Friday, August 30, 2019

Anderson Sporting Goods Started 100 Years Ago

100 years ago a business many Salemites will remember started at 126 South Commercial Street.

Anderson Sporting Goods had its beginning when William E. Anderson was founding partner in a firm that purchased the Watt Shipp Company, at that time located in 126 South Commercial Street.

Commercial Street looking south from State Street circa 1910-15
Hauser Bros in 126 S. Commercial, two doors down from bank
(University of Oregon Library, click through to enlarge)
Before Ladd & Bush expanded in the 1960s rebuild, there was a continuous line of buildings on the east side of Commercial Street between Ferry and State Streets. Former partners Paul Hauser and Watt Shipp at different times had separate sporting goods stores in one of the storefronts at 126 South Commercial Street, two doors down from the corner bank entry.

Another view, this time with Hauser Bros only one door down
and the RH Hunter Electrical Supply
 in 126 S. Commercial (far right)
(Salem Library Historic Photos, and similar here)
Other storefronts on this block face had sporting goods stores, too. Hauser Bros used the storefront one door down also.*

Watt Shipp sells to what became Anderson Sporting Goods
(August 30th, 1919)
At any rate, in the late summer of 1919 Watt Shipp was at 126 South Commercial, and William Anderson, who had been I believe one of Shipp's employees, was a partner in buying him out as he moved into auto sales at the Valley Motor Company.

Anderson's tie here is particularly interesting as a link to a person from the first bike boom of the 1890s. Though Harvey Scott's firm is still active and had a longer span, it didn't start until the 19-teens.  If Anderson was a peer of Scott's, he also had this more direct connection to that first golden age of cycling. This may not be much more than trivia, but it is interesting to note!

It turns out also that there's a connection here to the Library and its Anderson rooms. From Virginia Green's blog post on Nora Anderson:
Nora was born an Anderson and so did not have to change her name when she married William Everett Anderson, the owner of a local sporting goods store. Mr. Anderson was of a more easy-going disposition than his wife and probably was a good balance to her commanding personality. After his death [and her decline]...Harvey Fox, the succeeding owner of the Anderson business, became her guardian.
Salem Pioneer Cemetery has a little more in the burial records on:
For more on Watt Shipp:

* I may or may not come back to try to figure out the exact timeline for each business in each storefront. They moved around downtown, and I'm not sure that much detail would be interesting. And as more general sporting good stores, rather than bike shops, they are less interesting for our purposes here. We'll see.

Addendum, September 2nd

The block face today
The site of 126 S. Commercial is the south-most portion of the rebuilt Ladd & Bush, about the last four window bays before parking lot and that blank wall.

1 comment:

Susann Kaltwasser said...

Thank you for this topic and great pictures. My grandfather, John Oliver Chamberlain, worked for Valley Motor Company from 1920 to 1945. He was a machinist and mechanic. In the early days car parts often had to be manufactured on site apparently. His early experience watching his father who was a blacksmith might have helped him learn the skills needed. He first worked for a lumber company in Fall City, but fell in love with cars and moved to that line of work.

I have found pictures of the house that they lived in here in Salem. It still exists over on 6th Street, but never been able to find a location for and picture of Valley Motor.