The Prettyman barbershop, part 1

2013-07-21 scans002 (1)My great-grandfather, Charles Austin Prettyman, and his three brothers ran a barbershop in Wadena, Minnesota in the 1910s through at least the early 1920s. All four Prettyman boys were involved with the barbershop—Roy, Irvin, Charles, and Clarence. In fact, when my grandfather, William Prettyman, was born in 1919, his father’s profession was listed on the birth certificate as “barber.”

I’ve found two photos of the barbershop, but because I don’t know who is who in these photos, I’m hoping my Prettyman relations out there can help me sort that out.

I presume that the two men standing are two of the Prettyman brothers, but I don’t know who is who. Please let me know if you know.

2013-07-21 scans002 (1)

The second photo is, unfortunately, the one photo I scanned incorrectly when I was at the Wadena Area Historical Society. I forgot to set the crop indicators properly, so this is only a portion of the photo. I’ll have to rescan this one when I’m in Wadena again. Please let me know if you know who the barber is:


When searching for additional information about the Prettyman barbershop, I was surprised to find an article entitled A brief history of barbers in Wadena that mentions the Prettyman barbershop. All of the Prettyman brothers except for Charles are mentioned.

I also stumbled upon an obituary for Sidney Smith, who apparently worked in the Prettyman barbershop under Charles for three years, beginning in 1914 (it’s a sad story—Sidney developed a brain tumor and died in 1924 of surgical complications stemming from the removal of the tumor).

If you can identify anyone in these photos, if you have other photos of the barbershop, or if you can tell me anything about the Prettyman barbershop, please let me know!

To close, here’s a shot of downtown Wadena in 1920, to give you an idea of what the town looked like when towards the end of the Prettyman barbershop’s days. If the scan were higher resolution, it might even be possible to see their barbershop (assuming it was on Jefferson Street). There’s a sign about halfway down the right side of the street that almost looks like it says “Barbers,” but I think it says “Hardware.” Alas.

Wadena 1920 Jefferson

Read more in part 2

3 thoughts on “The Prettyman barbershop, part 1

    • Well, hello, second cousin once removed! I’m Michael, C.A.’s great-grandson, through his son Bill and Bill’s daughter Polly. Pleased to meet you! I’ll email you later this week with some questions about your family, if you don’t mind.
      Until then,

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