Lipman & Wolfe, 1912

Lipman & Wolfe department store displayed its new store in this 1912 postcard. It covered the half-block on SW 5th between Alder and Washington. In this building, Lipman & Wolfe eventually became Lipman’s, then Frederick & Nelson. In the 1990s the building was refurbished as a hotel, first branded Fifth Avenue Suites, and now Hotel Monaco.

(City of Portland Archives)

10 thoughts on “Lipman & Wolfe, 1912

  1. Great photo, Dan.
    Lipman’s was a good alternative to Meier & Franks. There were quite a few department stores downtown back in the 60s. Olds & Kings took up the building on 10th that became the Galleria. And there were a few women’s department stores like I. Magnin in the Public Service Building and Bests which eventually morphed into Nordstroms. Oh yeah, Montgomery Wards where the kids rode roller skates to get merchandise for customers. It wasn’t located downtown, tho. And Sears was on the Eastside where I think Metro offices are now located.

  2. Lipman’s very much wanted to be like Meier and Frank, but lost out in the end. The corner of 5th and Alder was the heart of downtown shopping, with M&F, Lipman’s, Woolworth and Kress on the four corners. JC Penney was a block away, as was Newberry’s.

  3. “Psssshhh, they weren’t nothing but Meier & Frank wannabees”.
    True, maybe Lippman & Wolfe never had the star power that Meier & Frank posessed, but then Lippman & Wolfe never had Clark Gable selling ties in their men’s dept. early in his career. 😉

  4. My Grandmother said that when Clark Gable was working at Meir& Frank he had terrible teeth and his ears stuck out like jug handles. I guess they “gussied” him up for the movies.

  5. I was a teenager from Beaverton in the late 1960s and didn’t get downtown much, but I remember the men’s department at Lipman’s well. Going through the door at 5th and Washington, the staircase down was just to the right. Once downstairs you knew you were in a special place; the lighting was muted and it just had a certain smell. Sweaters and shirts, slacks and suits, shoes with a shoeshine stand. The women had pretty much everything above ground, but the basement was a man’s world.

  6. Can’t find a picture of Adolphe Wolfe’s Whidden & Lewis designed half-timbered Mansion up on King St, now avenue. It was next to the William Honeyman mansion, an amazing romanesque chateau with conical tower, also by Whidden & Lewis.
    There is a well known tinted picture postcard from around 1900 that shows the two houses and the surrounding beautiful neighborhood.
    The title of the postcard is written in red and reads-“Portland Oregon Residences”

  7. Dan, you have a great memory. I must’ve gone into Lipman’s dozens of times but all I remembered was going from one end to the other and it was all women’s things. Now that you’ve mentioned it, tho, I do remember always going downstairs to the men’s department whenever I wanted to buy something. In M&F I think I’d usually go to the 6th floor. I think that’s where the records were sold. Since I lived near Lloyd Center I did most of my shopping there. Still have a lot of the Motown records I used to buy there.

  8. re; Psssshhh, they weren’t nothing but Meier & Frank wannabees.

    Lipman Wolfe & Company opened there 1st store in Sacramento
    in 1850,Meier & Frank didn’t open until 1857 so You must of meant to say that Meier & Frank are wannabees. lmfao… Oh also they didn’t go out of business they sold to Dayton Hudson;;;

    Better Yet Mr Lipman & Mr Wolfe were the first ones ever to have elevators in a dept. store..The first retailer to mark set prices on merchandise .. and Cinnamon Bear is still on the radio at Christmas time or if You wish to see him in person then take a ride on the spirit of Portland during the holidays …

    *waves hand dismissively*

  9. This corner was the home, until July 1910, of the Olds, Wortman & King store, which relocated that year to its then-new full-block store between Alder and Morrison, Tenth and West Park (later the Galleria, and still standing).

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