Family’s story steeped in city’s history

POULSBO — For Glenn Anderson, a walk through downtown is a much more personal experience than for most.

A great deal of the fourth-generation Poulsbo businessman’s family history reads like that of historic downtown Poulsbo.

Great-grandfather H.S. Myreboe built an entire block of downtown that stores like Boehm’s Chocolates, Dancing Brush and The Hiding Place Gifts and Collectibles call home; Anderson Parkway was named after grandfather Martin Anderson; and American Legion Park is the site of grand-uncle Selmer Myreboe’s former home.

“I’ve always been proud to be affiliated with Poulsbo and my family,” he remarked.

The Anderson and Myreboe families came to Poulsbo when it was little more than a few shoreline shops and surrounding homes. The Myreboes were involved in building storefronts and ran a dry goods store that outfitted many of the area’s loggers and fishermen. The Andersons were also people of commerce, involved in downtown businesses and real estate.

The two families appear to have gotten chummy over Reliable Hardware, a store that was started by Selmer Myreboe and S.W. Merley. When Martin Anderson was about 16 years old, he became acquainted with Selmer Myreboe and ended up working in the store. Four years later, in about 1924, Martin Anderson bought into the store with Homer Whitford and Fred Ryen.

The two families also merged in the marriage of Martin Anderson to Selmer’s younger sister Nora Myreboe.

In the early 1950s, Martin and Nora’s son Dale was brought into the family business. The Andersons proceeded to build the modern location of Bad Blanche’s, where Anderson Department Store was a mainstay — of what was then called First Street — for about 40 years.

“I still run into people who say, ‘Oh, you’re Mr. Anderson of Anderson Department Stores. We sure miss that place,’” Dale Anderson remarked. “We had an ideal life — small town, small business.”

The family also built the current location of Marina Market, which was a jeans store from 1976 to 1981. A 19-year-old Glenn Anderson managed the store for his parents.

“I worked for the family business for a number of years, I think I started in junior high washing windows and vacuuming and then I worked there for a good 10 years after high school,” Glenn recalled.

After the family business closed in 1992, Glenn Anderson attended college and tried his hand at a number of selling jobs, but eventually returned as a businessman in Poulsbo when he took a job for Edward Jones Investment Group.

“Now I’m back here in business in Poulsbo, but I’ve always lived here,” Glenn Anderson said. “My wife and I are raising a couple of daughters here. Most of the local Edward Jones agents have been from out of town, so most people assume I’m from out of town, too.”

Glenn Anderson added that neither of his daughters have their hearts set on going into business in Poulsbo, but he hopes they will stay in their hometown like he did.

Besides the family tradition of being local businessmen, the family has also long been known for its involvement in civic life. Andersons and Myreboes are listed among the members of the city’s volunteer fire department, city council members and mayors, and participants in organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the Noon Lions.

The father and son say some of the biggest changes they’ve seen in their hometown over the years are the addition of so many new businesses and new faces. They say a lot of their family and old friends are no longer in Poulsbo, but they’re always happy to teach the people they meet about their family’s unique place in Poulsbo history.

“There are so many new people in town that some of the town’s history has been lost, but I want them to know that there are still families in Poulsbo that have been here 100 years or more and some of them are still serving the community,” Anderson said.

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