Cahan and Drew to Wm. Crow: A history of Edmonds’ first hardware store

Cyrus Drew circa 1905. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Historical Museum)

The year was 1905, and Cahan and Drew were opening the first store specializing solely in hardware in downtown Edmonds. The exact location of the store is unclear. Previously, dry goods and provision stores had sold nails and other hardware items along with groceries, clothes and other items.

Two years later, Cahan and Drew sold the business to Henry Perfield. Only five months later, Perfield sold the business to E. H. Herbelein. Herbelein had previously been listed as a plumber and a purveyor of “tinware” in the Edmonds Polk Directory of 1895.

Just as Mr. Herbelein was finishing the purchase of the hardware company’s stock, space became available in the Schumacher building when Wm. Kingdon moved his grocery business into a newly constructed building just east of the Schumacher building.

With the space being vacated, E. H. Heberlein purchased the building from the Schumachers, and moved his newly purchased hardware business into the building.

E.H. Heberlein to Heberlein Hardware to Edmonds Hardware Co.

E. H. Herbelein Hardware circa 1908-09 with a simple plumbing, hardware and furniture sign on the front of the building, and the wood façade. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Historical Museum)

Heberlein reportedly kept the business simple the first year, selling primarily hardware, paint and furniture, and used only his name in advertisements. Then, in the second year, he expanded both the size of the building’s usage and his product lines. His advertisements referenced E. H. Heberlein Hardware in 1908, and by 1910 he was labeling his product lines as Hebe products.

Above: Progression of ads starting with simply his name, to Heberlein Hardware, to Hebe products — adding The Edmonds Hardware Co. for the first time in 1910.

By 1910, Heberlein had covered the building façade with fake brick and had changed the name of the business to Edmonds Hardware Co., E. H. Heberlein, Proprietor. In that same year, Heberlein became the first car dealer in Edmonds, selling Flanders automobiles in his store.

In 1913, the size of Heberlein’s inventory and product line nearly doubled when he purchased the stock from the Mothershead and Lemley Hardware Store. The Lemley building and hardware store had been purchased by Fred Fourtner, who wanted to establish a movie theater in the building. At that point, the Edmonds Hardware Co. was the only hardware store in Edmonds.

The Edmonds Hardware Co. with fake brick façade, circa 1910. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Historical Museum)

As the years passed, Heberlein continued to add products to his store. It is believed he doubled the store’s working space by having merchandise available in showrooms on both levels. Ads from 1913 through 1920 reflect some of the additions to his product mix.

Additionally, the store’s front continued to add signage that advertised its wide product line.

Edmonds Hardware Co. with multiple signs circa 1919. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Historical Museum)

Leading up to the Great Depression

Near the end of 1921, E. H. Heberlein decided to sell the Edmonds Hardware Co. after successfully running it for nearly 15 years. The new owners were Gove & Lauridsen.

Gove & Lauridsen retained the name Edmonds Hardware Co. and simply listed their names as the new proprietors under the company’s name in their advertisements.

Two years later, in September 1923, Gove & Lauridsen sold the business to Black and Benjamin from Oklahoma for a reported $20,000. The sale made front page news in the Edmonds Tribune-Review. The article stated that both Mr. Black and Mr. Benjamin were from Apache, Oklahoma, and each had 16 years of experience in the hardware and lumber industry. The article quotes the men as saying that the Puget Sound country impresses them more than any other part of the country they have seen, and they are certain that their families will be delighted with their Edmonds home.

Like their predecessors, Black and Benjamin retained Edmonds Hardware Co. as the company’s name.  However, they added the tagline “A Store For Everyone” to the company’s masthead, and inserted their names into the company’s advertisements as the new owners.

Surprisingly, 10 months later, in July 1924, Black and Benjamin departed Edmonds, selling Edmonds Hardware Co. to Clyde L. Jackson, who was coming to Edmonds from Montesano. A front page article in the Tribune-Review noted that Jackson, although young, was experienced in the hardware industry.

Courtesy Joe Davis

The first few months of the store’s ownership were eventful ones for Clyde Jackson. The Tribune-Review noted that Jackson was making alterations to the store, and also reported in the Sept. 24, 1924 issue that the store had been broken into by thieves.

The business prospered over the next three and a half years. Jackson consistently ran advertisements in the Tribune-Review advertising his wide range of productsThe early ads retained “A Store For Everyone” tagline along with a note at the bottom of the ads stating “Edmonds Hardware – The Pioneer Hardware Store Of Edmonds.” Later ads replaced the “Pioneer Hardware Store” reference with verbiage “Edmonds Hardware – The State of Quality and Service.”

In late March 1928, the Tribune-Review announced that the business was moving the following month to the Fourtner Building (where the downtown Starbucks now resides). This announcement came one month after Edmonds Hardware had announced that it was joining the Associated Hardware Stores.

Seven months later, Clyde Jackson — possibly forseeing difficult times ahead (1929 marked the start of the Great Depression) — announced in the Oct. 26, 1928 issue of the Tribune-Review that he was going to have a large close-out sale at the Edmonds Hardware store. Along with the announcement, he placed  a two-page advertisement inside the paper outlining what items were going to be featured each day during the upcoming sale.

The sale continued for several weeks. The Nov. 9, 1928 issue of the Tribune-Review stated that the sale was still going on and the store was for rent and fixtures were also for sale.

At the end of the sale, the remaining stock was assigned to the Seattle Merchants Association.

J.W. Crow (Bill)  – Crow Hardware – An Edmonds Institution

In the Dec. 7. 1928 issue of the Tribune-Review, an article announced that the Edmonds Hardware Store is going to be reopened under the ownership of J.W. Crow, who had purchased the remaining stock from the Seattle Merchants Association.

For the first couple of weeks, the business name remained the same and advertised as the Edmonds Hardware Co.  Then early in 1929, Bill Crow changed the name to Crow Hardware and advertised as such.

In spring 1929, Bill Crow moved the business to the L.C. Engel building (now the Edmonds Bookshop) after Denslow Plumbing had vacated the space. Crow Hardware remained in that location for the next 20 years. During those years, Crow Hardware built a reputation for service and reliability. It advertised often regarding the equipment it had for rent and for sale. The store also became a popular place for the citizenry to meet and talk during the World War II years.

In 1949, Bill Crow decided he wanted his own building, and he built a two-story concrete structure directly across the street at 112 5th Street – now Rogue Boutique.

Crow Hardware circa 1950. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Historical Museum)

Crow Hardware continued to thrive in the new location. This photo taken in 1956 shows the Crows and a few of the “regulars” conversing.

Bill Crow is in the center with the cap, and his son Dave is beside him, behind the counter.
This advertisement from the 1950s shows the range of products and services that Crow Hardware offered at the time.

With the establishment of the Edmonds small boat harbor in 1962, the Crows built a new building at 141 Dayton St. On Jan. 18, 1964, they moved and had a grand opening of  their new hardware and marine equipment business. The marine equipment portion was specifically targeted at the boat owners who had boats residing at the new harbor and marina.

Later in 1964, Bill Crow retired but his son Dave ran the business for another decade.

Many longtime residents of Edmonds remember Crow Hardware and Bill Crow as institutions, carrying on a long lineage of hardware store owners and excellence that spanned the years, starting in 1905 when Cahan & Drew opened the first hardware store in Edmonds.

— Article researched and written by Byron Wilkes. The Edmonds Historical Museum, Sno-Isle Genealogy Society and Lynnwood Library assisted in the research of this article. Thanks also to Joe Davis, who provided valued information on his maternal  grandfather Clyde L. Jackson, owner of the Edmonds Hardware Co. from 1924-1928.

  1. Fond memories of Dave Crow and his family and staff – helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. It was the sort of long-forgotten store where, as happened to me in the ’60’s, Dave told me “Your Dad was in here earlier this morning and picked it up then.” Dave and Co, Ole (Wendelborg) Hansen, Rick Ballinger… I have so many fond memories of them all, and we all converged at Crow Hardware.

    When Dave moved to Dayton St in ’64, and the water treatment plant was a bit more odiferous than it is today, Dad and a friend went down early one morning and changed the ad on the changeable-letter Crow sign to “Follow your nose to Crow’s.” It didn’t stay up long, but we all chuckled for years after.

    A friend and I tried to start a boat-painting business when in high-school, around 1965. When our first customer refused to pay us, and we couldn’t pay Dave for the paint, Dave gave me a valuable lecture I’ve never forgotten. But having done so, nothing more was ever said and respect and friendship was uninterrupted. The Crows, and the store, were wonderful. “When comes such another?”

    1. Nathaniel, thanks for this wonderful reflection. As I stated in the article, Bill and Dave Crow were definitely remembered by many as a valuable “institution” within Edmonds’ community and history. By all accounts the lineage of the first dedicated hardware store in Edmonds was run largely by individuals who cared deeply about their customers, and their business’ place within the community.

  2. I believe that the two gentlemen pictured with Bill and Dave Crow are Ernie and Larry Hubbard of Hubbard Realty and Insurance.

  3. We lived on Hindley Lane 1961-1965 and the (Dave) Crow family were our neighbors. He was also a volunteer fireman and had scanner in his house. I remember listening to it the night a private plane crashed into the field just East of Edmonds Methodist Church. We (kids) all ran over to see it. Miraculously, no one was killed. Amazing luck by that group!

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