Butch Cassidy and Hamley’s toyshop

By | Category: Travel destinations

The other Hamley's

What could be more British than the toy store in London’s Regent Street? But how does it relate to famed outlaw, Butch Cassidy. The answer is via a single family – Hamley. One of the family went west. To the wild west and that’s how there is an American saddlery, bar and restaurant in Pendleton, Oregon called Hamley
The same family was involved in both ventures and, whilst neither is today, both are still around. But the Hamley in Pendleton is a little more appealing to the adult. Here is a town on the famed Oregon Trail where pioneers and cowboys once mingled and cowboys still do. This is faming country and Hamley & Co is one of the oldest stores still making them. In 1905 they relocated to Pendleton, Oregon and set up shop in the same building that exists to this day. Hamley was known as a harness and saddle maker, but the business soon developed around its saddles and became known throughout the west as the maker of “the finest saddles man could ride”. It eventually was bought by Parley Pearce and Blair Woodfield about seven years ago.
But next to that is a redeveloped part, the Hamley Steakhouse, which is now part bar, part restaurant, part venue. Restored over the last four years by Pearce and his wife, there’s much to remind you of the old west. In the bar there is a twelve foot long section of bank teller’s windows which was from a bank that Butch Cassidy held up with Kid Curry in 1897. Pearce managed to locate it, buy it and ship it back to Pendleton. Now you can lean through the window that Cassidy must have done when he demanded they hand over the money!
But there’s more. Upstairs there is a huge bar fashioned from American oak. In itself it is a stunning sight but, again, there is a story. Originally it was the bar in the Thornton Hotel in Butte, Montana – another place with a strong cowboy background and only fifty miles from where that perennial film star cowboy, Gary Cooper, was brought up. Still there a century after the wild western cowboys had vanished, the owner got into a disagreement with someone for chiselling his initials in wooden bar. He killed him.

Wanna play Butch Cassidy?

Taken away, the hotel was closed and was going to be sold off to pay back taxes. Now that bar had heritage and some of his friends and relatives decided, drunkenly one day, that they would rescue the bar. In one night they stole, took it apart and only then realised it was so big they didn’t have anywhere to store it. Remembering an abandoned house, they hid it in there little thinking that one day the house might be sold. Before that happened they looked for a buyer and up stepped Pearce who shipped it to Pendleton. Today that bar is in the function room upstairs, the initials dated 2002 (yes it was that recent) can still be seen as can a small patch of blood that soaked into the wood. Ask Pearce and his wife to show you around
Yup, Like it is in London, Hamleys is still around in Pendleton, Oregon. But over there its men’s toys they have!

For more information about Pendleton, click here

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