Oakley is a small town located in Cassia County in South Central Idaho. The population as of two years ago was under 800 people. David B. Haight was born and raised in Oakley. Marion G. Romney (my father's uncle), Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman all trace their roots back to Oakley. Oakley is famous for its quarries of a quartzite building stone known as "Oakley Stone." According to Wikipedia, "Today, many people remark that Oakley is the very last 'Mayberry' left in America, and is frequently visited for its Victorian homes."
On with our journey...
After we spent some time touring my father's childhood home, we continued on Main Street until we came to the old Clark's store. In 1885 the Oakley Co-op operated out of a log store at this location. In 1889 this stone building was built and held an outlet of the Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI). In 1924 my grandfather, Charles and his brother John bought the store and so began the legacy of the Clark's store (also known as the "Oakley Merc"). The store was located in the bottom floor of the building and in the top floor was a youth center where dances and other activities were held. Clark's for Shopping is still a working grocery market to this day - run by my father's cousin's son.
How times change...
It was Sunday when we pulled up to the store so it was closed. We peeked in the windows, anxious to see the inside.
I loved this blue logo on the side of the building but my dad said it wasn't there when his family owned the store.
My dad started working at the family store when he was 7 years old. His jobs were stacking the canned food on the shelves and sweeping. This building behind the store is the old ice house. It is currently used for storage.
Dad remembers this building across the street from the store was the town saloon. As a child he used to watch with wide eyes as shady customers went in and out.
Looking back down Main Street. You can see Clarks on the right and the old saloon on the left. Two blocks down, my dad's house is on the right. My dad said the stop sign is new :-)
We eventually made our way to my dad's cousin Tom's home. He is the one that took over the store after my grandfather left. He was kind enough to open the store for us to take a look around. Dad said that most of the interior of the store has changed.
But the ceiling is the same (he thinks that the ceiling is original to ZCMI).
The original floor was made of wood.
There are a couple of displays with some old photos and antiques. This is a photograph of Heber J. Grant. He sold the Clarks an insurance policy for the store. The original signed letter still exists. It is about 3 lines long - much different than the pages and pages of insurance policies today!
These meat lockers were originally located in a meat market that was down the street from Clark's (run by my grandfather's brother).
The butcher shop. Clark's for Shopping is known for its fresh cuts of meat.
Tom told us that this photograph of the old Oakley tabernacle was taken right before it burned to the ground. He pointed out the black smoke coming out of the window on the upper left side. The tabernacle was the pride and joy of Oakley and it was devastating to the community when it burned down. The tabernacle stood right next to the Oakley 1st ward chapel. The fire station stands there today.
A blast from the past.
What do you know? A sign from The Naturalist gift shop!!!
My dad remembers this old check protector machine.
Harlow brought out some old photographs to show us.
This is a photograph of the old Clark's store - by dad's brother Dal can be seen wearing a white apron. You can see the original ceiling.
This is a picture from when the store was ZCMI. Can you see those wire baskets holding produce? There were a bunch of those hanging in the storage room of the store and I tried to convince our Clark relatives to sell me one - no such luck.
The store was mostly filled with the same products that we see in our grocery stores. But they did have this charming old fashioned candy display. Not only was the candy old fashioned but the price tags are original to the old store.
So I stocked up for the kids.
Kip picked up a few goodies himself.
Of all the different parts of the store we saw - my dad said that the one place that hasn't changed a bit was the bathroom.
In another display there are two pictures of our ancestors from England: John William Clark and and Ann Mickelwright Clark.