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F. Schilling & Son Business Records
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Ledgers from F. Schilling & Son, one of San Jose's historic businesses, family owned and operated from the 1860s through the early 1980s, selling firearms, hardware and sporting goods.
According to “Pen Pictures From The ‘Garden of the World’,” Frank Schilling was born in Mainz, Germany, in 1835, and settled in San Jose around 1862 after making his way from New York, where he had arrived in 1850. A metallurgist by trade, he opened San Jose’s first firearms store at 27 El Dorado Street (now Post Street) shortly after his arrival. Schilling married Dublin, Ireland, native Margaret Dooty, in San Francisco. Sons Herbert E. and Raymond assisted in the family business. Herbert was also mayor of San Jose from 1892 to 1894. Second son F. A. (“Al”) Schilling held several positions in the Santa Clara County government, including County Auditor, County Purchasing Agent, and Business Manager at County Hospital. Frank Schilling was also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Knights of Honor. F. Schilling & Son Sporting Goods continued to be owned and operated by the Schilling family for over 100 years at the same address (the original building was demolished in 1929, and a new one built in its place). In 1982, in an obituary for owner Francis J. Schilling (son of Raymond), the Mercury News referred to the store as San Jose’s oldest continuously operated business. According to their interview with Schilling, his grandfather Frank sold hardware at the shop until 1906, when the business gave away all of their tools and hardware to rebuild the city. After taking over the business in the 1940s, grandson Frank stopped selling sports apparel, and focused on hunting and fishing equipment, “the blue-shirt trade,” for the “regular guy.” Urban growth had diminished Santa Clara Valley’s hunting and fishing activities, and the store - already operating on a reduced schedule - closed shortly after Schilling’s death.
Approximately 4 linear feet
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The collection is open to the public for research by appointment with the Curator of Library & Archives.