A History of Black Americans in California:
Hairdressing and Shaving Saloon
The Hairdressing and Shaving Saloon has been in continuous use as a barber shop since 1875, just one year after Wheatland's incorporation.
Edward Park Duplex, a Black man who would become Mayor of Wheatland, opened a hairdressing and shaving saloon at 415 Main Street in 1875. Duplex had been a barber in Marysville for 20 years before moving to Wheatland.
Duplex's Hairdressing and Shaving Saloon was located several doors from the Central Hotel in the heart of the business district, and was a locus of Wheatland's civic activity. Here, leaders exchanged information on matters facing the town's development while receiving tonsorial services. According to an advertisement in the Wheatland Free Press May 29, 1875, "the shop paid particular attention to cutting ladies and misses hair, to honing and setting razors and Duplex's celebrated Eau Lustral Hair Restorative, together with a choice selection of oils and pomades, kept constantly on hand."
Duplex was elected Mayor of Wheatland April 11, 1888 by the Board of Trustees, and may well have been the first Black person to hold such a high office in the western United States. By the time he occupied the mayor's office, Duplex had had more than one quarter of a century's experience as a businessman and civic leader. In 1855, he was the Yuba County representative at the first California Colored Citizens State Convention in Sacramento. At the 1856 convention, Duplex was once again a county representative, and served as a member of the convention's Executive Committee. On several occasions, Duplex was recorded in the Marysville City Council Minutes as a spokesman for Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.
In recognition of his stature, the Marysville Daily Appeal, January 8, 1900, described him "as one of the best known Colored men in this northern part of the State." Years later, Peter Delay, in the History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, named Duplex as "a man who helped make Wheatland."
On January 5, 1900, Edward P. Duplex died in Sacramento at the age of 69 after some 45 years in California. He was a native of Connecticut.
The Hairdressing and Shaving Saloon, also known as George's Barber Shop, still stands in Wheatland. The structure has a front business section and rear living quarters. It appears that this building's exterior has remained the same as it was in 1875.
NEXT> John Scott's Ranch