Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wanamaker's Expanding Market

Wanamaker's Department Store found its origins as "Wanamaker's Grand Depot", inspired by European retail markets. It opened in 1876 as a men's clothing store and was expanded in 1877 to include women's clothing and other items. Although inspired by European shopping centers, this was the first department store in the United States.

Wanamaker's Grand Depot 1884

In 1910, the Moorish Grand Depot began to grow into the massive arcade that stands aside City Hall today. What many do not know is that the expansion was parsed out in several phases so as not to completely interrupt business during construction.

Penn Square during the expansion of Wanamaker's Grand Depot into the current Wanamaker Building. The expansion was phased. Note the absence of the building's south end.

The existing building, now occupied by Macy and various offices, was designed by Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham. It original included 9 floors of retail space in its 12.

Wanamaker's Grand Depot c. 1900

The Wanamaker Organ expanded as well. Originally the St. Louis World's Fair Pipe Organ, Wanamaker hired organ builders to expand the organ several times into what is now the largest pipe organ in the world. John Wanamaker's son Rodman had an organ factory installed in the building so that the organ could be expanded and repaired on location.

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