Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Cow Butter Store
Parallel form(s) of name
- Sproule Cow Butter Store
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
The Cow Butter Store operated in downtown Tacoma at or near the corner of Pacific Avenue and Jefferson Avenue for 52 years, from 1892 to 1944. The owner and proprietor, James A. Sproule (1865-1949), an immigrant from Ireland, arrived in Tacoma after having apprenticed in the grocery business in Liverpool, England. He was en route to Australia where his sister lived when he discerned the advantages of starting a business in Tacoma. In 1914 he leased his store for two years and traveled to New South Wales, visited his sister, and promoted Tacoma as a place name there.
Mr. Sproule was active in civic affairs and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1910. He belonged to many fraternal organizations, including Woodmen of the World and the Improved Order of Red Men. When the question of the 1885 Chinese expulsion from Tacoma was revisited in 1895, he served as one of three replacements in the Committee of Fifteen. He was president of the Mount Tacoma Club, which lobbied for changing the name of Mount Rainier, and summited the mountain in 1903. He served as vice president of the Washington chapter of the American Medical Liberty League, and maintained a stance against mandatory vaccination.
He was married in 1893 to Eliza Eccles (circa 1868-1928), and had two children. A daughter Eliza, known as Ella or Babsie (1895-1999), married F. Bernard Wright. He established Wright Western Marine, a marine supply business now known as Tacoma Propeller. His son Jasper Edward, known as Ed (1899-1960) operated Ed Sproule’s Butter Store from 1925-1936 at 1110-1114 Pacific Avenue.
Functions, occupations and activities
Mandates/sources of authority
Access points area
Subject access points
Place access points
Authority record identifier
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Dates of creation, revision and deletion
Written by Ruth Keller, 2021
"Cow Butter Store closing after 52 years," Tacoma News Tribune, July 11, 1944.
"Death takes J.A. Sproule," Tacoma News Tribune, February 20, 1949.
Sproule, J.A. (1909?). Tahoma, or random readings from Puget Sound. Tacoma: (n.p.). 74.
"Tacoma namesake in Australia," Tacoma Daily Ledger, May 3, 1915.
"Tacoma Propeller Shop – a rich history since 1954," Tacoma Propeller, May 11, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://www.tacomapropeller.com/history/.