Wednesday, March 27, 2013

W.S. Andrews, Entrepreneur

~~ Haynes & Oakley, Architects.  Former site of W.S. Andrews & Co. Grocery ~~

According to census records, as well as "Annals of Early Sierra Madre," Walter S. Andrews was born in 1851 in Massachusetts.  Walter was one of eleven children, Ifd the Andrews family later moved to Connecticut.  In 1875, Walter married Miss Frances (Fanny) Bates, and the couple had four boys; however, two of the boys died young, and only Burton and Raymond lived to adulthood. 

In 1882, due to Mr. Andrews' ill health, the young family left Connecticut.  They came to California, and ultimately bought a 20-acre plot of land near what is now Sierra Madre Boulevard and Michillinda Avenue, and built a family home right near the corner.

In 1886 W.S. Andrews and his brother opened the Andrews & Co. Grocery, one of the first two grocery stores in town. (The first grocery store was Mr. Robinson's house/store, which still stands at 65 N. Baldwin.) Andrews later sold the grocery to Stephen R. Norris, keeping the packing house that was located at the rear of the property.  In 1907, when the Pacific Electric came to Sierra Madre, Mr. Andrews arranged for a spur line to his packing house. 

Over the years, Mr. Andrews, along with his brothers, his cousin, and several friends/business associates, had many business interests.  These included the grocery store and packing house, a hardware store, ranching, real estate, and insurance.  Mr. Andrews died in 1937, at the age of 86.  At the time of the 1940 census, son Raymond and his family still lived in the original family home.  From what I can see, this address is now part of a large condo complex, constructed in 1963.

While not the original Andrews Grocery building, there was a grocery store called Crystal Farms on this corner when I first moved to Sierra Madre, in 1989.  In 1976, Roess Market was in this location.  The building now houses the offices of Haynes & Oakley, an architecture firm.

Update:  Click here, for an 1887 photo of the original grocery store. 



Additional Sources: (1) Sierra Madre Vistas, 1976, Sierra Madre Historical Society; (2) Michele Zak, Southern California Story: Seeking the Better Life in Sierra Madre


8 comments:

  1. Wow, nice detective work tracing the stories. I find these slightly more modern local tales very hard to find info about (at least online).

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    1. Thanks! True, there's not too much online. I'm lucky to have a few old local-history books.

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  2. Adele, I am just wondering? Where do you go to check out the census records? Library or can you go online? Of course, I am once again loving the mountains. Glad the bottom line here is that the building is occupied!

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    1. LOL, I think of you each time I take yet another shot of the mountains! :) I get the census stuff from Ancestry.com. I subscribed in order to do my own genealogy, but seem to have spent the most time persuing Sierra Madre!

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    2. You're a darling. I really do love seeing those mountains. So, thank you! I am an on and off Ancestry.com subscriber. Never thought of using it as you do. Good tip! Double thank you :).

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    3. You are ever so welcome, LOL! :) The catch with using Ancestry.com (or at least as far as my limited knowledge goes...) is that I need to know the homeowner's name, before finding the info on them. Meaning I can't look up a house by its address, and then find the name of the owner. I have a trusty walking-tour map, which gives me the name, and a bit of info, and then I move on to census info, and the old Sierra Madre history books. It's kind of convulated but, I think, ver fun!

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  3. You have fun with this local history stuff, don't you. I like the building that is there now.

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    1. I do, I do! And I like that building, too...

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