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Friday, July 5, 2013



For more than three decades Rathbun's Department Store was key shopping location in the San Fernando Valley. Established before malls, Rathbun's was one of the few high style stores in the Valley. Shopping downtown Los Angeles was an occasion for holidays.


Studio said...

My mother shopped at Rathbuns when I was a kid. I went there by myself when I was 11 to buy Boy Scout items, as they and May Co were the only stores to allocate space for BSA (Boy Scouts of America licensed products. It had an ambiance few stores capture today.

Lemora said...

Rathbun's was part of my earliest memories of North Hollywood in the 1950's and '60's. I have photos of myself sitting on Santa's lap at Christmas time in 1952. My mother met a fellow sorority alum and lifelong friend working at the counter of Rathbuns when she first moved to California in about 1946. I can barely recognize the Lankersheim Blvd. of my childhood when I have recently driven down it. Thank you for this memory!

Sue Christensen said...

I am the granddaughter of Ted and Pat Rathbun, who owned the store, and my mom and dad helped run the store from the 1960s on. Someone asked in the original post about why the store closed down. Actually, in 1972, it was sold to Nahas Department Stores. My grandparents were in their 70's by then, and just weren't interested in moving to the mall scene with their business, which was the thing to do at that point. Unfortunately, Nahas didn't last too many years after that. I remember many interesting stories about the store and its customers and employees over the years. My great grandfather, Hall Rathbun, started the store on Pico Blvd. (near where the Staples Center is today) in the early 20th century and moved it to North Hollywood around 1914. So Rathbuns Dept. Store had a history of more than 50 years on Lankershim. I have pictures of the store, inside and out, over the entire time of its existence. I should probably share those. Interesting facts: Amelia Earhart bought her clothes and shoes there. Raquel Welch worked with her mom on the switchboard for awhile.

loriellen said...

I loved Rathbuns as a child in the 40's and a teen in the 50's. Loved going there with my mother. It was a classy store. Going down stairs where materials and patterns were sold was a treat, as I knew a new dress for me was about to be made. I was in high school with Annette Rathbun. I can still picture a lovely lady who worked in the glove dept. Thanks for the very pleasant memories.

Sue Christensen said...

Arlette (Rathbun) Christensen.

Studio said...

My mother took me there to buy Boy Scout items and clothing in the 60’s
It was such a classy shopping experience!
I remember feeling the elegance of the window displays, and even as a kid,
I wanted to go inside just seeing them.
Please post any pictures you have of these moments in time, that they are not