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Old September 30th, 2011, 07:30 AM   #1
hammersklavier
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Your City's (Historic) Department Stores!

I run a site dedicated to the improvement of an ailing commercial district *ahem* Market East in Center City Philadelphia, and one of the projects related to this site is a survey of kin districts in other cities throughout the United States and the world.

And since the district in question *ahem* Market East was historically Center City's retail heart, where our department stores set up shop, that means...department stores!

Here are some quick shots of Philadelphia's six, taken from my group's Facebook page, which are in turn sourced from public archives:

John Wanamaker: The grand emporium of Philadelphia. John Wanamaker was one of the great pioneers of retail, and this department store vied with Chicago's Marshall Field's (and left New York's Macy's in the dust) for the title of grandest department store in the country. Wamaker's was also big: with a whopping 2 million square feet at its peak, it vied with aforementioned Macy's for title of biggest store in the country (though it was a tad smaller), and likewise left the much smaller (800,000 square feet) aforementioned Field's in the dust.

After the family sold it off in the early '80s, it devolved into first Hecht's and then Lord & Taylor with offices on top and parking below. Macy's moved in in 2006, and has quickly found the Lord & Taylor space too small.

[source]

Strawbrige & Clothier: Wanamaker's main competitor. Also the last to remain in family ownership (until 1995 or so, when it was sold to the May company) and go (it closed in 2006). This structure is the youngest true traditional department store on Market, having been rebuilt in situ in 1929, and nearly bankrupting the company in the process. Strawbridge's was like Philadelphia's Lord & Taylor--suave and stylish.


Gimbel Brothers: Philly's main mass-market department store. The second-largest department store in the city at its height. Across the street from Strawbridge's and Lit's. Left this structure in 1979 in favor of a new Brutalist box anchoring then-new Gallery across the street (along with Strawbridge's). This structure was demolished about that time. Gimbels itself went out of business in 1986, and the Gallery box was succeeded by Stern's, later downsized, and is today a Big Kmart.


Lit Brothers: A venerable working-class name. This building is an elegant Victorian structure. Renovated into offices in the mid-'80s. You can see Strawbridge's poking out behind it. Building of the Gallery was Lits' death knell; it went out of business in 1977.


N. Snellenburg & Co.: "The thrifty store for thrifty people": second major working-class department store, Lit's biggest competitor, and right across the street from the Reading Terminal. Second to go: went out of business in 1962. Most of the structure was demolished; the ground floor is barely hanging on. A redevelopment plan is in the works which would demolish the (frankly ugly) stump of a building in favor of a DC USA-esque modern retail building.


Frank & Seder: Working-class like Lit's and Snellenburg's. Last to come (1915) and first to go (1952). When this structure's annex was completed in the mid-'20s (ca. 1925 IIRC), it became, at 12 stories, Philadelphia's tallest major department store, while yet staying at 250,000 square feet, its smallest. This image is from sometime in the mid-'50s. Demolished by the end of the decade.


Post pictures and some information about your city's historic department stores here!

Last edited by hammersklavier; October 2nd, 2011 at 06:48 AM.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 07:07 PM   #2
Dallaz
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Dallas, Tx

Neiman-Marcus Opened in 1907 by Carrie Marcus Neiman and Herbert Marucs. The smallest out of all the major department stores in Downtown Dallas.











Titche-Goettinger was by far the largest department store in Dallas. Originally the Department Store was housed in the Wilson Building. The store was moved to a bigger location in 1929. By 1950 the was expanded to 500,000 sq ft. In 1979 the store was rebranded as Joske's. In 1987 the store was bought out by Dillard's but the flagship store wasn't included in the sale. The flagship store was closed. The 1929 building was converted into lofts and the 1950 expansion was converted into space for the University of North Texas.

image hosted on flickr




A recent picture



Sanger-Harris was a department store chain founded in 1961 because of the merger of the Sanger Bros. and A. Harris Department Store chains. When the two store merged they decided to close their old flagship stores and build a new one. The new store was 456,000 sq ft. The flagship store had giant mosaics. Their branch stores had giant mosaics on them too. Neiman-Marcus was Sanger-Harris' rival. The chain was bought out by Foley's in 1987. Foley's was bought out in 2005 by Macy's. The store is now an office building. The mosaics on the building have been destroyed.



Here's a former Sanger-Harris Branch store. (Was Foley's now Macy's)

image hosted on flickr


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Old October 1st, 2011, 08:02 PM   #3
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very interesting to learn about different cities commercial history, with America's department stores being grand and significant in the field. Those buildings in Philadelphia for one, look great. Would like to know more from Europeans, as I'm aware Paris was also at the forefront in retail development-department stores.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 02:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
very interesting to learn about different cities commercial history, with America's department stores being grand and significant in the field. Those buildings in Philadelphia for one, look great. Would like to know more from Europeans, as I'm aware Paris was also at the forefront in retail development-department stores.
Paris still has a couple left, Galleries Lafayette and Printemps and London has two of the best in Europe, Harrods and Selfridges, the latter being designed by Chicago architect, Daniel Burnham and recently restored to something of it's former glory though I'm sure it was even better pre WW2. There is also the smaller, more exclusive Fortnum & Mason, a great store and thriving.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 12:59 AM   #5
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Pics or it's useless!

Anyway, turning my attention to eastern PA's smaller cities...

Hess Brothers, Allentown. Colloquially known as Hess's (two syllables). This store was that small city's grandest emporium, but as consolidation ramped up in the department store industry during the 1980s, it was sold to York-based Bon-Ton (which went on to acquire the dominant department store company in the Midwest). Bon-Ton closed Hess's flagship not long after acquisition (c. 1992), thus inaugurating one of that company's most irritating traditions, and the building was demolished c. 1996.
image hosted on flickr

[source]

The Globe, Scranton. Like Allentown's Hess's, The Globe was the dominant retailer in its hometown. It was acquired by Wanamaker's for a time in the mid-'70s, but it proved to be short lived. Globe found competition more and more difficult due to suburbanization and consolidation during the 1980s, and--even after the mammoth Mall at Steamtown was built in part to revitalize it--closed in the early 1990s. It has been renovated into offices (as seen here).

[source]

Oppenheim's, Scranton. Apparently closed in 1980. Fill me in more.

[source]
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Old October 8th, 2011, 04:38 AM   #6
the spliff fairy
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London Harrods, where you can buy anything you want (they'll order it for you), from elephants to planes.



Food Halls



Egyptian Rooms








Last edited by the spliff fairy; October 8th, 2011 at 05:42 AM.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 04:47 AM   #7
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London Selfridges









image hosted on flickr





Last edited by the spliff fairy; October 8th, 2011 at 03:10 PM.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 04:56 AM   #8
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London Liberty's

4



Regent street facade



interior



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Old October 8th, 2011, 05:04 AM   #9
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Fortnum & Mason, London

(world's poshest food store)


















Last edited by the spliff fairy; October 8th, 2011 at 05:13 AM.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 05:30 AM   #10
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Harvey Nichols, London
famous for its fashion and edgy window displays











xx



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Last edited by the spliff fairy; October 8th, 2011 at 06:06 AM.
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Old October 8th, 2011, 05:53 AM   #11
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Galeries Lafayette, Paris












Last edited by the spliff fairy; October 8th, 2011 at 05:58 AM.
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 02:27 AM   #12
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C.A. Rawell and George Allen, Germantown, Philadelphia, PA. Rawell's and Allen's were the two major retailers in downtown Germantown for many years. At its midcentury height this neighborhood also boasted a J.C. Penney's. As the neighborhood declined, Penney's left; it appears neither Allen's nor Rawell's survived the 1960s. Both buildings, however, survive; Rawell's is now a Walgreen's, and Allen's a flex building with retail base.

Rawell's, 1950

Source

Allen's

Source
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Old March 18th, 2012, 01:51 AM   #13
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Vilnius, Lithuania.

A nice building, designed and started to build before the WWI, was finished in the 20s. Initially it held stock exchange and some posh shops, but after the war, in soviet times, was made entirely "Kid's World Department Store". After the Independence, it was made just another clothes store...







http://www.status.lt/vup_e.htm

Couple of my photos.








And couple of new department stores, what were opened in historical buildings on the same main street Gediminas avenue in Vilnius.

"Grand Duke Palace".
The building was built in 1885 and later rebuilt several times in the XIX century, served as a hotel for more than a hundred of Years, only changing it's names- "Bristol", "George", "Vilnius".
After the Independence it went bankrupt and stood empty for a decade and later converted to a huge department store



http://gidas.wordpress.com/2010/03/0...utis-vilniuje/

Here are some of my photos.




Statue of St. George on the roof is one of the symbols of the City.













General view of the building.

this one from wiki.

"Gedimino 9".
This building, built in the XIX century, was used like residential, commercial and city municipality building during various time. In the 2000s it was made a huge department store.














Sources:
http://www.aluminium-award.eu/2009/c...es/gedimino-9/
http://gedimino9.lt/apie-gedimino-9/


These are not so old like department stores, but are opened in historic buildings, so I hope this post fits here.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 06:23 PM   #14
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Wonderful thread! I would like to see more of these wonderful palaces to consumption! Central and classy, unlike so many of our modern malls!
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Old December 12th, 2012, 07:13 PM   #15
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Miller and Rhodes, a former department store in downtown Richmond, but now lofts. Building from 1924

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