And while I was downtown, I could replace my black shoes. Surely Meier & Frank would have the same pair. I took four dollars from my rainy day fund—a serious depletion, but it couldn’t be helped.

Judging from its ads, Meier & Frank was the department store to go to in Portland in 1912, and four dollars would have bought a decent pair of shoes. The elegant five-story building on Fifth Street between Alder and Morrison boasted more than 100,000 square feet of floor space. There was a ten-story annex about a block away. The store grew from a partnership between Aaron Meier and Emil Frank in 1873. Here’s a detailed description of the store’s history, including the Meier-Frank connection to Harry Weis, Max Hirsch, and the White Stag Company. Hirsch is an ancient surname derived from an old German word for deer or stag.  And Weis? You guessed it—a name that means “white.”

In 1912, Miriam could have looked for her black shoes at Lipman Wolfe & Co., a new department store across in the street from Meier & Frank. That building, with some of the old decorations restored, is now the Hotel Monaco.

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