10. Holman's Department Store
542 Lighthouse Avenue



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Google Map of Holman's Department Store

Holman's and Flying A station, circa 1950 and the Holman's building in 2007.
Historical photo courtesy The Pat Hathaway Collection

Holman's building and old gas station building that is now (2007) reused as a fruit market and Goodies Deli.

Established in 1891, Holman’s was the largest department store on the Peninsula. The concrete building which now stands was built in 1924, and the fourth floor was added in the 1930s. It now houses an antique mall.

While the original flagpole had been restored to its place at the center front of the Holman building in the 1990s, it was removed and replaced by a telecommunications antenna in the early 2000s. At the time (due to a change in the building's recorded address), the Pacific Grove Community Development department was advised by its support committees that the building was not historical, and hence the flagpole removal was allowed. 

The manuscript of Pastures of Heaven was written in a 7½" x 12" commercial ledger purchased here for 82¢. The first half of the manuscript of To a God Unknown was written in green ink purchased here (on sale) for two for 5¢. The ink held out until page 167, and Steinbeck wrote the remainder of the work in 10¢ blue ink. Steinbeck found a discarded papier maché turkey behind the store, repaired it and used it as a festive disguise for a pile of hamburgers.

The flagpole skater of Cannery Row (Chapters XVII and XIX) was a real daredevil named "The Mysterious Mr. X," who set out to break his own record by staying aloft 120 feet above the street for more than 50 hours. 


Thanks to pacificgrove.tv for digital conversion
from a video copy of the original newsreel in the
National Archives, obtained by 93950.com.
"Probably nothing in the way of promotion Holman's Department Store ever did attracted so much favorable comment as the engagement of the flag-pole skater. Day after day, there he was up on his little round platform skating around and around and at night he could be seen up there too, dark against the sky so that everybody knew he didn't come down." (Cannery Row, Chapter XIX). 
Both Mrs. Malloy (Cannery Row, Chapter VIII) and Suzy (Sweet Thursday, Chapter 29) found the curtains at Holman’s irresistible. Ritchie Lovejoy, who illustrated Ricketts’ Between Pacific Tides, worked here as a copy writer. He resigned in 1940 to pursue his own writing career when Steinbeck gave him the $1,000 Pulitzer Prize check for The Grapes of Wrath. 

Continue up Grand Avenue to Lighthouse Avenue, and make a left. While Holman’s is on your left, to the right is . . .