THE ATTIC

PARMELEE-DOHRMANN CO.
Zelotes Larkin Parmelee 1851-1926; Charles Albert Parmelee 1865-1960
James, James (?), James, Moses, Hezekiah, Joel, John, John
 

The family crockery and glassware company at 436-444 S. Broadway was a downtown Los Angles landmark for many years.

In this colorized 1916 photo of Broadway, look just above the awning on the far side of the street and you'll see the yellow lettering of "Parmelee-Dohrmann."

Brothers Zelotes Larkin and Charles Albert were behind the enterprise. The two were young men when the family moved to California in the 1870s -- first to Dixon, then to Los Angeles -- in a covered wagon after stints in Illinois and Iowa. The brothers opened a store at 210 N. Main St. and then moved to larger quarters on Broadway. A third brother, Elbert Russell (1875-1920), was chief clerk at the Los Angeles Justice Court.

Everything these families did was recorded in the pages of Los Angeles Times: parties, lodge meetings, appearances as jurors and witnesses, holidays at the beach, trips to Europe, a barn fire, an overcoat stolen at church ... even the time Eliza (Zelotes' wife) had to have her spooked horse put down in 1895 after it made a mad dash through the city streets, demolishing the empty buggy it was pulling.

Dohrmann eventually bought the Parmelees out. The Dohrmann Commercial Co. was bought by the Broadway-Hale Corp., became part of Robinsons-May in 1996, and then rebranded as Macy's.

At right is a present-day view of the site on Broadway. The old china store has been replaced by a smaller block structure, but the building to the left still stands.

At left is a present-day view of the site on Broadway. The old china store has been replaced by a smaller block structure, but the building to the left still stands.


This is one of four photos of La Fiesta de Los Angeles as the procession moves along Broadway in 1894. In one of the other photos you can see that the street banner seen in the middle of the rear of this shot heralds the upcoming appearance of John Philip Sousa's band. In this photo, if you look at the buildings on the right, you'll see "Woodbury Business College" painted on a building. Right under it is a sign that reads:

Z.L. Parmelee
Crockery
and Glassware

 

This undated photo of the interior bills Parmelee-Dohrmann as "largest china and arts goods store on the Pacific Coast."

Imagine being inside during an earthquake!


Items sold on eBay from the Parmelee-Dohrmann store include:
California missions plate
6 1/2-inch diameter
Cup and saucer
Lowell pattern, 1917
China marking
back of plate
Plate