Tigard History: Historic Tigard Feed and Garden Store

Tigard Feed and Garden Store
This photo was taken by Ester Johnston in August, 1996 and was later donated to the Tigard Library in 2016. The car parked in front of the store is a 1951 Nash Ambassador.

Downtown Tigard was home to several historic buildings, including the train depot, the grocery store, and the Tigard Feed and Garden Store. Built in 1924, the historic Tigard Feed and Garden Store sat where the Tigard Chamber of Commerce sits today.

The original owners, August Schubring and Wilbur Biederman, built the Tigard Feed and Garden Store across the street from the grocery store on Main Street. Schubring managed the grocery store and Biederman ran the feed store. Biederman used his knowledge as a graduate from Oregon Agricultural College (today known as Oregon State University) to serve his customers for over 12 years. In 1936, Schubring took over as manager of the entire store when Biederman and his family moved to Wisconsin. Many families in the Tigard area were farmers well into the 1960s and 1970s, and the store was an essential resource for buying their animal feed.

Tigard Feed and Garden Store, Tigard Chamber of Commerce
Sliding barn doors on the side of the new building facing the railroad tracks representing the old Tigard Feed and Garden Store’s doors opening to unload feed from the train. Photo: Laura Stewart.

Steve DeAngelo, owner of DeAngelo’s Catering and president of Tigard Downtown Alliance, remembered buying pet food for his daughter at the old store. DeAngelo said, “When our daughter was a young girl, she decided we should have a pet rabbit. That, of course, required rabbit food, straw for bedding and a trip to the local feed store! The atmosphere added to the sleepy community and somewhat rural feel of old town Tigard.”

Tigard’s History Librarian, Sean Garvey, explained the story and life of the Tigard Feed and Garden Store. Garvey said, “The feed store was located behind [the train depot] on an adjacent lot (where the Tigard Chamber of Commerce [and Symposium Coffee] is presently); it was moved closer to Main Street when the Pacific Highway overpass was constructed in 1940.”

Eventually, Schubring sold the store to the partnership of Gray and Rasmusen. The new owner, K.P. McLean, bought the store in 1941 from Gray and Rasmusen. After a short seven years, McLean sold the store to the Harvest Milling Company in 1948. Harold Johnson became the store’s final owner in 1954 before donating the building to the Tigard Chamber of Commerce. Johnson sold medicine, food, animal feed, and insect sprays. His experience in the Navy informed how he managed the store and proudly offered the best services to the public.

In a Tigard Times article from April 1980, Johnson was quoted saying, “When people come in here they want to feel at ease…they want your experience and training to help them figure out what they are looking for.”

historic feed and garden store sign, symposium
The original Tigard Feed and Garden store sign hanging in Symposium Coffee’s restroom. Photo: Laura Stewart.

The structure was torn down in 1997 as a result of being too expensive to restore. Former Mayor John L. Cook encouraged building a new structure. “I’m glad for the change, because we saved some history from Main Street with updating the structure to last into the next century,” Cook said.

Although the original building no longer exists, the Tigard Chamber of Commerce’s building has integrated features from the old structure. Sliding barn doors on the side of the building facing the railroad tracks portrays how the feed was unloaded from the train into the feed store. An original window and photos are housed in the chamber’s office on the second floor. The Tigard Feed and Garden Store sign can be seen hanging in Symposium Coffee’s restroom on the first floor. The intentional design of the new structure highlights the gable-front style of the 1920s. The open interior, exposed beams and wood floors echo the prior Feed and Garden Store’s building.