Holman's Department Store

Biography of Luther R. Holman of Pacific Grove California

Holman's Department Store
Holman’s Department Store

Californians have never failed to accord proper esteem and praise to those sturdy, progressive forerunners who did so much to lay the foundations broad and well for all who should come after, nor will the Golden state soon forget such men as the late Luther R. Holman, who passed away April 20, 1909. He was born at Underhill, Vermont, and there was educated. It was in the eventful year of 1850 that he first came to California, sailing around the Horn. He remained in San Francisco for some time and then returned east. On again coming to California he brought the first combined harvesters used in the state. To demonstrate these, he went from place to place, and from this he gradually worked into the agricultural implement business, later doing a wholesale business under the firm name of the Holman Stanton Company. They finally sold out to Thompson Diggs, of Sacramento.

In 1888 Mr. Holman removed to Pacific Grove, where he engaged in handling building materials, but the restrictions of the Pacific Improvement Company, forced him out of business. In 1891 he embarked in the dry goods trade at Pacific Grove, having a partner with whom he did business under the name of Towle & Holman, but when the Klondike rush absorbed so many, Mr. Towle sold his interest to Mr. Holman, who continued the enterprise. In 1893 a furniture department was added, and W. R. Holman, the present owner, was put in charge of the new division. In 1903, as the business increased, the firm moved to their present location, and Luther R. Holman remained active in the business until 1905, when he retired to his ranch at Stockton, turning the establishment over to his sons, W. R. and C. E. Holman. After a year, C. E. Holman withdrew, and his brother assumed full control, under whose management the business has continued to expand until today there are forty-four departments under one roof. A new three-story full concrete building has just been completed, covering an entire block, with a floor space of some seventy-five thousand feet, and having three hundred feet of plate-glass show windows, it being the largest store of its kind on the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. With such prosperity to gratify him, it is not surprising that W. R. Holman supports generously all local civic endeavors meeting with general endorsement.

W. R. Holman married Miss Zena Patrick, a native of North Dakota, and two children have been born to them, Patricia and Harriet. Mr. Holman is a republican, but he is too broad to be merely partisan and so maintains his independence in both thinking and voting.

The Heritage Society of Pacific Grove published an entire Board and Batten issue on the Holman family and Luther Holman’s many companies.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California’s history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925.

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