Manufacturer: Buffalo China
User: Pell's Oyster House – Denver, Colorado
Date of examples: circa 1927 – early 1940's
Notes: From an article by Katie Rudolph in the Denver Public Library's Western History Collection: "Pell's Oyster House spent the 1880s and 1890s moving from place to place along 16th Street [in Denver] before settling at 520 16th Street from the late 1890s until around 1921. An article appearing in the January 1, 1909, Denver Republican noted that the restaurant served oysters, fresh and saltwater fish, lobsters, crabs, and clams sourced from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, northern lakes, and inland streams.
"A well-known proprietor in Denver, George Pell was considered eccentric and independent. He closed his restaurant every summer (perhaps heeding the popular notion of the time that oysters should only be eaten in months with an "R" in them) and never adhered to strict hours of operation. Pell detested smoking and did not allow it in the café section of his restaurant. He is said to have thrown a wealthy customer out by his coat collar after the gentleman lit a post-meal cigar. Pell died at St. Luke's Hospital from a bout of 'nervousness' on December 24, 1911, at the age of 60. His granite headstone at Fairmount Cemetery is fashioned with carvings of fish.
"Pell's Oyster House continued to operate, managed by Pell's wife and son, George, Jr. In the early 1920s, the restaurant moved to 1514 Welton Street, where it was enlarged to seat over 200 customers. In 1923, George, Jr. died of a stroke at the age of 36. Mrs. Mary Sharp Pell died in an automobile accident in 1926. Pell's Oyster House continued to operate under Sbarbaro & Williams, Inc. until Jesse Washburn of the RKO Hotel took it over in 1933. Washburn closed the restaurant in October 1937, citing high overhead costs and a marked loss of profitability."
In spite of the prominent display of a rainbow trout in the upper left portion of the well, Pell's seems to have gone by the name of Oyster House, even though the restaurant also advertised fish and clams. On the trout's body the word "Pell's" appears in letters formed from drawings of tiny fish. The rim of the plate has at least two known border treatments. The first is the black and white Checker pattern and the second consists of a blue gray band near the rim with a black pinstripe on each side. There is also a black pinstripe at the verge in this treatment.
Denver Public Library's Western History Collection – 2013 article by Katie Rudolph
For additional info:
Pell's Oyster House 2 by Warwick China
Plate photos with checker border: Susan Phillips
Plate photos with banded border: Kathleen Lathom
ID: Roland Burritt and Kathleen Lathom
Author: Ed Phillips