212 and 214 First Street
Marcel, Myken's (Livey Stable / Mercantile / Old Soul Bazaar)
1904: Livery stable built
Looking west on First Street ca. 1908-1910. (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society)
"Jacob and Ava Brehm moved to Langley from Walla Walla, Washington with their son Gus around 1904, and Jacob built a livery stable on the north side of First Street. There was more land on the bluff behind the Livery Stable in those days, and horses were staked out there."
"The farmers in Langley's outlying area knew 'Big Jake' as the jolly German who was not adverse to taking a nip of the cup of cheers as he made his rounds with horse and wagon collecting their cans of cream which he took to the Langley dock and shipped to an Everett creamery." (Cherry)
Circa 1914. Jacob Brehm in a wagon (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society)
Jacob Brehm is standing in a wagon in front of the livery stable he built on First Street in 1904. By 1914 more and more automobiles were beginning to appear on Langley's Streets.
Circa 1922: Livery Stable transformed into a mercantile
Circa 1922. Arie Kuiper's mercantile (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society)
The livery stable changed owners several times. William ("Bill") Howard ran the stable for a time, then sold it to Hans Peter Jensen who transformed it into a mercantile operated by Arie Kuiper.
Hans Peter Jensen and his family arrived in Langley in 1910. Hans was an entrepreneur and began investing in Langley businesses. He bought the Langley wharf in 1912, and started improving the business there, adding a cannery, sea breeze confectionary, new warehouses, and a large dance pavilion. As more automobiles began appearing on the Island, Hans and his sons Jake and Fred started a "cars for hire" business at the dock. "Hans bought out their competition, Bill Howard's livery stable at the top of the hill, and liquidated the hay burners, because as Jake put it 'You couldn't make any money feeding all those nags.'" (Everett Herald, 1967).
Circa 1936 - 1944: Restaurants
Charlotte Hensley ran a restaurant in the former livery stable from about 1936-1938. According to her daughter, Betty, a severe windstorm started a fire in her father's barbershop on Anthes Avenue when she was 9 years old (1932). The wind apparently broke some wires and a fire started in the rafters and the building was burned to the ground. The town's little "pumper on a cart" fire equipment was unable to do much. Her father left town after the fire, leaving his family behind.
Her mother ran a restaurant in the former mercantile In order to provide for her children. It had an attic above the restaurant where they lived. Her mother had a contract with PSP&L to feed the workers who came across to work on the Island. They would stay in the rooms above the Primavera's store and eat in her mother's restaurant. On weekends, the bachelors stayed and she fed them two meals a day. Since her mother was very religious, Betty did the cooking on Sundays. She served steaks very rare which the men liked. Her mother closed the restaurant after about two years.
1942. Mardel Cafe (Courtesy Anna Primavera)
Mr. and Mrs. Del Boyer next ran the "Mardel Cafe" in the building for a short time following the Hensley restaurant.
1944: Langley Laundry
Leda Ethel Breedlove, her husband Othel Wayne Breedlove, their two sons Robert and Ben, and their daughter Bonnie came to Langley from rural Missouri in 1943. They lived in the former livery stable building until Othel had earned enough money working in the Everett shipyards to buy a house.
According to Ben Breedlove, "Mom ran a laundry in the downstairs. Half the downstairs was the washing machine and the mangle and some other things and the other half was the drying room where we hung up clothesline and dried the laundry we took in because in the winter how are you going to dry clothes. We lived upstairs. My bedroom was on the left when you look at the building from the street. I used to pretend to be sick and skip school because I loved to get out that window on that little balcony and just lay there and watch the people and all the activities in the street.
"You had to go in between our building and the garage and go up a stairway to the back to get in and there was about 20 feet of lawn there 'til it fell off the bank. We hooked up a pulley on the tree and yarded driftwood up into the back yard and cut it up because we not only heated the upstairs with wood, but we also heated the drying room with a wood stove. All we had was wood heat in the whole building."
"In wintertime, the kids would come and visit. We'd move all the clothes back out of the way - that drying room had a brown linoleum floor- and we'd all take our shoes off and put on socks and we'd play blind man's bluff. Mom loved it because that linoleum floor was always polished."
After about a year and a half, the Breedlove's moved to a house on Saratoga Road.
1957 Bakery (Courtesy Darrell Corbin)
A bakery run by two women began around 1954. One time "the owners put all the money they took in into a doughnut box and it got hauled off to the garbage. They lost $400." (Sandy Izett)
1960. Bakery, Delicatessen and Scottie's Lunch Room. (Courtesy Darrell Corbin)
1973: Crow's Nest
Michael LaRue and Les Dunner opened the "Crow's Nest" upstairs in 1973. According to Michele: "Upstairs (in the old livery stable building) was a little macrame and bead shop. We rented the upstairs for $50. We lived upstairs and had our first business up there called the Crow's Nest. We had a little gallery and had one of the first real art openings. We also did picture framing and had little gifts."
Michele recalls; "Down below us were two shops. On the right was Loye and Dorothy Minor's 'Village Vintner,' a wine making-gourmet kitchen shop. On the left was 'Frank's Seashell Shop.' I just loved coming in and buying seashells from him. But at night, he'd close down, go home, then he'd come back and smoke and drink in his shop by himself. Les and I were always worried he'd fall asleep and set fire and in there."
Inside the seashell shop, "there were about four church-sized tables...and each one supported a series of varied size boxes like shoe boxes, and shirt boxes, and jewelry boxes, and inside each box there were shells from all over the world, including the Langley Marina."
Frank Baker started his shop on south side of First Street in 1967, then moved to the old livery stable building. According to Josh Hauser, "Frank was a dear man, but his shop didn't last too long. He had a sea shell shop to have something to do during the day. The building didn't even have a john. The other half (of the building) was usually vacant. It was broom shop for awhile. A group of lady weavers hung out there. It was a group of weavers showing their wares."
A clock and a porch with a "fire escape ladder" were added to the front of the building about this time. Michele remembers "that used to be a great clock. It didn't work, but we loved it."
After about a year and a half, space in the former Desoto/Plymouth building next door became available and Michele and Les moved there next to Michele's father's tobacco and pipe shop.
Circa 1983. Sign below the left window reads "deodora cottage industries." (Courtesy John Ball)
In 1983, Denice Malone lived upstairs and had a jewelry shop on one side called "Deodora" The other side was Denise LaRue's linen shop. She and Denice used to have a shop together. Denise LaRue followed her parents and sister Michele to Langley in 1975. She opened "Cottage Antiques" specializing in small antiques and textiles. Denice Malone was scheduled to inherit the building from her parents. However, that did not happen. The building was sold, and Denice moved out. (Sandrajean Wainright)
Denise LaRue moved her business into the space next door following the death of her father in 1983.
Circa 1984. Sign on left side reads "Childers/Procter Gallery" (Courtesy Langley City Hall)
Ron Childers and Richard Proctor moved their gallery from the former Meat Market building into the right side of the building in 1983. When they moved into the former post office building up the street in 1988, their space was occupied by "Saratoga Antiques."
2004. "Saratoga Antiques" sign in the window on the right (Courtesy Robert Waterman)
In 1987 the building was sold by Robert Siegel to Ronald & Virgina Allison and George & Fran Moynihan. The building was repainted and new tenants moved into the first floor spaces. The two couples shared the upstairs apartment for weekend visits, and Fran Moynihan managed the two retail spaces downstairs.
2004. Gwen Knight's "Glass Knight" (Courtesy Robert Waterman)
The "Glass Knight" occupied the left side. "Island Life Home" the right side.
2004. "Island Life Home" (Courtesy Robert Waterman)
Island Life was replaced by "Mykens," a specialty pet store that moved from the Langley Village
2018. Myken's. (Courtesy Robert Waterman)
2007. Glass Knight (left) and Mykens (right) (Courtesy Robert. Waterman)
The Glass Knight was replaced by "She Sez," a women's clothing store. She Sez was subsequently replaced by the "Old Soul Bazaar" in 2018.
2018. Old Soul Bazaar (Courtesy Robert. Waterman)
After a brief tenure, the Old Soul Bazaar was replaced by Marcel, a shop selling "Gifts, Cards and Found Objects," in 2019.
2019. Marcel (Courtesy Robert. Waterman)