Wednesday, November 23, 2011

52 Trade Houses Part 34: L.P. Wood of Burlington, VT

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Over the course of the next year, we'll be detailing the history of 52 companies that sold branded fishing tackle. 52 trade houses in 52 weeks -- some obscure, some famous, and all available exclusively here on the Fishing for History Blog! If you have any items from the week's entry you'd like to share with us, please send it my way and I'll make sure it makes it on the blog.

For a discussion of what exactly trade tackle is, Click Here. Enjoy the 52 for 52!

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Trade House Tackle, Part 34:

L.P. Wood of Burlington, VT

Today, we will feature a sporting goods store that had a long presence in the local Vermont community of Burlington. I chose this company because it represents just how difficult it can be to research even companies with a long and important local history.

The firm in question is L.P. Wood's Sporting Goods Store of 78 Church Street, Burlington, Vermont. I have spent a good bit of time researching this firm, and have not found very much at all about this firm, despite the fact it appears to have been in business for six decades or more.

L.P. Wood (and his wife Edna) was an important local businessman in the Burlington community. Forest & Stream tells us he was a a member of the Lake Champlain Yacht Club in the 1910s, along with a number of other local leading lights.

We know the company was in business as early as 1910, when it was listed in the Vermont Year Book as one of the state's four sporting goods retailers, and likely was founded even earlier than this. Gun historians have uncovered the fact that L.P. Wood's Sporting Goods Store of Burlington, Vermont received an order of 25 "Super .38" Colt pistols which were then sold to the Vermont Motor Vehicle Department. It's the earliest mention I can find of the firm.

The post-war era brings a lot more references. The firm was being listed in the Vermont Year Book in 1960 and was further listed in a 1967 issue of Esquire Magazine. L.P. Wood billed itself in the post-war era as "Vermont's leading sporting goods store." It also advertised in all of the local high school and university year books.

Thanks to recent obituaries, we also know the names of three principals at L.P. Wood's in the post-war era. The manager of the store in the 1950s and 1960s was Sabe Abell, who helped turn the store into a premier place for skiing equipment. Two other long-time employees included Royden Edgar "Ductchey" Brown (1895-1985) and Kenneth "Ted" Haynes (1912-2001).

A nice piece of fishing tackle marked "L.P. Wood" is this really nifty complimentary snelled hook holder with the firm's name on it. Inside was an actual snelled hook packet stamped with the firm's name. Both of these date from the 1930s.

L.P. Wood's is a great store with a lot of positive memories associated with it. It appears to have still be in business as late as the 1970s, meaning it had a very long run as a major sporting goods retailer in Vermont.

Anyone with any additional information about Wood's Sporting Goods drop me a note!

-- Dr. Todd

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