot carved out of the old olive orchards and was shady and well-treed. It had a beautiful view of the valley.

The last was a lot offered by Vista Realty. It was right on Montrose Avenue facing north; a quiet neighborhood but easy walking distance to the Montrose shopping district. (That area would all be apartments today.)

This 1937 article showed a slice of life from a long-ago era when nothing could be purchased online. This was the bride’s report but the groom had a different take, and I’ll cover that next week.


Mike Lawler is the former president of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley
and loves local history.
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