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Yesterday and Today Gallery: Yesterday and Today: Mohawk Building – November 22, 2021

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Jacob “Jake” Goldstein, born circa 1868 in Pennsylvania, arrived in Spokane the year before the Great Fire of 1889 and made a name for himself in the clothing retail business.

Around 1890, he began to work for the IXL Clothing Company founded and managed by the brothers Gustav and Hermann Hanauer. IXL was a popular trade name at the time: a play on the phrase “J’excelle”. They donated dress clothes for men and boys.

The first store was located at 18 E. Riverside Ave. and sold silk handkerchiefs, tuxedo jackets, silk umbrellas and fancy vests. In 1891, the store offered a small gift to every holiday customer who spent more than a dollar: a box of candy or a doll.

In the mid-1890s, the store moved to the ground floor of the Mohawk Building in the 500 block of Riverside, seen on the left in the 1895 photo.

Hanauer got into financial trouble in 1896 and sold to Abe Goldstein of Jamestown, New York, who had a similar store in New York. Details of the relationship are unknown, but Jacob Goldstein became the sole owner and manager in 1897.

Goldstein would become well known for his marketing acumen and knowledge of the masculine style.

Goldstein was a founding member of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce, organized in 1897.

He also worked on the creation of the Spokane Interstate Fair when it was incorporated in 1901. He volunteered with the Elks Club and other social and business groups.

Goldstein also served on the board of directors of the Jewish Association of Young Men and Women in Spokane. The YM & YWHA was a national organization that welcomed new Jewish immigrants, taught them English and gave them a chance to socialize with others from their home regions in Europe. The organization has led to the construction of Jewish community centers in cities across the country.

After 25 years in business, both in the Mohawk Building on Riverside Avenue and the final years in the Paulsen Building, Goldstein closed his store in 1922, then accepted a job as a buyer and manager of Menswear at Culbertson Department Store. He did the same job for Eastern Outfitters until a year before he died in 1941 at the age of 72.

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