Touring Arcata Plaza, Destination # 10

Odenheimer's Shoe Shop

725 8th St.

Built: 1884

Period: Settlement Architecture c. 1850-1885

In 1917, Odenheimer's Shoe Shop and the Post Office had identical facades, but one was newly constructed and the other was over thirty years old. The one on the west retains its original architecture of pilasters, entrance pediment, balustrade topped cornice with block brackets and dentils, and a row of transom windows. While the building on the east appears to be newer because of alterations, it is actually the older structure, having been constructed in 1884 on the other lot.

Built as a shoeshop for William Odenheimer and used for that purpose until 1905, it became the Arcata Post Office in 1907. Although an addition was made in 1912, the building wasn't large enough to handle the increased volume of mail from the new Humboldt Normal School and Brizards' parcel post mailings. In preparation for construction of a new post office, the building on the east lot was demolished and the post office was moved onto that lot so that service could continue during construction of the new facility. When it opened in February 1917, the post office was hailed as "one of the finest privately owned Post Office buildings in northern California, and one so secure, that any attempt at illegal entry would be a good deal like trying to break into a well protected jail." After the Post Office moved into the new building, the old one was remodeled so that the two would look "as if they had been built at the same time."

The Post Office was at 735 8th until 1926 when it was moved to the west side of the Plaza. Over the years the building has had a variety of uses: a meat market, second hand store, bus depot and bars, and notably the Boot Club. The old shoe shop housed the Arcata Electric Shop in the 1920's when local residents were invited down for evening concerts on a "good radio set." Cafes, including the Arcata Sportsmen's Club, which had a gym at the rear, occupied the building during the 1930's.