On this day in 1954, H.B. Kline and Company celebrated its 50th year on Jasper Avenue.
At least, it was possibly the 50th anniversary. It's a bit fuzzy when the storied jewelry store first opened at its original location at Jasper Avenue and 99 Street. Many place the date at 1904, the same year that Kline and his wife Theresa moved to Edmonton. Other records suggest the store might have opened as late as 1907.
What is pretty clear is that in 1911, Kline moved his business to 101 Street, tucked in with the Allen Theatre building. The business would remain there for the next six decades.
The Kline family was one of the earliest members of Edmonton's Jewish community, which grew larger as the city's population soared in the 1900s. While it might be known primarily as a jewelry store, the Klines' business offered an almost comical array of goods and services over the years — filling all kinds of niches for a growing city.
They had fine china and crystal glassware. They sold clocks, repaired watches, and had a precise chronometer to allow customers to set their own timepieces. Customers could also have their ears pierced in the store. Eye exams were offered, and glasses were sold to those who failed. Following the First World War, the shop did business in glass eyes for injured veterans.
The elder Kline ran the shop until his death in 1933, when ownership passed to his son Louis and daughter Anne. Their nephew later took it over, and it remained a family business until it closed in 1972. The store and its neighbour, the renamed Capitol Theatre, were then torn down.
However, H.B. Kline and Company would eventually return. When Fort Edmonton Park built a replica of the Capitol Theatre in 1911, it included a recreation of the display window and signage from the jewelry shop. It started as little more than a facade, backed by storage rooms. But an effort soon began to recreate the old store completely. Led by Kline's great-grandson, the Jewish Archives and Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta, and others, the project was successful in raising funds and tracking down actual antiques from the store's seven(ish) decades of operation.
The rebuilt H.B. Kline and Company reopened to Fort Edmonton Park visitors in 2013, both an example of early Jasper Avenue commerce and an essential part of the history of the city's Jewish community. You can see if for yourself while enjoying a horse-drawn wagon ride around the park, starting on Nov. 21 and running through February.