When Padden’s clothing store closed in 1981, a noted Vancouver business name was eliminated. By then, no Paddens were involved in the store, but the family had operated businesses here for most of the city’s history.
The Padden family arrived in Vancouver in 1860. The parents were Michael Padden Sr. and wife Mary, natives of Ireland, and they had a good-sized family.
One of the children was Thomas W. Padden, who married Sarah Byrne, daughter of Hugh O’Byrne, a Mexican war veteran, and Catherine Byrne, who had arrived in Clark County in 1854.
T.W. Padden traveled to the mining regions east of the Cascade Mountains in the 1860s.
He opened a saloon at Vancouver in the ’70s, and also worked as a contractor, supplying hay and wood to Army forts in the region. City directories indicate the saloon was at Second and Main in earlier years, and later at Fifth and Main. The business was active until the state’s Prohibition at the start of 1916.
One of T.W. Padden’s brothers, James J. Padden, married another native of Ireland, Bridget Whalen, at Vancouver in 1871. James J. Padden farmed near Vancouver, and later moved into the city.
His offspring who found success in Vancouver’s business world was James J. Padden Jr., born in Vancouver in 1879.
About 1901 he entered the clothing business and for a while was a partner with Henry Dierling. Soon Padden had his own store on Main Street near Sixth, and he continued with his business until his death in 1946.
He also operated the Golden West Guernsey dairy farm in the Barberton area north of Vancouver.
Padden was married to the former Mary Ethel McGurn.
Padden was city council member, member of the Prunarians (a local booster group), chief of the volunteer fire department and active in a variety of other civic endeavors.
At the time of Padden’s death, the Columbian called him one of Vancouver’s “first citizens” and said his work for the city in financial matters had been especially helpful when money had not been plentiful.
In the earlier years, one or more of the Padden women became nuns in Vancouver.