Today, I am visiting a museum called “The Oldest Store Museum” here in St. Augustine, Florida. It is a museum the recreates a store started by C.F. Hamblen in 1908. It was not only the first store in St. Augustine, but also the first store in the United States since St. Augustine was also the first city.
Let’s go back in time and see what they sell in this store!
Do you recognize any of the products on this shelf? Do any of the brand names look familiar to you? Try to see how many you can find here.
The store clerk let me sit in the measuring scale. And yes, I’d like a bar of that chocolate also, please!
You could also buy machines in this store. There were a lot of machines and gadgets for the kitchen that made life easier. This machine is for shucking corn. You spin the large wheel on the side to get it going, then the corn kernels were collected in a bucket underneath. As for the empty corn cob? Well, it was used as toilet paper! Yikes, that’s a bit rough for my bum.
And how about this device? Does it look familiar? It is a phonograph by the famous Thomas Edison.
Stick candy was very popular back then. There are free candies for going on this tour, so help yourself! These are fresh and not from 1908, so don’t worry…
This is a cash register from back in the day. But if you were a woman back in those days, you probably didn’t have much money to your name. Ladies would often buy things from the store on credit, then their husbands would pay for it.
There were all sorts of medicines and remedies that were sold at this store. Some of them were not exactly, umm… effective, approved, or even a good idea. But somebody did invent them and people did try them. Just think of all the advancements in medicine that we enjoy today.
Ladies, this is your place to get fancy boots or hats. Of course no one wants to look the same, so dress up your hats and shoes with all sorts of embellishments, custom made right here in this store.
Of course someone had to do the bookkeeping for the merchandise in this store. Here is a hard working accountant looking over the company books.
And here is the friendly butcher chopping up meat for sale. I don’t see any fish though. Where is the fisherman?
We are moving to the back of the museum where there is an even bigger warehouse of antiques. The owner of this store, C.F. Hamblen, collected a lot of things. He supposedly kept one item in his archives of everything the he ever sold in the store. The museum currently has several more warehouses full of antiques which they rotate.
These are oxen yokes, so the oxen will pull together.
The store clerk is demonstrating the challenges of mothers during that time. How do you churn butter and take care of a baby at the same time? It’s very difficult to do.
That’s why some enterprising individual came up with this baby rocker butter churner. You just put your baby in the basket on top, then rock it while the butter churns inside.