Life on the Dry Side

Culture, Curiosity and Character
about the Oregon East of the Cascade Mountain Range

The historically significant town of The Dalles is located alongside the mighty Columbia River on the eastern slopes of of Oregon's Cascade Mountains.   

Fort Dalles, founded in 1850, was the end of the overland Oregon Trail and was a jumping off spot for pioneers, soldiers, gold miners, adventurers, gun-slingers, floozies, and scallywags. 



It was there, 1867, German immigrant Ingwert Nickelson decided to build a bookstore.  This is the earliest known photograph of the storefront.

It is still in the family, owned and operated by Kristen Klindt and her husband Joaquin Perez. Even though it's a thoroughly modern bookstore, the original floors, cabinets, and bookshelves are still intact, and there is a display of historic photosgraphs from the area.

The store manager, Karen Rempel, was ready, and excited, to share the history of the iconic store.

Ingwert  emigrated from Germany and was successful in the New york restaurant business for eight years.  Shortly after the end of the Civil War  he was bitten by the bug in to try his luck in the recently formed state of Oregon.   He reached San Francisco by  the Nicaragua overland route and two weeks later shipped out on the steamer California for Portland.    After a rough passage and near total wreck at the Columbia bar, he landed in safety and came on to The Dalles.

The first store burned after a couple of years and he moved his business across the street to the present location. The newer and larger store carried Kranich & Bach pianos, musical instruments, books, journals, office supplies, stationery, and a full line of art supplies and goods. In a time before radio, electricity, and autos filled the day, families gathered around the piano, wrote letters, read books and explored their artistic side. The West was filling up, and he was selling the good life.

He became an agent for the Hamburg-American steamship line and took a trip back to Germany in 1872, where he married Miss Josine Fredden. "Would you like to see something" Karen said, as she pointed to a top shelf. "The ashes of Philip and Linda Klindt are are in those urns so they can keep an eye on us every day."

"I heard something about a ghost?" I had just noticed somthing about that in a brochure I picked up. "That would be Edna" said Karen.  Iin 1928, the Weigert Brothers and their sister, Edna, bought the store. Philip and Linda Klindt bought the bookstore from them in 1981 and Edna agreed to stay on for one year to help the new owners figure out how to run the business. She used to put down the toilet seat and stand on it so she could reach the high shelf above the toilet. She was petite, with notoriously small feet and sometimes we find the toilet seat down, with a tiny, dusty footprint on it."

Edna's love for the store and the community turned one year into twenty until she passed away at the age of 91. "When we open in the morning we find things that have been moved or cleaned. She keeps an eye on us."

 

 

Like all of the owners and staff members at Klindt’s Books, Edna Weigelt was an integral part of the bookstore’s history and folklore.

 

Browsing around I found a good selection of regional titles, Poems West of the Divide, Peoples of the Plateau, Pioneer Trails of the West, books about the Pacific Crest and the collections of Prineville author Rick Steber.

This past summer Klindt's hosted the annual Northwest Author Festival with eleven regional authors, all with new titles, together for one day. Authors were set up throughout the store where you were free to visit with them, have your books signed, and discuss their writing processes. Klindt's also hosts author readings throughout the year.

 

 

Photo Joaquin Perez, stands behind a display of books by authors attending the Northwest Author Festival at Klindt’s Booksellers and Stationers ini 2016

Comments always welcome

 
 
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