Interior view of Haniger Hat Shop.
“Wait a minute. Don’t be in such a rush spending your hard cold cash for clothes until you know where to spend it to your advantage. There are many good shops in Salem and one you can’t afford to miss is the Haniger Hat Shop, 190 N. Liberty. Don’t think hats are the only item. It’s amazingly full of the prettiest coats, dresses, blouses, sweaters, smocks, umbrellas, at popular prices, and Margaret Haniger’s quick, smiling “Let me help you,” makes a warm, friendly contact. Truly we don’t know of a busier place, in proportion to its size, in all of Salem, a real popularity house.,,.”
The Haniger Hat Shop was a Salem institution for over 30 years. Its origins began in February 1924 as the Women’s Shop which, as the name implied, catered exclusively to women’s patronage. The Oregon Statesman newspaper reported its grand opening in the Adolph-Waters Building in the February 24, 1924 edition. The shop was a partnership between Miss A.E. Lyons and Mrs. M. Haniger. Miss Lyons took charge of the hosiery, underwear and corset department while Mrs. Haniger handled the millinery department.
It is interesting to note that the corner of Liberty & Court streets where the shop resided was actually the third structure built in that location. The first was a small one-story Chinese washhouse. Then in the mid-1880s, a two story building was built with two shop spaces and a meeting hall above. After much neglect, the property was purchased by Joseph Adolph and George E. Waters and a new building constructed in 1923. Driving past the Adolph-Waters building today you’ll notice that the current tenant is Top Drawer Upscale Resale & Boutique.
In 1926, two years after the store’s opening, Margaret bought out her business partner and changed the name of the business to Haniger Hat Shop. She also added women’s clothing and outerwear to her merchandise selection. The store remained open until 1955 when Margaret retired and closed the business. The prime real estate location was taken over by Edna Phelps and Joy Cohen who opened a new women’s apparel shop called Cover Girl.
So who was Margaret Haniger, longtime women’s apparel shop owner? According to a Daily Capital Journal article dated September 27, 1943, Margaret “became the light of her parents’ home in Bozeman, Montana; been holding her own beautifully in Salem since 1922,