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Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



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History Column 350 Dave Petersen O.J. Wangen Paint & Wallpaper There are times that I am amazed at the material that can be found on the internet regarding family histories and local town histories. I've been a member of the Gen Web project since 1998, and I know that there are thousands of people around the country scanning, transcribing and placing free genealogy resources online. Pieces of history come from all over the country and sometimes the world and when we can put the pieces together we get a chance to take a glimpse into times long past. One of the other resources that is overlooked by many people are the books scanned by Google many of which are copyright free and available to download online. http:// Books.google.com Sometimes when I search local names and events these sometimes very obscure publications will pop up and provide a nugget of local history that might not otherwise have come to light. Ollie J. Wangen was born in Norway (1859-1952) and lived at 809 E Ludington Avenue, he was an early Ludington merchant. The Sherwin Williams Company put out a book on their dealers, its not something we would normally find around here but they included O.J. Wangen our local Sherwin Williams dealer in the 19th century and I've included some of their write up here. "THE greatest factor in pushing J. good goods is to transact business with customers in a strictly honest and upright way, that you may gain their confidence and hold it." "These are the words of Mr. O. J. Wangen, S. W. P. ( Sherwin Williams Paint) agent at Ludington, Mich., and his success is a splendid endorsement of his business policy. "When Mr. Wangen took the agency nine years ago, lead and oil were practically the only paint materials used in Ludington and the surrounding district. Paint buyers and painters had no confidence in prepared paints. The prospects of building up a trade on The S-W. products were not promising, and it was only the reputation Mr. Wangen had established for honesty and reliability that gave him an opportunity to place the first orders for S.W.P. His old customers knew that he would not recommend an article that was not right. "From that time on," writes Mr. Wangen in reviewing his experience with the S. W. P. agency, "by strong personal work, well placed newspaper advertising, window and store displays, and the great assistance of the 'personal letters' you wrote for me to property owners, I have more than doubled my sales on S-VV. products from year to year." "The paint business of the territory was gone after aggressively from the very beginni n g . The work of introducing The S-W. products and of educating the trade on their good qualities was carefully planned-and the plans carefully worked. Every detail of a systematic advertising campaign received close attention. "Mr. Wangen has always made a wide use of the various features of The S-W. advertising, and arranged his own advertising to follow up and supplement it. Every line of advertising that reached the paint buyer-the man interested in paint-was a part of the firm's advertising." Pic1 This is a great interior view of the O.J. Wangen store at 123 E Ludington Avenue and it has come to us courtesy of Oeystein Hole of Norway whose great grandfather Peter Gundersen Moe is pictured within. Oyestein is looking for information on his family in America and shared this picture. Pic2 Outside view of the store of Mr. 0. J. Wangen, Ludington, Mich. The photograph was taken after participation in a parade. (Mr. Wangen marked with cross) Later the A&P Store and Lewis Drugs occupied the site. Pic3 Last Thursday evening, (September 3rd) O. J. Wangen gave a banquet at the Stearns hotel for his employees, of whom fourteen of the sixteen were present. The two invited guests were W. F. Gallinger, of Chicago, who represents The Sherwin-Williams Co., and S. C. Marburger, who is the largest consumer of S-W. products in the county. Pic4 A period advertisement of the Ludington store.

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