In 1942, Max Muralt and his brother, Victor were still down on Railroad Street working in their meat market. Then disaster struck:
Victor Muralt's daughter, Loretta Holstein, remembered: "There was a fire in April 1950 and it, along with others, the shops burned down. The next day, my brothers and I searched through the ashes and found coins because Daddy would leave pennies, nickels, and dimes in the cash register overnight."
That was when the Victor Muralt family bought property at Six Corners and built a home with the shop next door. Ironically, that poplar tree grove near the house and market finally had its last tree cut down this summer, August 2019.
Holstein: "They named the business: Muralt's Bacon. Daddy had customers and he mailed bacon and ham all over 35 states, including Hawaii. At Christmastime, he had many orders to send all over. He was proud that Vic Atiyeh, who became Oregon's governor, would come and buy bacon."
By the time of this move, Victor took over the meat market on his own and specialized in bacon and smoked meats.
Holstein: "My Dad made chip beef that he sliced almost paper-thin, and piled it up in a container for the refrigerated showcase. The customers would buy that and that was one of his specialties. The smoke house was in the back of the shop, and he would buy apple wood mostly, or cherry wood, and would build two fires for smoking the bacon in cut out pits made out of cement in the floor. On Sundays, people would know when Victor Muralt came to church, because he would sometimes check the smoke house before going to church, and then the smoke smell came to church with him!"
The Muralt family all went to the St. Paul Lutheran Church west of Six Corners and Sherwood:
Holstein: "I have lots of memories of the house and meat market at Six Corners. My folks bought the property right after the April 1950 fire that burned the Muralt's Meat Market down in Sherwood. I was in the eighth grade at St. Paul Lutheran Church Grade School. That building is still on the church property and my folks also went to that school when they were little.
"Then around 1966, he sold the business to his sister's son, Lee Hornshuh, and he continued the business and did well. Lee hired some 'professional advisors' (to suggest) how to expand the business, and they said to move the business to Tigard, to a new location called Canterbury Square. Victor told him not to do it because he wouldn't make it if he moved. But, he moved the business, and had to have a totally different way to smoke the bacon, having the smoke piped in from a unit that burned the wood.
"Regulations dictated that he was not allowed to have the smoke originating in the same room in a fire pit under the bacon, hams and dried beef. This was not like it was done at Six Corners. Plus, Canterbury Square had some disadvantages: The location was not visible enough from the highway; and folks were used to the 'old place.' So, sad to say, in a while, his nephew went bankrupt and that was the end of Muralt's Home Cured Bacon."
Tickets are still on sale for the 5th Annual Mason Dinner, Monday, Oct. 14. The event will be held at the restaurant on Railroad Street. Seating starts at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Proceeds go to the Sherwood Historical Society. They can be purchased at the Museum, at Mason Restaurant, or from SHS board members. There will be some great historical entertainment, in songs and story. The food will be historical food from the Western European heritage of Sherwood's ancestors. Check Morback Museum on facebook for more details.
Also, there will be a big antique sale on Railroad Street in mid-October. It will be at Odge Gribble's old shop, which used to be one of Sherwood's first saloons. Bring your money and get a piece of history !
The Sherwood Historical Society will also be hosting many second- and third-graders this fall for the fulfillment of their state standards in social studies. The unit of study is titled "Our Community" and covers city government, community resources, culture and history of our town. Be on the lookout for school kids exploring Old Town.
As any grade-schooler can tell you, the Morback Museum is open Wednesday and Saturday 1 to 4 p.m., and we're collectin' history.
June Reynolds is a member of the Sherwood Historical Society.
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