This is a great shot of the Eatonville’s Ford Motor Company. The tires in the window and the gas pump say it all.
Rich Williams fills us in on the background. “The building in this picture is the front of the old Christensen’s department store — the section that Sears isn’t [currently] using and where there’s a display.
“The Ford dealership in this picture was run by Joan Christensen’s father, Mr. Harold Pravitz. At that time, Christensen’s was located across the street in the old Van Eaton store building [Kirk’s Pharmacy parking lot].
Dick Christensen’s father Nels, purchased the Van Eaton building in the 1920’s. When the depression hit is 1929, Mr. Christensen sold the grocery side of his business to the Cushman family. From then on, the Christensen’s primary business was clothing and housewares.
In the mid 30’s the Christensen’s and the Cushman’s traded buildings. The Cushman’s moved into the old Van Eaton Mercantile building and Christensen’s moved into the building in this picture. In the late 1930’s Mr. Christensen , his son Neil and Roy Pettit built the building next to the one in the picture where the Sears store is currently operating. When the building was completed, Mr. Christensen’s two sons Don and Neil opened up a Dodge/Plymouth dealership. Mr. Christensen continued to run Christensen’s Department Store until his death in 1940.
After his death, the store was run by a designated manager as well as the remaining family. Sons, Bill, Neil and their mother Harriett ran the store until 1953. In 1953, Dick and Joan Christensen took over management of the store. Under their management, the store grew and new lines were added. In addition to clothing and housewares, the new store offered furniture, appliances and Zenith televisions and stereo record players. In later years, Dick and Joan’s son Rick began to manage the family business and expanded it even further . Rick added additional appliance and furniture lines and the store now sold and installed carpeting and other floor surfaces.”
Photo courtesy of the Christensen family.
Click on image to enlarge.
8 responses to “Eatonville’s Ford Motor Company (ca. early 30s)”
I don’t think this building at the same location as the Van Cleve Ford, and the Mountin View Cafe was, that was recently demolished.
To me, it looks more like the building that was later to become Christensen Motors, on the corner of Mashell Ave. and Center St.
I also notice the photo was provided courtesy of the Christensen family.
Notice on the left side if the picture, how the ground slopes down, just like it did when it was Christensen Motors, then Mashell Motors, then Christensens Dept store, and now Sears.
You’re right. That makes complete sense. I forget there was a Christensen Motors. 🙂
Do the Christensens have more pictures ? like of Christensen Motors back in the ’40s and ’50s ??
I posted all of the photos that I have on the Eatonville Facebook site. I think that they are then imported to this site.
Hi, Actually, I have to download them, and then repost them up here. Was a little bit busy this last month, so I’m a little behind. Hopefully it will be all up-to-date next week. 🙂
Thank you Rich for confirming my hunch that was the same building that became Christensen Motors. and to further the history, in 1959, Jim Beane and Bill Brashears bought the Dodge and Plymouth dealership from Christensens, and changed the name to Mashell Motors, and made it a Dodge and Dodge truck dealership. By 1960, Jim Beane had bought out Bill Brashears’ interest. By 1965, Mashell Motors was moved to its new building and location at Center St. and Washington Ave. Christensens then renovated the old dealership into a larger Dept.store.
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