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Barbara A. Bloom Papers

Identifier: B409


Sam Bloom was born in Denver, Colorado in 1911. His parents were Pizer and Ida Strait Bloom. Pizer was born in Poland in 1885 and Ida was born in New York City in 1894. The couple opened Downing Coal and Feed store in Denver, Colorado. Sam Bloom married Lillian Gershowitz in 1937 at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. They became the parents of three children: Alan Bloom, Barbara Bloom, and Marshall Bloom. Sam Bloom and his parents grew Downing's Hardware Store into the largest appliance store in Colorado for a time during the 1960s. The collection includes book "Ephemeral Blooms: A Memoir With Roots in Colorado," a book written by Barbara A. Bloom in 2018. There are also five digitized images of the Downing stores in this collection.


  • 1915-2018


Biographical / Historical

Pizer Bloom (Barenbloom) was born in Kobrin, Poland in 1885 and came to Denver, Colorado, in 1899. After he immigrated to the United States, he worked on a farm for three years and then for Star Bakery, owned by his sister Eva Bloom Boskowitz. In 1910, Pizer Bloom married Ida Strait, born in New York City in 1894. Her parents were from Warsaw, Poland and later immigrated to New York City. A refugee organization gave the family two horses, a wagon, a cow, and chickens and settled them in Atwood, Colorado. Ida Strait's mother wanted to go back to Poland and so the family returned to Warsaw. After they encountered persecution they returned to the United States and settled in Denver, Colorado. Ida worked as a laundress in the Brown Palace Hotel. The Strait family resided on Pizer Bloom's Star Bakery route. Pizer and Ida were married in 1910. After their marriage, Pizer Bloom began a livery service. He delivered coal to houses, feed and seed to farms, and luggage and drove passengers to the train. By 1914, the couple had saved enough money to open a store at 2800 Downing Street in Denver, and they sold coal and feed. Their son was born in Denver in 1911 and helped his parents run the Downing's Coal and Hardware Store at 33rd and Downing streets. Sam Bloom earned extra money by peddling ice in the summer and hauling cement to the Fitzsimmons building site. Major appliances were added to the store in 1945, and the Downing's Appliance store grew into the largest appliance store in Colorado for a time during the 1960s. Sam Bloom married Lillian Gershkovitz in 1937 at the Brown Palace Hotel. Their son Alan was born in Denver in 1938, daughter Barbara in 1941, and son Marshall in 1944.


0.5 Linear Feet (Pamphlet box )

15 Megabytes

Scope and Contents

The collection contains a memoir by Barbara A. Bloom and five digitized photographs of the Bloom family and Downing's stores. The memoir contains transcipts of oral history interviews.


The collection is arranged in two series: 1. Publications, 2018. 2. Digital Images, 1915-1960.

Custodial History

Barbara A. Bloom kept the originals of the digitized photographs, but gave deed of gift for use of digital images.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428