Friday, January 28, 2011

The Merc ...

The more time I spend on the internet, the more I realize that there's a site devoted to just about every obscure interest possible. A few days ago, for example, I discovered a website maintained by Columbia University, titled "The Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery." Who would have thought?

But it's fascinating stuff, not only for the letterhead graphics but for the contents of many of the letters. Here's a Montana example: an 1893 letter from the old Missoula Mercantile company to Holter Hardware in Helena, both well-known institutions in early Montana history.

The Merc, of course, was a downtown Missoula landmark for years, even after the store was acquired by The Bon Marché and later Macy's. Today the old building is empty and awaiting a promised redevelopment ... good news, though it's too bad its days as a department store are over.


  1. It was an amazing place, the Missoula Mercantile. I went there as a kid with my best friend and her family when we'd stay at their cabin on Seeley Lake. I was glad I didn't have to see it become the Bon. I hope the building will be renovated in a respectful manner.

  2. Oh, isn't that lovely?!
    The great detail and script...

  3. Yep, I just remember it as the Bon, which wasn't quite the same ... but it was still a nice store. I knew that when Macy's bought the place out, it was the beginning of the end.

    There was a similar local department store up in Kalispell -- the KM. I still remember that from my early years in Glacier country.

    And yep, those graphics are wonderful! Current styles just don't compare ...