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Closing of John F. Dahl Plumbing

Original post made by John K, Downtown North, on Jun 6, 2010

I read in Saturday's Daily Post that John F. Dahl Plumbing has closed. It was Palo Alto's oldest business, founded 115 years ago. I remember their slogan was "Don't cuss, call us." I can recall walking into their offices and seeing Andy (Anderson?) and Mary riding herd over a gaggle of plumbers. Their work was always first class. I heard reports that after they sold the business, things went down hill, but I can't speak to that. Anybody else have memories or thoughts about this local institution?

Comments (8)

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Not the first old line businesses to be seduced from the consistent payback of maintenance to the boom time profits of construction.


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Posted by terry k
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2010 at 7:48 pm

As the owner of a business that had more than its share of plumbing problems, Dahl was reliable and efficient for many years. That seemed to change when Andy and Mary sold the place. After that, the one or two calls I made to them seemed to end in confusion. Had the new owners stuck to their basic bread-and-butter pluming repairs, Dahl would have survived. RIP.


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Posted by rottman
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 12, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Where have all the auto service businesses gone? At one time we had several in downtown Palo Alto. One by one they either closed or re-located in Mountain View (or Redwood City). I guess this was the city's plan -- get us to drive farther to get car repairs or gas, so that we can put more pollution into the air. Guess it worked.


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Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Hello all,

I recall when my girlfriend and I needed to rent a place - it was about 1979 - and we interviewed with Lad and his mother, Mrs. Wilson. They owned the old Victorian house right next to their business.

Being polite as I could, and not knowing the names, I referred to Lad as Mr. Lad. He smiled and looked at his mother and they agreed to rent us the bottom flat of the house. They were very nice landlords and Mrs. Wilson, knowing my love for animals, slid a stray cat through the back cat door. I cared for the cat for the next 18 years.

They were a tight business and would have little social get togethers on Friday evenings with the manager, Andy Anderson, who eventually bought the business (he passed on a couple years ago).

It is sad to hear that Dahl Plumbing and Heating is closed or closing. I would bet that their plumbing may be found in 90% of the older businesses in Palo Alto.

Andy


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Posted by David H.
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I'm responding to John K. regarding the closing of Dahl Plumbing. I was a former employee and yes, things did go down hill after Andy and Mary sold the business. I remained for about another year and a half. I should have gone when the sale happened. I put the blame squarely on the mis-management of the business by the new owners and in particular, on the personal attitute of one of the owners toward his workers and customers. There is no valid reason why a 115 year-old plumbing company should go belly-up, not even in these strange economic times. People have to wash and people have to flush. I worked in the administrative end of the business, but after my experience there, I will not do that sort of work again. I understand that it got worse after I left. In the memory of Billy (Andy) Anderson, RIP Dahl Plumbing: Another fine institution that has now become an historical footnote in Palo Alto's long history.


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Posted by FORMER WORKER
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I HAD THE PLEASURE TO WORK THERE BACK IN 1973 TO 1976,IT WAS A VERY GOOD SHOP WITH CHARLIE AND MR. WILSON.THE CUSTOMERS WERE GREAT. SORRY TO SEE IT GO ,THE REAL TOP HAT SERVICE


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Posted by Timothy
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I never did business with John F. Dahl, but the 59 year old home I purchased last year had bright orange stickers on my old (original) Lennox furnace, the garbage disposal and A/C unit for The John F. Dahl Company. The previous owners of my home must've really liked the work performed by John F. Dahl. There are even service dates written in pencil, on the wall of my utility closet, when John F. Dahl came to do service work. The earliest date written on my wall is 6/61 and the last date written 10/91.

It's always interesting to learn a little bit of small town history.


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Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Where have all the auto service businesses gone? At one time we had several in downtown Palo Alto. One by one they either closed or re-located in Mountain View (or Redwood City). I guess this was the city's plan -- get us to drive farther to get car repairs or gas, so that we can put more pollution into the air. Guess it worked.

They got rezoned and run out by high rent and/or by the city council in the late 90's


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