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Hausler Grocery Part 1 of 2: Grocery Business for Sale - $100

Tillie and her daughter Louise on the porch of their first grocery store. Their dog sport is on the porch at right. | RVHS Photo #95.27.07

Mr. and Mrs. Hausler bought the inventory and the lease on this building for $100 they didn’t have. He got the money however, by pawning his wife’s wedding ring. 

 It was 1901 when Rhinehold Hauslser and his wife Mathilda, known as “Tillie,” decided to come to Seattle from their home in New York. They arrived on January 15th and two days later were in the grocery and meat business. 

As you can see it was more of a one-room cabin than a store. It was located on the northwest corner of Rainier Avenue at Graham Street. If you look in the lower right hand corner of the photo you will see the steel tracks of the Seattle Renton & Southern Street Car line.

The tracks were right next to the grocery store porch. According to the notes on the back of the original photo, the merchandise ordered by the Hauslers for the store’s inventory, was delivered by the street cars. The conductors just unloaded whatever they had ordered right onto their front porch.

Tillie Hausler is the woman standing in the doorway with her daughter Louise standing at her left. If you look close you can see half a lamb hanging on the door casing at Tillie’s right. Like the sign across the front of the store indicates it was also a meat market. The small rectangular sign under the “Market” on the big sign says: “Prudent People Purchase Pearline.” Under that sign is another, smaller sign promoting “99” brand coffee.

On the left end of the wooden porch are four crocks, all a different size. They could be filled with bulk foods for sale but are more likely for sale empty for the customer’s food storage needs at home. On the porch, under the window, are open wooden boxes, tilted on edge, displaying potatoes, vegetables, fruit, grains and etc., a typical display for grocery stores in the early days.

The Hauslers operated the store for three years and were able to put some money aside with the plan of moving into a larger building. When land developer C.D. Hillman opened his Atlantic City Addition in 1905 they purchased some land at Rose Street and moved into their new, two story wooden building. 

They added a hardware store and had an apartment for themselves on the second floor. The name of their business was changed to “Atlantic Market and Grocery” and they had added a delivery service. If you look close in the photo below you can see there are two delivery wagons, the one on the left had one horse and next to it was a wagon pulled by two horses. Business must have been good for them. 

(Photo description):   Two horse drawn delivery wagons are standing side by side on the wood planked Rainier Avenue at Rose Street, in front of the “Atlantic Market and Grocery.” Mr Hausler is on the far right next to his wife Tillie. (95.27.17)

Hillman’s Atlantic City Addition does not, as most people assume when they hear the name “Atlantic”, have anything to do with the Atlantic Street center on Rainier Avenue, about four miles north. That area was more often referred to as “Garlic Gulch”, the Italian community, centered around Mt. Virgin Church. 

We don’t know why Hillman named his new development Atlantic City. It was on land located on Lake Washington adjacent to Pritchard Island extending south almost to Rainier Beach Station and west to Rainier Avenue. 

Hillman always pulled out all the stops in advertising his land developments and exaggerations were part of it. The buyers were promised a park and of course it was to be named Atlantic City Park. When all the lots were sold he moved on to another area, with the same promise, a park. Unfortunately no park showed up in either of the developments. But that is a story for another day. 

The Hausler’s new business was also located on the Southeast corner of Rainier and Rose Street but in front of their other building. “Tillie” was quoted in an article from the January 8, 1922 Post Intelligencer written about this second building of theirs. She was talking about their years in this building and their future plans. “Things weren’t half  bad and little by little the amount in our savings bank grew until, while we didn’t feel rich, still we felt safe. Then we began to plan for the new (brick) building and count on its construction. It came to be a hobby with us, planning it.”

And build the building they did and like Hillman’s Atlantic Addition story it will have to wait until my next article.

Days Gone By 

South District Journal 2/28/2001

By Buzz Anderson


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