Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Workday Wednesday: Cruvant's Toggery - East St. Louis

Below is a photograph of my second great uncle, David Cruvant, inside his store, Cruvant's Toggery, in East St. Louis. David was the brother of my great grandmother, Bertha (Cruvant) Newmark

If you click on the photo, you can see a larger version.

A toggery is an old term for a clothing store.

Photo: Circa 1910-1920

We're uncertain what year exactly this was. According to East St. Louis City Directories, in 1907 David and his father, Morris, had a shoe store. In 1912 they had a "Clothing, Shoes, and Fur" store. (Morris actually died in 1911, but his name appeared in the 1912 directory.) In 1920, it was still a clothing store, but by 1924, it had become a pawn shop. None of the directories provide a name for the store, but they appear to narrow the date of the photograph down to a period of about 10-15 years.

Update: Following a suggestion in the comments, I have also submitted this post to Sepia Saturday 161

25 comments:

Donna said...

This photo is perfect for this week's "Sepia Saturday" theme via http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com.

John said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I've added a link, and added the feed to my reader.

Wendy said...

The interiors of the few remaining men's "toggeries" where I live look much like this one. I like that. There's a feeling of trust and quality and refinement that department stores can't match. I bet the men in your family were sharp dressers.

Brett Payne said...

We had togs in another Sepia Saturday post recenty, now toggeries, and it appears they are derived from the same origin.

Boobook said...

Welcome to Sepia Saturday.
I've never heard the word 'toggery' so I've learned something new.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

What a perfect photo for this week's Sepia Saturday theme! Welcome!

I wonder who it is that we see inside the store by the counter?

Kathy M.

John said...

We're pretty certain it is the owner of the store, my great-great-uncle, David Cruvant.

Karen said...

A classic old storefront, thank you for sharing.

Alan Burnett said...

On behalf of Sepia Saturday, thanks so much for posting this fascinating old photograph. Hopefully you will join us again and again.

Peter said...

Welcome to Sepia Saturday. Great picture! If my memory serves me right our previous "togs" were thought to be just swimming suits (in the UK?).

John said...

The swimsuit usage appears to originate in Australia/NZ. The British and American definition is clothing. It's not a common word in America anymore, I'm unsure about England.

Bob Scotney said...

I think togs has fallen out of use in England too but was quite commonly used 50/60 years ago.
Glad you decided to link this to Sepia Saturday - it's just the sort of picture and item that we like to see.
Please come again.rftKor

John said...

I already have a couple ideas relating to the previews for the next two weeks.

While this photo was a natural fit for this week, I can see that I'm often going to have to get creative. But I like the challenge.

barbara and nancy said...

Hi John,
Welcome to Sepia Saturday. That's a wonderful photo as your first post. There's so much going on in those windows. I can see that the owners were trying very hard to be creative with the merchandise. Very interesting photo.
Nancy

barbara and nancy said...

Hi John,
Welcome to Sepia Saturday. That's a great photo for your first post. So much going on in those windows. I love seeing all those boxes on the shelves. Wonder what was in them.
Nancy

ScotSue said...

A great photo to match the theme. I had never heard before of the term toggery, though I knew the word "togs" to mean clothes.

tony said...

I Love The Modesty of The Shopkeeper.He Lets his clothes do the talking.Welcome to Sepiaville!

John said...

Barbara and Nancy - my suspicion is that the boxes lining the walls are filled with shoes. They appear to be of the right size and shape.

My great great uncle was originally primarily a shoe salesman like his father. I suspect the store added other items as the years progressed, but shoes may have remained a large part of their business.

Postcardy said...

I like the way both the outside and inside are clearly visible in the photo.

whowerethey said...

We have an "old town" district near where I live and the storefronts are similar, yet not as charming somehow, as this photo. Thanks for joining us in our Sepian Explorations!

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Love this lovely old photo. The term toggery is new to me. Thanks for your contribution.

imagespast said...

It looks like Cruvants sold quite posh "togs", which is a common name for clothes in Scotland. Great photo, and a family treasure to have :-) Jo

whowerethey said...

I forgot that I meant to tell you I love your blog name. :-)

Kathy said...

This summer we visited some locations in Denison, TX where my husband's ancestor had a clothing store. The building and the picture we have look much like this. The layout seems to have been the same everywhere.

Karen S. said...

What a perfect photo to go with Alan's theme photo this week. Thanks for the new word too, I don't think I've heard that before!