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Looking Back: Christmas at MacDougall's... and a lingering myth

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MacDougall's Department Store in 1963

Ah, the holiday shopping season is almost upon us.

As I was researching content for "Old News," I came across a full-page ad for MacDougall's Department Store, published in the Dec. 1, 1963 edition of The Daily World.

MacDougall’s, said to be “North Central Washington’s largest and finest department store,” was located in the Central Building downtown.

Some of the best brand names in apparel and housewares were offered throughout the store: Bonnie Doon, Princess Gardner, Charles of the Ritz, Max Factor, Esquire, Jockey, Van Heusen, Bobbie Brooks, Ship ‘n’ Shore, Buster Brown, Keds, Hush Puppies, Sunbeam, Revere, Corning… and the list goes on and on.

This photo shows a portion the main floor with shelves and display cases filled with merchandise for Christmas. With the shopping season underway, MacDougall’s was open every day — with extended hours — until Christmas, except for Sundays, of course. Remember, back then most stores were closed on Sundays.

There was also an elevator. According to the ad, “only MacDougall’s offers this department store convenience in Wenatchee to all four selling levels.” Customers could also park behind the store and access the elevator to the second floor offices to receive a one-hour free parking stamp.

Another interesting observation in the photo is the staircase at the back of the main floor leading to the mezzanine.

There has been some friendly debate among locals in recent years over whether or not there was an escalator in the store. This ad and photo are the first proof I’ve seen to dispel the myth of those moving stairs — at least up until 1963.

A little history: MacDougall's opened in a portion of the building at 25 N. Wenatchee Ave. in 1945. After major remodeling in the early 1960s, People's took over. People's expanded in 1973, occupying all of the building. The department store closed in 1984.

On a side note, Wenatchee once had two major department stores downtown. In addition to MacDougall's, there was Miller's on the other side of Wenatchee Avenue.