Thursday, January 7, 2010

Holman's - Pacific Grove, California



Holman's was one of those classic small-town department stores with local roots. John Steinbeck bought his pencils here and mentioned the store in his novel, Cannery Row. At one time it was the largest department store between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Many similar stores around the country have now been taken over by Macy's. The Holman's building is still standing in Pacific Grove, and although it is no longer Holman's Department Store, it is also not a Macy's. There is a Macy's store just a few miles away, so that conversion remains unlikely.

The current owner of the building leases it as an antique mall. The building was up for sale recently, and, in fact, the listing is still posted online, although the owner claims it is no longer for sale. The developer who owns the building has been trying for years to build a hotel there; he is currently moving forward with the city on a feasibility study for a hotel, including examination of water issues.

A friend of mine used to like to play in Holman's store in her adolescent years. She would ride up the elevator with a friend and they would slide down the banisters and then ride up the elevator  again to repeat the whole process. Finally one day they were confronted by a gentleman who asked them to stop playing around. My friend, in typical adolescent fashion, said, "Who do you think you are...Mr. Holman!" It turned out it was Mr. Holman.

Here's another view, with Holman's on the left at the end of the street:

9 comments:

  1. I love the description of the store on the card - the public restrooms on the roof are especially enticing! It would be great if these types of stores made a comeback.

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  2. I really miss department stores.I miss dime stores too.

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  3. The second card is really nice with all the old cars.

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  4. It is fun learning a little history through postcards. So many of these stores are now owned by Maceys. Where I live our large department stores are now Maceys. Thanks for sharing. PFF

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  5. It turns out it was Mr Holman! What a hoot of a story!Thanks so the huge smile:)

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  6. i've been in that antique store a few times! when we go to monterey we stay in pacific grove. love it there!

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  7. i remember going into holman's when i was little with my family. the store gave s&h green stamps with your purchase. we lived a couple of miles away, in new monterey, and since we passed holman's on our frequent visits to lovers poins or asilomar, i would look in awe of it. going into the store was one of my fondest childhood memories (late 50's, early '60's).

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  8. When I was little (35 years ago), I would go there to visit my gramma who was a beautician in the hair salon! I loved it there because everything was PINK! I also loved how everyone knew who I was when I walked in! The whole town was that way. My Gramma Faith would even take us to the Pancake House and she'd know everyone in the room!! Fun times.....

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  9. IN 1963 I joined Rainbow Girls at the Monterey Lodge and my mom bought my first formal at Holman's. I still think it was the most beautiful dress. Remember the pneumatic tubes? I was a magical place then.

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