Another look at Broadway
By Phyllis May Badgley
Here's another installment about the 1930's featuring the Broadway block between Second and Third streets.
The northwest corner of Broadway and Second housed a grocery store which I recall as Skaggs. As a child I was impressed to see the huge stalk of bananas hanging "upside down" from a hook in the ceiling. Produce was usually delivered to the merchant by Baker-La Grande Grocery Co., the area wholesaler. Prominent businessman J. W. Stuchell was the president of that firm. His daughter, Mildred Rogers, is one of our community benefactors.
Next to the grocery store was the Ed Cochrane Drug Co. A health food outlet is housed there today. The drug store held a special attraction for me. On the west wall was a soda fountain, counter, and about six stools. As far as I know it was the only drug store in Baker to feature a confectionery fountain and there's not been another since. Mr. Cochrane owned a drug store in Haines before opening in Baker in 1924. He was the father of local longtime teacher Eileen Lee. Eileen helped intermittently at the fountain: however, she was college bound to Willamette University. She studied piano, voice, and organ. Returning to Baker she was tutored by J. Roscoe Lee, well known master of the organ at the Methodist church. Mr. Cochrane's wife, Susan, strongly supported the business and baked daily one cake and two pies for use at the drug store fountain.
Druggist Cochrane filled a prescription for my mother in 1926. After finishing the "flu" capsules, Mother kept the tiny box and placed a lock of my baby hair in it. It's among my keepsakes now. There is a vast difference in color of my then-red hair compared to present day salt-and-pepper grey.
Cochrane drug labels were handwritten on distinctive orange paper, as were the folders that held developed pictures. Processing prices were 10 cents for developing and four cents per print. Our family camera (Brownie) had eight pictures on a roll. One of my fondest memories of Mr. Cochrane was he fixed my broken camera.
It was one I had earned by selling Cloverine salve door to door. The latch that held the film had broken off. His ingenuity produced a straight pin which he bent to proper shape and provided the correction. His invention was a success, for it held in place many more rolls of film. Coincidentally, Mr. Cochrane's future son-in-law, Jimmy Lee, would also work in a drug store (Levinger's) in the camera department.
Langrell's Trading Post was west of the drug store. Buy, sell, or trade was the slogan used by propretor Charles Langrell. This kindly man had snowy white hair. He was respected for his honesty and fairness. "Charlie" served long tenure on the local school board. His grandson, Richard Langrell, is restoring a Baker City historic home.
A shoe repair shop located next to Langrell's. New shoes and Money were not plentiful in the '30s, therefore repair shops were. At times we placed cardboard dividers from Shredded Wheat inside our shoe when soles wore thin. Others tell me this was indeed a common practice.
I remember going there to get shoes fixed. While waiting in a squeaky chair, I traced with sock foot, a pattern of cracks in the linoleum floor. On one specific occasion my dad took me to buy a pair of new shoes at Montgomery Ward (in the Rand Building at First and Washington.) The back entrance opened into the shoe department where Mr. Dilsheimer greeted us. I secretly hoped for a pair of black patent shoes, so was crestfallen when the clerk placed a brown oxford on my foot. He explained to dad that this shoe was durable, and cost $2.99. Standard test for proper fit seemed to be a "thumb dent" in the toe of the shoe. "We'll take them" Dad said, "and better have an extra pair of laces, also." This added eight cents to the purchase. I was grateful for the new shoes, but bemoaned the blisters that formed on my heals next day. One redeeming feature of the oxfords, i discovered, was that roller skate clamps held better on thicker soles.
A Texaco station was located at Broadway and Third. I recall Emery Slocum as the owner. An upright metal stand on the premises showed two identical Scottie dogs, advertising "Check and double Check" your auto. Miller and Miller Garage occupied the remainder of Broadway block between Third and Fourth streets. Owners were twins Ray and Roy Miller, and younger brother, Harvey.
Phyllis (May) Badgley, a lifelong Baker City resident, is retired.
Used with permission Baker City Herald