Monday, December 31, 2012

Shopping the Gulch on New Year’s Day 1894

On New Year’s Day in 1894, the Helena Independent advertised numerous sales, activities, and special deals. For three dollars, you could buy a year’s subscription to the Weekly Independent and receive a free leather-bound 800-page cookbook. August Fack advertised that you could visit his California Wine House and enjoy his brand-new art acquisitions just in from Germany. The New York Store offered a variety of dress fabric reduced from a dollar a yard to 75 cents.

In 1894, the New York Store was located on Main Street in the three-story building on the right. When this photo was taken in the 1930s, that building housed the Independent newspaper.
Photo from the Wes and Carol Synness collection via Helena As She Was.
At the railway agent’s office, $100 could buy you a roundtrip, two-week vacation to Hot Springs, Arkansas, including train fare, all meals, and choice of hotels. If you dropped in the City Drug Store, you could find Gypsy Queen Hair Grower or Hockio’s Turkish Myrrh for the teeth.  Shopping the gulch in the 1890s was never complete without a stop at Hepperdiezel’s in the Novelty Block at 13 South Main Street.
Hepperdiezal’s was located in the Novelty Block during the 1890s and early 1900s. The building, shown here in 1970,  was a victim of Urban Renewal.
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, 953-209
According to Belle Fligelman Winestine, “you could smell this delicious butter and sugar smell as you came up the Gulch, a half a block away.” Mrs. Hepperdiezal stayed behind the counter in her crinkly clean starched pink and white striped shirtwaist and white collar selling less expensive taffy and butterscotch. Mr. Hepperdiezel was in charge of the more expensive candies, which the customer chose one by one to be carefully packed in elegant satin boxes. Three steps spanned the back of the store and led to a second level. Lanes of artificial palm trees and a fountain decorated the parlor area where patrons sat at marble-topped tables. Hepperdiezel’s ice cream sodas, at two for 24 cents, were the perfect end to a long day of shopping.  


  1. I didn't know Hepperdiezal's,but you could also smell the Yat Son restaurant. Driving to Helena from Towndsend to pick up "Chinese noodles)from Yat Son was a frequent treat. Fun to see the sign.

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