1890s Barber Shop at Pioneer Village

Of all trade signs from pioneer days, the barber pole with its red and white stripes is probably the most familiar.

There was a time when barbers doubled as surgeons, and the striped poles advertised this, with the white stripes representing bandages and red stripes the bleeding limb of an injured person. Barbers also served as dentists in pioneer days, not hesitating to pull out the aching tooth of a customer.

Barber shops also provided bathing facilities for their customers. The old tin tub and the pot-bellied stove, where water was heated, were common sights in the corner. Special customers had their own shaving mugs and brushes.

Old-fashioned barber pole is mounted near the entrance to a “barber shop” in at the Lagoon Amusement Park in northern Utah. The village has an old style pioneer main street, with various shops and merchants, like this shown here, and upon entering one can view old items and objects from the era. The original photo has been digitally altered and enhanced to give it a textured and painterly effect. Artist: Steve Ohlsen via Pixels.com

The Pioneer Village barber shop has a fine collection of these early day shaving mugs and other barber accessories from the 1800s.

Messages were often left with the barber, and for many men the barber shop served as a kind of club.

Along with the colorful bottles filled with pungent aftershave and pomades, there was usually a jar of stick candy or peppermint for the kids.

Above the Pioneer Village barber shop is the millinery shop. This is an authentic recreation of an early women’s dress shop. The interesting thing about the displays in the dress shop is that the dress sizes are all very small. By today’s standards, the dress sizes are for young girls.

At a recent fashion show of the Pioneer Village dress collection, nine- and ten-year-old girls modeled the dresses. Hats and accessories are also included in the collection.

A visit to the Pioneer Village barber and dress shops offers the visitor a glimpse of 1890s Utah pioneer life.

This article originally appeared in the July/Aug 1980 issue of Pioneer Magazine

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