113 Year Anniversary Memories
Do you have Greenbaum's-related memories
you'd like to share with us and have included on
this webpage? Maybe it's a
favorite memory as a child - or you can ask your
mom and dad what they remember about
Greenbaum's. We'd love to hear from you!
If you have a memory to share, please send
it to us via email and remember
to include your name and the subject line "113
Year Anniversary Memories". All submissions
may be edited. Thanks!
And now, for some memories....
• From Ann Scott:
When I was a teenager in the late 70's and early 80's
my mother would take me to Greenbaums to pick up notions
primarily for hand sewing, mending, etc. Once I had
taken "Home Ec", I became very interested in sewing. I
remember coming in to Greenbaums and being fascinated
with a kit on display on the wall that could be
purchased to make a down vest, complete with packaged
goose down in the kit. Every month when Mom and I went
to the store, I looked at that kit hoping one day I
could afford to buy it but at the same time feeling a
little trepidation that I might not yet have the skills
to complete it.
When I returned to Salem last year after living almost
25 yrs in NC, my BROTHER (of all people) suggested I go
to Greenbaums when I had mentioned to him that I wanted
to do some quilting while I was here. What a
transformation! Yes, the store looked and smelled
familiar but the fabrics and quilts were something to be
dazzled by! It was almost like being in a candy store,
but much, much better!
• From Irene Greenbaum Depenbrock
From 1916 this store was like a second home to me. All
it took was mother’s permission and five cents for car
fare and I had safe transportation from home to store.
The store looked very different in those days. The
shape of the front windows was the same and the two
front doors, but little else.
The south window always displayed men’s wear. The
center window was for millenary and the north window
contained women’s and children’s things.
To reach the millenary department you walked straight
through the main building, thru the archway into the
warehouse. An old wood stove was the only heat. There
were tables of lovely hats and three or four ladies
decorating more. That was always the busiest place in
the store, because every lady and every girl wore a hat.
In the main building the men’s and women’s departments
were divided at the center front window by shelving and
counters. This division ran clear back to the shoe
department where the sexes came harmoniously together.
The shoe department was my favorite spot. It had such a
wonderful and beautiful ladder. The ceiling was a good
six feet higher than it is today. I loved to climb those
pretty little light oak stairs that ran so smoothly
along a little metal rail. They were just wide enough so
I could sit on any step I wished. I would climb to the
top and look all over the store. Then it was easy to
grab a shelf and pull myself along the full length of
the track. No one ever forbid me this pleasure.
If the shoe department was busy I could fill the spool
cabinet with black and white cotton from the coarse #8
thread on the big spools to the very fine thread on the
little spools. Today it sits in a place of honor high on
the south wall.
Speaking of old time items that long glass display case
that sits in the shop today holding numerous small items
once was along the north wall of the old store
stretching from the front door to what is now the play
room. It held baby things, yarn, and hosiery – wool
& silk (no nylons). There was cotton hose too, but
that did not need to be kept under glass. If my memory
serves me correctly, the best silk hosiery was called
“La France” and sold for $2.50 a pair – several days pay
for a clerk.
One item that stays in my mind was sheeting. I don’t
know if there were ready made sheets or not, but I never
saw any. Sheeting came bleached or unbleached in widths
from 54” to 91” and designated by the number of quarter
of yards in its width, 9/4 was the normal double bed
size. Those bolts were terribly heavy, the ladies
beautified their beds by buying pillow tubing and having
them hem stitched. They frequently crocheted pretty
The last thing I want to mention about the old store is
the row of tall thin mirrors along the south wall. There
must have been a dozen of them and they remained there
until my brother changed the dry goods store to a fabric
store about 1948. Their purpose was to allow the men to
try on nearby hats or neckties or other attire close by
and then check their appearance.
Oh yes! We needed lights. Gas lanterns hung from the
ceiling. My father lit them with a lighter wand and put
them out with a snuffer pole.
• From Patricia Gattfried:
Art Gattfrried bought tennis shoes at Greenbaum’s for
49cents in the 1930’s, then they went up to 59 cents.
• From Maridee C. Nye - Albany, OR:
What I remember about Greenbaum’s: When I was a very
young child (probably 5 or 6) my mother would take me to
Salem to visit her parents, but we always had to stop at
Greenbaum’s to visit with an elderly gentleman and some
of the clerks.
My mothers name was Mary Wisner and she was the
milliner in the store before she married my father in
November 1915. In reading some of her memories, she
worked in the store from early 1905 until her marriage.
Later when I was in my teens and could drive a car, she
would ask me to take her to Salem so she could go to the
store to visit with “Adolf” and a clerk named “Fannie.”
This was in the thirties. I always loved to go as I
loved fabric and was Home Ec major in school. I remember
the rows of fabric, the high ceilings with I think were
tin. When I was raising my own children and working full
time I had little time to frequent the store. But I knew
it was still there.
Since I retired in 1982 I have frequented the store
many times and always enjoyed shopping there. Lots of
times you can find something there that you can’t find
elsewhere. You can usually find me there on the third
Thursday of the month as I love their free quilt
seminars. By the way, I’m 82 years young and sill going
• From Sue Ellis - Albany OR:
My favorite memory of going to the shop was
this: It was a day where I had had to take my mom
to the doctor. She has Alzheimer's and the doctor was
just trying to help her to be more comfortable, but it
was a saddening experience for all involved. I was very
tired after taking my mom back to her care center.
Since I was already in Salem, I decided to stop by the
"Forest" to just be surrounded with cheerfully colored
cloth, quilts, and the eye-candy of fat quarters.
Stepping into the shop, it felt as if I had entered a
time-warp. There was soft music, many happy customers,
and an eager staff. I stopped thinking about sad things
and just calmed down. After touring the shop looking at
fabrics, books, and cute little projects, I began to
feel more rested.
Thank you so very much for creating a place that is
truly a refuge for the fabric artist. It is refreshing
to enter your space and be so encouraged. I appreciate
• From April L. Wicker:
It's been a week since the Winter Retreat and I am
still excited by all I saw and did that weekend. The
time away from ordinary concerns reinvigorated my desire
to sew. I even tried free-motion quilting for the first
time last weekend! I liked it!
Mostly I want to thank you and your staff for the
wonderful experience. Everyone was helpful, encouraging,
and just plain nice.
But-the most heartfelt thanks go to you. I won the
"Date with Kaffe" basket Saturday night. The fabrics,
the magazines, the patterns, the video and the basket
are all wonderful gifts. Thank you for putting together
such amazing prizes and an all-round superb retreat. I
plan to attend again!