Historic cash register finds home at WL bank
For more than four decades, it gathered dust at a Clackamas County Historical Society warehouse.
It was unearthed in 2014, when CCHS passed it along to the newly formed West Linn Historical Society. Four years later, an ornate 1913 cash register — minted the same year West Linn was founded — once a centerpiece at the old C.A. Ridder General Merchandise store has finally found a permanent home at Pacific West Bank.
"This is a significant piece of history," West Linn Historical Society Vice President Danny Schreiber said. "Because the community could pay for city bills (at the general store) — sewage and water bills — as well as make purchases at the grocery store (inside the general store), so it was probably seen prominently by many of the locals."
The Ridder store opened in 1919 at the storefront that is now Lil' Cooperstown Bar & Grill on Willamette Falls Drive, when Charles A. Ridder took over what was formerly known as Leisman's Willamette Market and Deli. A post office also operated out of the back of the building until 1955, and a different family took over the store in 1963. Items from the Ridder store, including the cash register, were donated to the CCHS in 1971.
The historical society hoped find a home for the cash register nearby the old general store property. Just a few blocks away, the locally-owned Pacific West Bank proved to be a perfect fit.
"They were very excited to have it in their lobby," Schreiber said. "They helped fund it — they're the ones who paid for an enclosure and safety glass. It's a 500-pound or so cash register — it's not light — so we had to build a nice, substantial cherrywood base for it."
The cash register is also accompanied by interpretive signage explaining its origins.
Pacific West CEO/President Bob Seibert said that the bank and former CEO Steve Gray combined to cover the cost of the project, which was about $1,100, and that the bank was excited to welcome its new addition.
"It's a fabulous way for us to connect in with the community and history of the place," Seibert said. "We have customers come through who regularly 'oo' and 'ah' over it — it's a very interesting piece of history in the area."
"It's a nice, shining example of a little piece of history finally being returned to West Linn," Schreiber said.