Whose Minding the Store at MOHAI needs your stories

Remember five years ago when WIJC teamed up with WICA to host the Whose Minding the Store photo exhibit along with a concert by the UW Klezmer band? Well, that exhibit is slated to be shown at the newly re-opened Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) and the Wahsington State Jewish Historical Society is asking for your help with stories and artifacts.


The Washington State Jewish Historical Society is creating a new exhibit on Jewish retail and wholesale businesses that will be presented at Seattle’s new Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) for six months starting next July. The new exhibit is based on “Who’s Minding the Store?” – a diverse collection of merchant and shopkeeper stories that the WSJHS debuted as a traveling exhibit five years ago. Featured in this project will be a video about the Yesler Way community, from the 1920’s-1950’s. 

 The neighborhood surrounding Yesler Way in Seattle was once a thriving community of immigrants, and a place both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews called home.  Jewish grocery stores, businesses, bakeries, kosher butcheries, and shoe repair shops lined the streets, with Hebrew signs that gave the area a distinctly Jewish flavor. On the Sabbath, the streets came alive with Yiddish, Ladino, and English. The smells of challah mixed with bizcochos, as Jews from two very different cultures lived side by side.

Did you live in the neighborhood at the time and have memories of the places, people, and businesses that existed there? Do you remember Brenner’s Bakery, or the 14th Avenue Market, Fuxon’s, Condotti’s Confectionary Store, and other local businesses at the time? If you have anything you think you can contribute (memories, photos, artifacts), please contact us at exhibit@wsjhs.org or 206-774-2277.

Funding for Whidbey Island Jewish Community was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Special Initiatives Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.


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