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Look what's coming to the Marston House!
July/August 2017
By Bobbie Bagel

Attention, native San Diegans and long-time residents! If you have lived in San Diego for four decades or more, you may have some forgotten treasures or artifacts from the Marston Department Store squirreled away in an old chest, closet, or attic in your home.

Attention, garage sale hunters, thrift store hounds, and estate sale enthusiasts! SOHO wants to enlist your curiosity, expertise, and enthusiasm to help us acquire items that may be displayed in a new permanent exhibit at the Marston House Museum.

Let's make this a community effort to honor and document one of San Diego's leading families. Read on to find out what treasures have already come to SOHO!

As reported in the last issue of Our Heritage eNews, the exhibit will highlight the history and accomplishments of George Marston and his family. It will also feature the Marston Department Store, one of the finest, most genteel retail establishments in 20th-century Southern California. When the exhibit opens in the spring of 2018, it will mark the store's 140th anniversary.

Since our announcement and request for items, we have received generous donations, for which SOHO is very grateful, as well as encouraging feedback from that initial article. As we go to press, a small collection of rare personal family items has been donated. We are very excited about these and will highlight them for you in our next issue.

One very special donation is a 1906 typewritten memo by George Marston with suggestions for his advertising department. We also received a man's straw boater hat, circa 1910, with its silk lining stamped with the Marston store logo. There's a wide, floral print silk necktie circa 1940 and a pair of Marston-brand ladies nylon stockings. Surviving intact is a Marston matchbook with all eight matches in place and merchandise boxes from various decades in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Other fascinating items include an eight-page supplement for the store's 75th anniversary in 1953, a View-Master disk with photos from a 1959 Marston's fashion show, and a metal charge account card from the days before they were made of plastic.

Scroll to view all. Click each image to enlarge.

Man's straw boater hat, c.1910

Silk necktie, circa 1940

SOHO thanks all who have contributed these and other items! This partial listing starts to tell the Marston Store story and offers insight into what may else be out there waiting to be found and preserved.

We also welcome your memories and anecdotes about experiences at the Marston Department Store. During a recent Marston House tour, a visitor told a charming story. While looking at a photograph of the store, she said her grandmother worked there as a young sales clerk. Her grandfather proposed marriage over the glove department counter on the main floor!

If you have a personal story to share, we would love to hear it. Please email us at with Marston Memories in the subject line, or call our office at (619) 297-9327.

In the meantime, happy hunting! And don't forget you can also help by donating to the Marston House Permanent Exhibition Fund, too! Thank you!







2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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