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Gone, not forgotten

Otto family member visits site of store that closed in 1966

January 7, 2014

Gretchen Otto was flooded with memories Monday afternoon as she took one last walk through the building on Putnam Street that once housed her family's Otto Brothers Department Store....

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Jan-07-14 6:23 PM

I remember the wood floors and the vacuum system to pay for things. As a child,I never understood that type of system, and was fascinated to see the money go in and change come back. Im glad Mrs Otto got to return for one more visit.

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Jan-07-14 2:22 PM

I return to comment: The Hub in Steubenville, Ohio, that freight elevator which looked so intimidating and was--the Creegan Family of that city who put so many animated, store front Christmas windows, into almost real life-everywhere, including Disneyland--In the legendary ton of Gold, from the steamship "Portland", arriving at the Colman Docks in Seattle, no one could out merchandize the legendary Frederick & Nelson--the Marshall Fields outpost on the West Coast; now the flagship store for the Nordstrom Family which has their name above the door--ditto for their hometown phone numbers. Otto Brothers; you are missed; local,home town pride and gone.

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Jan-07-14 1:25 PM

Ms. Otto: loved Ottos as a child: my grandmother took me there often: most particularly for boots and shoes which she felt were particularly important for a child. Essentials: smell of the wooden floors, vacuum tubes carrying payment to the business office which seemed "somewhere" far above me-and mysterious. The kind ladies (and they were all ladies in the children's departments)-who fit and advised and suggested and put up with a lot of pouters I would guess. My grandmother whose patience was infinite -I associate the memory with her as well. Take care.

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Jan-07-14 12:52 PM

So very right that families like the Otto Family, the Lazarus family in Columbus, the Stones of Stone & Thomas in Wheeling, the Kaufmanns of Pittsburgh, the Fields of Chicago and Lake Forest--so many iconic names, so much that was unique, so much that has been lost. From the Mier & Frank families of Portland, Oregon to the Edward Malley Company of New Haven--local merchants, active participation in their communities. All gone, re-named as Macey's or left to their local historical societies. I was long removed from the Ohio Valley and in the Coast Guard on the West Coast when this store closed. I do remember it but not as fondly as those who grew up in Marietta. The Reickers of Beverly and the Muskingum Valley were also the merchant families of German ancestry who also carried on a retail tradition for several generations.

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Jan-07-14 8:59 AM

great article for sure

merchants and families like the Otto's built this country

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Jan-07-14 7:30 AM

Great article.

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