Historic The Dalles, Oregon
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Klindts Book Sellers and Stationers

Klindts Booksellers

315 East 2nd Street
The Dalles, Oregon 97058
(541) 296- 3355

The Oldest bookstore in the west!

     In a small Oregon town along the banks of the Columbia River you find Klindts Book Sellers and Stationers, the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the state of Oregon and we believe the oldest west of the Mississippi. Located at 315 East 2nd in historic downtown The Dalles, Klindts Book Sellers reflects the historic legacy of the region.
    
Klindts Book Sellers has been selling books continuously since 1870 and in the same location since 1893. We are the third owners of the bookstore. It was started in The Dalles by Ingwert Nickelsen, a native of the Island of Fohr in the Frisian Islands in the North Sea off the coast of Northern Germany. Nickelsen moved to The Dalles in 1867 and opened his business in 1869. Following the fire of 1891, he moved the store to its current location where it continued operation as Nickelsen’s until 1927 when I.C. sold his bookstore to the Weigelt family. Gus & Paul Weigelt and their sister Edna bought it and they operated it from 1927 until 1981. After 54 years as Weigelt's, the bookstore was sold to Philip and Linda Klindt and became Klindts Book Sellers and Stationers.
     We have out of print, used and rare books available, as well as a wide array of current literature and children's books.[1]

I.C. NICKELSEN BOOK STORE
      We mention the I.C. Nickelsen Book store in 1883 for it was the predecessor to Weigelt Book store and is one of the oldest business institutions in The Dalles. In 1883 he carried a large stock of toys, notions, music, school books, pianos, organs and other musical instruments and has been located at 315 E 2nd for more than 50 years. Mr. Nickelsen was born in Germany (1842) son of Peter and Christina (Petersen) Nickelsen. He received his early education in Germany and came to New York in 1859 where for 8 years he was in the restaurant business. Then he went to San Francisco by boat and on to Portland where the ship was nearly wrecked on the Columbia bar at Astoria. He came on up to The Dalles (1867) where he worked 2½ years in the Umatilla House before starting his own notion and book store. He was burned out in the big fire of 1891 but rebuilt and continued in business. In 1872 he married Josine Fredden of Germany and they had daughters Christina (Mrs. Harry Grubb), Julia and Clara. Mrs. Nickelsen died in 1883. Gus and Paul Weigelt bought the store in 1927. [2]

The Dalles was visited by another serious fire Sunday morning, September 2, 1888. Nearly two blocks between Second and Fourth streets were consumed. It originated about 2:30 and it was after 4 o'clock before the flames were under control. Losses amounted to about $42,500, and the insurance carried was about $22,500. This fire broke out in the rear of the furniture and auction store of Samuel Klein, on Washington street, and spread rapidly. It had a clear range along the alley between Washington and Federal streets, with the exception of the rear portions of the brick blocks on Second street. The flames then found their way to Third street, and although strenuous efforts were made they destroyed the entire block with the exception of a blacksmith shop, the brick buildings and I.C. Nickelsons book store. [2]

The most destructive fire ever experienced at The Dalles occurred September 2, 1891. More than twenty blocks were burned to the ground; many of the finest business structures were destroyed. This disastrous blaze originated in Skibbe's house. It was quickly carried onward by a light wind from the east; within the space on an hour the flames were feeding on three streets at once, making a clean sweep of everything below the bluff. The losses as reported in the Times-Mountaineer of September 5, 1891, included : I.C. Nickelsen, loss of $38,000, Insurance paid: $12,000. [2]

VARIETY STORE.- I.C. Nickelsen of The Dalles keeps a fine selection of books and stationery, music nd fancy goods, constantly on hand in such variety as to suit all classes of purchasers. Any article desired can be furnished on short notice, his establishment filling every want of the people in that avenue of trade. His stock is kept up to the standard of Portland houses, and is a credit to the beautiful city in which he is located. [3]

I.C. Nickelsen, a book dealer of Dalles, Ore., has secured the agency for the Eilers lines of pianos in that city. [4]

The Dalles Daily Chronicle, Saturday, January 10, 1891 Part II LOCAL BREVITIES Page Three Mr. IC Nickelsen, one of our enterprising merchants, has just made a sale of a set of thirteen band instruments to the Warm Spring Indian agency, to be used by the new band just organized out of the Indian school at that agency. This is a better scheme than to let them be provided with Winchester, muskets and short rations. Mr. Nickelsen is to be congratulated in the sale, as he was a competitor with Portland merchants.[5]

Looking Back: A Glimpse Through The Chronicles Files August 31, 2003
     Such a small thing as a gold ring set in turquoise lying on the floor in front of the door this morning, caused quite a sensation when Mr. Young entered the store of I.C. Nickelsen about 7 o'clock. It is not the custom at that store to keep the rings on the floor at night, but rather in a show case covered with a canvass. Therefore the stray ring led him to investigate further before opening up. Original news item From The Dalles Chronicle, August 29, 1903.
[6]

     INGWERT C. NICKELSEN, a leading business man of The Dalles, is located at 315 East Second street, where he handles a fine art, music and stationery store. He is skilled in his business and does a large and profitable trade. His goods are the best and up-to-date in every particular and Mr. Nickelsen is well known as a man of integrity and good principles, thus having gained the confidence of the public.
     In giving a detailed account of his life, we would note first that he was born in the island of Fohr, which belongs to the province of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, on January 20, 1842. His parents, Peter and Christina (Petersen) Nickelsen, were natives of the same place and are mentioned more fully elsewhere in this work. The first seventeen years of his life were spent in his native land and there he gained a good education. In the year 1859 we find him in New York city engaged in the restaurant business and for eight years he followed it faithfully. Then he came to San Francisco via the Nicaragua route and two weeks later shipped on the steamer California, for Portland. After a rough passage and just escaping a total wreck at the Columbia bar, he landed in safety and came on to The Dalles. Here he wrought in the Umatilla house for two and one-half years and then opened his present business. He was burned out in the big fire, hut started from the ashes a better business than he had before and is now located in a fine store, twenty-five by seventy-five feet, where he has a choice stock of about seven thousand dollars worth of the best goods, well selected. He carries Kranich & Bach pianos, is agent for the Hamburg-American steamship line and has a fine stock of music instruments and stationery, as well as books. Mr. Nickelsen has, also, a full line of art supplies and goods.
     On August 30, 1872, in Germany. Mr. Nickelsen married Miss Josine Fredden, a native of that country and the daughter of Jorgen and Gardina (Nagel) Fredden. also natives of Germany. The father was a seafaring man and was lost on the ocean in 1857. To this union three children have been born Christina, the wife of Harry Grubb, with the O.R. & N., in The Dalles: Julia, at home: Clara T., a graduate of the Holmes Business College in Portland and now stenographer for Bennett & Sinnot, in The Dalles. On October 18, 1883. Mrs. Nickelsen was called from the duties of life and her family to enter upon the realities of another world. She was an active and prominent member of the German Lutheran church and a devoted Christian. She was deeply mourned and was known as a good Christian woman. Mr. Nickelsen has one brother, Martin H., and three sisters, Mrs. Dorethea Brothersen, Mrs. Catherine Salzer and Mrs. Maria Wyss. Mr. Nickelsen is a member of the I.O.O.F. and has been for thirty-four years, and is past grand. He has represented his lodge in the grand lodge several times. Politically, he is a Republican and was county treasurer from 1882 to 1888. He was water commissioner one term, and in 1870 was a member of the fire department. He is frequently a delegate to the county conventions but does not take the part in politics he sustained in years past, preferring to devote more time to his business. Mr. Nickelsen is an active member of the English Lutheran church and is a man of excellent standing in the community. [7]

[1] Klindt's Book Sellers and Stationers      
[2] History of Wasco County, by Wm. H. McNeal  
[3] The resources of Oregon and Washington, Volume 4, Issue 1, p. 69
[4] The Music Trade Review, 1912-55-7-28, p. 28,www.arcade-museum.com
[5] The Dalles Chronicle
[6] The Dalles Chronicle, August 29, 1903
[7] An Illustrated History of Central Oregon, Western Historical Publishing Company, Spokane, WA. 1905, page 305. A portrait of Mr. Nickelsen appears between pages 304 and 305.

 

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300 W. 13th St. • The Dalles OR 97058
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