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Our Back Pages: Swillers Music

Serving as both a location to find the latest recorded music and a popular gathering spot, Swillers Music is still fondly remembered by longtime Arlington residents. 

Known over the years as Swillers Music, Swillers Music Center, or just Swillers, the store’s location in Clarendon at 1206 N. Hartford St. helped it become a magnet for residents looking for phonograph records of all genres. Turntables, televisions, radios, and related accessories were also kept in stock for the customer’s convenience.

Priding themselves on adding new merchandise on a near daily basis, many local residents found themselves visiting Swillers regularly, enjoying each other’s company, making new friends, or just passing the time. All of this seems quite fitting for a family owned business overseen by president Milton Swiller, vice president Anna Swiller, and treasurer Sydney Swiller.

The first listing for Swillers in an Arlington County directory appeared in 1948, while the last entry is from 1961.

 What About You?

 Do you have any recollections about Swillers Music?  If you do, please share in our comments section. Thanks.





Comments (5)

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  1. [...] Remembering Swillers Music — Back in the mid-20th century, Swillers Music was the place in Clarendon to buy musical instruments, sheet music, and even turntables or radios. The bygone store also had its own recording studio. [Library Blog] [...]

    • Ralph Cherry says:

      I bought Gogi Grant’s “The Wayward Wind” at Swillers–the record was a monster hit in 1956, so I was 10. My father drove me there from our home in Falls Church for that purpose. They had the 45s of the song stacked right next to the cash registers, it was so popular.

      • George Allingham says:

        What a trip back you’re posting was for me…I was also born in 1946, was living with my family in Warwick Village in Alexandria, going to St Rita’s, and making a weekly pilgrimage with my brother to Swiller’s. I also bought Gogi Grant’s The Wayward Wind. I can sill see it’s label…Era Records. I vividly recall that whole wall of record cubby holes with the hand lettered construction paper hanging in front with the name of the artist and song title. I remember having to wait whenever there was a song on the radio that we wanted, to be sure we got both the title AND artist, since there were cover versions and Swiller’s had it all. More than once we got burned with the wrong version.

        • Joanne Beury Goodin says:

          I love the accounts of this store. Just as I remember it. I spent all my baby sitting money there. For my birthday or Christmas I would give the list and make sure to get the artist right.
          My Dad built our house in Annandale and was a Craftsman guy so we were always going to Sears. I would get my Swillers fix when we ran those errands as a family.

  2. D.M.M. says:

    My husband talks about this store all the time as a place that he remembers fondly from his youth. Does anyone have any other pics?

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