Seattle 1978

Seattle 1978

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Joseph E. Standley established Ye Olde Curiosity shop in Seattle in 1899.  What began as a hobby as a child turned into a business that has lasted well over 100 years.  The Shop has moved several times but has always been on the central waterfront.  It is still run by J. E. Standley's family. And while I would highly recommend visiting the actual store to appreciate the experience, you can also make on-line purchases. See more about their history on the Shop's website.

I have a few postcards (of course!) and hope to continue to grow my collection.

"Interior of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Seattle, U. S. A. Located in the Colman dock. Most Unique Shop in the World. J. E. Standly, PROP'R. Established 1899"

"VISIT YE OLDE CURIOSITY SHOP EST'D 1899. 1-Whale Jaw Bones 1 ton each, 21 1/2 feet, largest in U. S. 2-Skull of Alaska Buffalo, largest in the world. 3-Giant Clam Shell. weighs 161 pounds. From Equator. 4-Ivory Tusk of Alaska Elephant (mammoth). 5-Head of Arctic Walrus with ivory tusks 6-Shell, 855 pounds, fired from U. S. Fort Worden. 7-Navajo Rugs, from Navajo Indians. 8-Indian Totem Poles. 9-Saw of Saw Fish. 10-Indian Cooking Basket. 11-Old Ship Lanterns, brass. 12-Hat worn by Chief Seattle. 13 - Alaska Snail, petrified, 67 pounds. 14-Chilcat Blanket from Alaska. GROUND FLOOR AT COLMAN DOCK ENTRANCE, SEATTLE"

I posted this one on the Facebook pages of Vintage King County and  Ye Olde Curiosity Shop.  The Shop posted this about the items on this 1920s postcard:

This picture is likely from the 1920's. Yes, we do still have most of the things shown in the photograph. I will list them in order. We have about 3/4 of one of the whale jaw bones. One was lost from being out in the weather too long and about a fourth of the other was cut off by someone in the middle of the night (!) when it was chained to the outside of the building that housed the shop when we were on pier 51. The ivory tusk of an Alaskan elephant (mastodon) is on display near the front of the shop (inside). We actually have two. We have several giant clam shells on display. There are many Native American totem poles in our collection (some older and some newer) and we have many for sale also. We have always bought directly from the local artists and some from Alaska and British Columbia as well. We have more than one saw fish saws. We have many Native American baskets in our collection but not sure if this exact one is on display. We purchased many weavings from Chief Sealth's daughter, Princess Angeline, which were for sale at the time and we have kept some examples. We do have a hat that Chief Sealth (Seattle) wore. In case you didn't know Seattle was named after Chief Sealth. The Alaska 67 pound fossil snail is on display in the outside window on the north side of the shop along with many other things from our museum collection. Lastly we do still have a Chilkat blanket on display.

The back of this postcard did not have space for writing, just space for an address and a stamp on the right, on the left side reads:
"VISITORS IN SEATTLE SHOULD SEE: The Pike Place Market; Zoological Gardens; The Smith Tower, 42 stories, Day and Night View; Anderson's Bout Tour of Harbor through U. S. Ship Canal to Lake Union into Lake Washington; Mt. Rainier; Snoqualmie Falls, 100 feet higher than Niagara; Big Trees in Schmitz Park; Sea Bathing at Alki Beach; View of Harbor from Colman Dock Rotunds; Battleships and great docks; U. S. Navy Yard at Bremerton, 1 hour boat ride; Municipal Frozen Fish Aquarium in Spokane St. Wharf; Tropical Conservatories and Art Museum in Volunteer Park; State Museum and Art Gallery on University Campus. The Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Alaska Bureau will give you free literature, maps and information about sight seeing.
VISIT THE WORLD FAMOUS YE OLDE CURIOSITY SHOP and see the Russia Brass Ikons, Samovars; Carvings on 4 grains of rice; Shrunken Human Head size of a lemon from Ecuador; the Lord's Prayer on a pin head; Fleas in dresses; a duckbill Plattypus; a devil fish, wolf fish, musk ox skull, camel bells, old ship lanterns; Narwhal tusk, Aztec pottery; ships in bottles, old guns; India mask and real hand-carved Indian Totem Poles, one to forty feet tall. Big variety of antique brass and bronze, Fossil Ivory jewelry from Alaska Eskimos. Odd rings and beads; rare novelties, Indian Baskets, Bracelets and rings, daggers and thousands of other curiosities from every land and see.
Everybody welcome to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Est'd 1899 by J. E. Standley
At Foot of Marion Stret
The Ground Floor Entrance to Colman Dock
Look for the Whale Jaw Bones 21 1/2 Ft. Tall"

"Interior of the world famous Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Ferry Dock Pier 52, Seattle 4, Washington U. S. A., on Seattle's historic Waterfront. In the foreground is 'Sylvester' the mummy and Cigar Store Indian. Most unique shop in the world, 'Beats the Dickens'. Established 1899" Ektachrome by J. Boyd Ellis. 
According to HistoryLink essay about Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Sylvester was acquired in 1955 - I think this postcard photo might have been taken about this time

"World Famous Ye Olde Curiosity Shop - 601 Alaskan Way - Pier 51, Seattle 4, Washington (Established 1899 on the waterfront.) Interior view showing Thunderbird House Front, Easter Island Carving, Korean Grave Figure, Cobalt Blue Foo Dog, Sylvester the Mummy (background), and Cigar Store Indian foreground."
This store is on Pier 51 (the above was on Pier 52) and I don't know which location was earlier but since Sylvester is further back in the store, I'm supposing it's a little later.  The Zone number between the City and State indicates it pre-dates the zip code which came in to effect in 1963.

"Seattle Ferry Terminal and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the Seattle Waterfront" "Seattle Waterfront, Seattle, Washington, U. S. A. Modern touch to colorful Seattle waterfront is provided by the new $3,000,000 SEATTLE FERRY TERMINAL. The world-famous YE OLDE CURIOSITY SHOP is at left. Waterfront visitors are afforded unlimited sightseeing opportunities from piers which extend far out into Elliot Bay. Fireboats and ferries provide interesting maritime activity in Seattle harbor."

Guessing the date mid to late 1960s (it's after the Seattle World's Fair ended - the barrel poles in front were originally at the Ford Pavilion at the Fair).

Fun place to see; fun place to shop!

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