1884 C.A. Ratcliffe Company
Backstory and Context
The story of the Ratcliffe implement and automobile dealership involves three locations on the block of 2nd Street between College and F.
Charles Albert Ratcliffe came to Cheney to become manager of the Frank Brothers company implement dealership March 10, 1884 on the corner of E [now College Avenue] and 2nd streets. The building had been constructed two years earlier, in 1882. Ratcliffe was sent here from Portland, Oregon, by Frank Brothers company, dealers in wholesale farm machinery who had acquired Knapp Burrell & Co.
Shortly after securing his position as manager, Charles returned to Illinois to marry his sweetheart, Louise Bressler. The couple had six children: Frederick Lynn, Benjamin, Ruth, Louise, Kent, and Mark,
C.A. Ratcliffe’s implement company became a John Deere dealer in 1896, the second in the Pacific northwest.
In the early years, it was pretty much a one-man operation selling farm machinery as well as lumber. On February 6, 1907, Lynn Ratcliffe joined his father and the business name was changed to C.A. Ratcliffe & Son.
On December 6, 1912, Lynn signed the first Ford contract for five cars to be sold in 1913. This was the second dealership in the state behind one in Bellingham. His father was skeptical until they sold eleven cars that first year. Ratcliffe was also a dealer for Case automobiles and Studebaker wagons.
Also, during this period, Charles A. Ratcliffe served in the state legislature, as well as one term as the mayor of Cheney, 1911-1912.
Ratcliffe Family History