Q: I have a 16 1/2 -inch-tall plastic light-up Santa that my late father got from the owners of Bintz Brothers Department Store in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1949. My mother said Pop brought it home for me when I was a toddler. It’s been in the garage for years but is now part of my Christmas decorations. I’ve learned that it was made for store display and not to be sold, but I’d love to know its history.
Gerre Brenneman, Fresno
A:Your plastic Santa was made in 1948, according to Bill’s Antique Christmas Light Site. “Many companies offered standing Santa figures lighted from within by a single C-7 lamp through a hole in the back,” the website says.
The late Bill Nelson, an antiques researcher who put up the website, noted that your style Santa was made by the Miller Electric Co. of Pawtucket, R.I., that sold “Christmas lights and lighted novelty items.” Nelson said the Miller Co. closed in 1965, although there is a nationwide electronics company with the same name today.
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Photos on the website show Santa figures like yours with a hole in the top of Santa’s left hand, which is posed across his waist. It’s not clear what the hole was specifically designed to hold, although in one picture the Santa is holding a Christmas light.
Santa display figure promoted plastics and Christmas.
The Bintz Brothers store was located at Third and Main streets, according to the Zanesville, Ohio, city directory.
The store apparently opened in 1940. The owners – brothers A.L. Bintz Jr., Robert J. Bintz and John G. Bintz – celebrated the store’s 11th anniversary in 1951, according to a story in The Times Recorder of Zanesville. Brother Ted Bintz had a store in Fremont, Ohio.
The brothers took over “the old Sturtevant department store building,” the story said, and leased additional space nearby, which increased their store’s space to 56,000 square feet. They had more than 90 employees.
Each brother was in charge of one of the three floors. Robert had the first floor, which the story said “contains the men and boys’ clothing departments, ladies accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, ladies and children’s shoes.”
Brother A.L. had the second floor with “the foundation garments, domestics, bedding, ladies’ dress and sportswear departments” and John had the third floor with the “rug and floor covering, furniture, radio, drapery, storm window and insulation departments.”
Q: I have a platter from C.J. Krueger’s grocery store in downtown Fresno. Could you give me any information about this store?
Maizie M. Master, Clovis
A: The platter was a promotional item given by Charles John Krueger to his customers. From the picture of the platter, the words stamped on it tell almost all we know about his store: “From the store that appreciates your trade. Compliments of C.J. Krueger’s Grocery. Hay, grain wood and coal. 1401 F St., Fresno. Phone 1719.”
Krueger was born in Kansas in 1874. He owned a store at 1364 E St. in Fresno from 1910 to 1912 and moved to the F Street address in 1913. The store closed in 1919, about the time that Krueger’s father died. He returned to Kansas that year to take care of his father’s estate.
Krueger listed a Fresno address again in 1928 but was living in Los Angeles by 1930. When Krueger died in 1954, his body was returned to Kansas for burial.
More about: After the answer to a question about three Fresno street names beginning with the letter “V” was published on Nov. 13, Donna Verrue Esposito of Sanger, great-granddaughter of the street’s namesake, wrote to share more information.
“Growing up we had always known about how the street got its name, but never knew about his promotion of the campgrounds in the Monterey area,” Esposito said. Her great-grandfather was Henri Randall Verrue, a native of France, whose name in documents and news accounts was referred to as Harry R. Verrue.
“Old family lore was that Hazelwood off Ventura was named after his daughter, Hazel, my father’s aunt,” said Esposito, who wondered if the story was true.
According to librarian Chris Her of the San Joaquin Heritage and Genealogy Center at the downtown branch of the Fresno County library, the Pacific Improvement Co., for which Verrue worked, was not involved in subdividing that street.
“The Hazelwood Subdivision that contains Hazelwood Boulevard was subdivided in 1912 by the Ewing-McDaniel Co.” which formed the Hazelwood Co., Her said. “Plus, when a street is named after a loved one they typically keep the name as is. If the street were named for Hazel Verrue then we’d surmise that it would be Hazel Boulevard, not Hazelwood.”
Her also noted that nearby streets are not named for Verrue’s other daughter, Aline, or son Elmer. It’s more likely that either Hazelwood Boulevard is either another “tree street” similar to Orange, Cedar and Maple, or it is named after the Hazelwood Co.
Ask Me publishes on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Paula Lloyd is a freelance writer. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Paula Lloyd, c/o The Fresno Bee Newsroom, 1626 E St., Fresno CA 93786. Please include your name, city of residence and a phone number.