The Almy, Bigelow & Washburn ads I perused for the 1920 Christmas week stroll through the Gloucester Daily Times got me a bit intrigued about this establishment. I learned there were several branches opened in Essex County after the first branch opened in Salem in 1858. A pamphlet celebrating the 50th anniversary can be found and downloaded for free here.
My research quickly led me to the not-very-happy story of the February 1961 fire at Almy’s on Pleasant Street, apparently near or at the site of the current police station. Here’s a YouTube video of this unfortunate event. It’s not a very happy holiday follow up, but the magic of technology and sites like YouTube mean we will never forget.