History of Ogden's Fine Music House is Interesting

Ogden Standard Examiner, 10 December 1923, page 7

Started Business Next Door to Present Location In 1907, Constant Expansion Coming Until Establishment Is In West's Front Ranks

Opening of the handsome new music store of the Glen Bros – Roberts Piano Company, at 2546 Washington avenue, has double significance for the people of Ogden.  It celebrates not only the sixteenth anniversary of a business house that has played a most important part in the artistic development of this community, but also honors the centennial of the famous Chickering piano, which has now completed one hundred years of unique prestige as “America's first gift of art to the world.”

The history of Glen Bros-Roberts Piano company, like that of the Chickering, is an interesting one.  In 1907 the brothers, George and Jay glen, began a modest piano business right next door to the site of their beautiful new house.  They shared the floorspace of a plumber's shop, and displayed their stock in a practical fashion, opposite the bathtub and other necessities of the well-appointed household.

Music thrived even in such everyday surroundings, and in spite of rather panicky financial conditions which were in force at that time, the business methods and honest service of the Glen brothers built up an immediate and lasting patronage.

They bought their first pianos from the Poster-Armstrong company of Rochester, a firm which was later to become the nucleus of the great American piano company, leaders of the world in the musical field today.  In 1909, the progressive spirit of the Glen organization was rewarded by the acquisition of the Chickering piano, which thus became the logical choice of musicians not only in Ogden but in Salt Lake and other Utah communities as well.  By their loyalty to the prestige of the Chickering piano and their willingness to co-operate at all times with its service to the community, the Glen brothers provided a most valuable stimulus to local musical activity, and throughout their career they have been noted for their generous support of every worthy effort of this sort.

Having advanced beyond the initial stage, and established their business on solid ground, the Glens twelve years ago moved into a building on Hudson avenue, erected especially for them, and in 1915 they also opened a branch in Salt Lake, which is still conducted by Jay Glen, the senior partner of the firm.

Eventually, however, the firm, to which Ralph Roberts was added as a partner in 1912, outgrew even the fine quarters on Hudson Avenue, and the result was the new building facing City Hall square, into which they have recently moved.  The impression made by this new building is exceedingly artistic. The front suggests a Greek temple, in its snowy whiteness and beautiful simplicity of design.

Nearly thirty feet of space has been devoted chiefly to the imposing show window, which contains a turntable on which phonographs and pianos may be shown to advantage.  The entrance is similar to that of a theatre, in its overhanging marque. Inside one sees the bust of Jonas Chickering looking down in friendly fashion from the mezzanine floor, which opens over the front of the store.  At the sides are displays of sheet music and smaller instruments. Phonographs and records of all kinds are to be found toward the rear.

The property has a depth of 330 feet, which allows for plenty of warehouse room, and a commodious shop on the ground floor.  At the back of the mezzanine are the offices of the company, presided over by Mr. Roberts and Irving O Sampson, a long time member and stockholder in the organization and now in charge of the accounting department.

The top floor contains the showrooms for pianos and the Ampico, that wonderful re-enacting instrument which has been the pride of the firm and of Ogden ever since it was put on the market by the American Piano company, from which it received its name.   The Glen Bros – Roberts Piano company was one of the first houses to represent the Ampico and the association has proved a mutually significant one.

Through this association it has been possible for the firm to bring to Ogden some of the finest artists ever heard here, notably Phillip Gordon and Henry Souviane, pianists. Dutsy Jean “cellist harpist and soprano, Elinor Whittemore, violinist, and Penelope Davies, soprano, with a recent climax in the visit of Dr. Sigmund Spaeth, of New York, whose talks on music have delighted and instructed all his hearers.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the new store is the beautiful concert hall, which will be known as Chickering hall, in honor of the Chickering centennial.  Acoustically it has been pronounced absolutely perfect, and several recitals have already been given there with complete success.   Seating over two hundred people comfortably, this new concert hall should fill a long felt want in Ogden, as it is an ideal place for concerts and lectures designed for an audience of modest size.

Aside from the members of the Glen Bros-Roberts Piano company already mentioned, the organization includes at present . . .

The phonograph stock includes such standard makes as the Victor, Edison and Brunswick, and there is a large assortment of both records and sheet music, representing the best on the market today.   Every employee of the organization has the opportunity to share in the stock of the firm, which helps to make it a most democratic and co-operative organization.

With its splendid record of past service in the interests of music, and its unique equipment for carrying on this most valuable stimulus to the welfare of the community, the Glen Bros-Roberts Piano company, now permanently housed in Utah's most beautiful music store, may safely look forward to a long life of usefulness and prosperity.