Thursday, June 20, 2013

A view to Upper Queen Street

Another card repatriated from America, looking up Queen Street from outside what was then, and still is, Smith & Caughey's. I'd date the card as being 1905-1906 period.

Tonson Garlick & Co, furnishing company, having a "Gigantic Cash Furniture Sale". Here was I thinking only modern stores advertise "gigantic sales".

This part of the image offers clues as to a date for the photo. The Governor Grey statue is in place in the middle of Queen Street, near the intersection with Greys Street (now Greys Avenue), but it predated the Town Hall (see below). This image seems to predate the Town Hall as well -- I think I can see the plantation trees through the verandah posts on the right, instead of the Town Hall's iconic structure.

Also, there's no sign of the terraced shops going up the left side of Queen Street towards Karangahape Road. Those date from 1908, according to NZ Historic Places Trust.

Auckland Weekly News, 25 January 1906, AWNS-19060125-13-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

This was what drew my attention to the card: the American Dental Parlors (1905-1933), first on the site of what is now the Civic Theatre, then from c.1925 just opposite the Town Hall. W R Parkinson was a grocer immediately underneath the dental parlor, who put his shop up for lease in October 1906 -- so this limits the age of the image to being from August 1905, when the dentist opened up, to late 1906.

NZ Herald 14 September 1905

Frederick John Rayner (1875-1931) set up the Dental Parlors, although he was a Canadian educated in Chicago. He settled in Auckland in 1900, bought one of the first motor cars in the city, and was the first president of the Auckland Automobile Association. His American Dental Parlours offered the Auckland public a fully electrically-generated system of dental treatment and waiting room comforts, possibly among the first dental surgeries to be operated by electricity in the country. He was able to achieve this by having his own generator on the premises. By 1910, he advertised that 1000 patients were treated at his offices each month. Rayner built Auckland’s first cabaret, the Dixieland Dance Hall, and established the Hippodrome Picture Company which ultimately became the Amalgamated Theatre chain.

View of the American Dental Parlors, March 1925 (Winkelmann), 1-W314, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library.


  1. Back then, was there really an alternative to paying cash for any kind of large purchase from a store? I suppose a good customer might have an account.

  2. Yes, they would --- and Tonson Garlick had a fair few such customers. But, it's the "American-ness" of "Gigantic Cash Sale" that got to me, I suppose. The dental parlors rubbed off on the English furnishers, perhaps ...