Your One Stop Old Timey Shop

Posted on April 1, 2010 – 1:40 AM | by OldManFoster
  • Share

By Niki Kangas  photos by Jesse Vasquez

“What does that place sell- granola or something?”

Ah, my buddy Rebecca was dead wrong, making the same mistake that many of you may have made in regard to Sacramento City Dry Goods…that is, disregarding it because it’s in Old Sac and has a nebulous name that could be easily misinterpreted.   Unless you’re super-into historical reenactments- or just wander into every Old Sac store you see- you’ve probably glanced over it too. And what a pity! Any faithful Sacramentan should have this shop in their repertoire of unique and city-defining haunts to check out.

Sacramento City Dry Goods peddles “men’s’ and ladies’ furnishings, fancy goods, sundries, and curiosities,” all under a moniker that would have been appropriate when Sacramento was a bustling Gold Rush town. When I stopped in, “curiosities” included a Civil War uniforms, coloring books and a phrenology bust (you remember- the 19th century notion that the shape of one’s skull spoke volumes of their character and mental faculties?) The bust elicited an audible chuckle. They also carry corset-making supplies, sewing patterns, Victorian fabrics, paper dolls, fashion history books, Victorian art stickers, knickers, utility kilts, aviator helmets, goggles, monocles, replica firearms and other weapons, and historical toys.

The majority of the inventory, consists of well-made, meant to be worn, reproduction (not vintage) clothing and accessories from the 1800’s. The men’s, women’s, and children’s attire, (gloves, parasols, hats, boots, shoes, hoop skirts, corsets, and watches), though period-specific, could well be incorporated into the fashion-conscious modern city dweller’s wardrobe.

Owners JoAnn Peterson and Dale Blair opened Sacramento City Dry Goods two years back in a location across from the California State Railroad Museum.  Both Dale and JoAnn were Old Sacramento docents (and still are to this day) so setting up shop in Old Sac was a no-brainer. The first location proved funky, and not in the good way, so they picked up shop and relocated to 110 L Street, which uncharacteristically for Old Sac has lots of easy, adjacent parking and so is a much better location.

The Dry Goods shop grew out of JoAnn’s first business, Laughing Moon Mercantile, which produces 19th century sewing patterns from taken-apart vintage pieces-  perfect for anyone who wants to reconstruct clothing from that gorgeous and elaborate bygone era. She began selling fabricated reproductions online and by appointment out of her studio.  Finding that to be both enjoyable and lucrative, she and boyfriend Dale decided to open up shop.

The store’s primary clientele, according to Peterson, are “historical reenactors, or those who want to add unique detail to attire they already have.” She mentioned that they also have a steadily growing market for theater and film people and costume rentals.  Peterson also works with schools that have parents and children dress up to replay Sacramento history as a teaching method.  The store also caters to Sacramento’s steampunks.

And, just as there are many style sects today, there were also a wealth of looks to adopt back in the good old days. The store carries gear for Civil War civilians like Victorian gentlemen and ladies, tweed-donning bicycle riders (in fact, last month you might have caught Tony King’s article about the locals bringing that particular aesthetic back), Gold Rush prospectors, and gun-totin’ cowboys. Said gear is either made on site, custom-made for the store abroad, or sourced from surprising and interesting places. For example, Peterson found some awesome black and white high heeled ankle boots that I drooled over on a stripper supplier website!  I’ll assume that really took some digging to find.

So if April finds you bored, meander on down to Old Sac and see for yourself: Sacramento’s one-stop old timey shop.

Tags: , , , , , ,

  1. 3 Responses to “Your One Stop Old Timey Shop”

  2. avatar

    By Buy Magic on Dec 26, 2010 | Reply

    Gotta love a place that allows you step back in time. Another great little hidden gem in Old Sac is the Record store in the alley. They have refurbished Jukeboxes and Pinball machines in the back. Worth a look see!

  3. avatar

    By Barry Blair on Mar 23, 2015 | Reply

    Hey, Dale your brother is ready to come to Sacramento to see if you are alive or just mad at him. Your voice mail is full, so call him or I will not be responsible for his actions. Linda

  1. 1 Trackback(s)

  2. May 11, 2010: Editor’s Letter, April 2010 | Midtown Monthly

Post a Comment