Welcome back to the glamorous days of State Street department stores when shopping downtown was an event. State Street was for a century the retail center of Chicago, heart of the Loop, and one of the most famous shopping districts in the world, with the beloved Marshall Field’s as its jewel.
We will talk about the many huge department stores along the way: Sears, The Fair, Montgomery Ward, Goldblatts, Mandel Brothers, Wieboldt’s, the Boston Store, Rothschilds; many of the historic buildings are still here. We will look at vintage images of these old stores and of State Street through the years. We will discuss what each store was known for and who shopped where.
We will stop in the world-famous former Carson Pirie Scott store with its incomparable architecture by Louis Sullivan. We will look at amazing vintage photographs of this National Historic Landmark. The building has been lovingly restored and CityTarget now occupies its lower two floors. We will look at how Target both preserved and updated the space – and compare how people shopped in days past with today. (Restrooms and water available here.)
Then it is on to the focal point of this experience: the former Marshall Field’s flagship store (111 North State Street), which was once one of the largest and best-known stores in the world. Today it is Macy’s, but the landmark building still contains many glories. We will use this huge store as backdrop for the many stories and memories of Marshall Field’s. We will explore:
- The complex architecture of the building
- The famous display windows and iconic clocks
- The glittering Tiffany mosaic ceiling
- Marshall Field’s innovative vision for retail – “Give the lady what she wants.”
- The famous Walnut Room and the many other esteemed restaurants – including famous menu items
- Where all of the departments were located within the vast store – with vintage photographs of many
- The haute couture 28 Shop and its exclusive clientele and private entrance
- The many amenities the store once provided, from home delivery to the first bridal registry
- Celebrities who visited and loved Field’s
- The famous Elevator Girls and what it took to become one
- Charley’s Door and the popular doorman
- What it was like to shop at Field’s and what the merchandise was like
- The story of gourmet Frango mints – with a complimentary sample
The last 20-30 minutes, we will end our experience with a classic dessert of your choice at The Walnut Room (included in price).
Wonderful memories of Marshall Field's and State Street - and a sweet taste lingering on your tastebuds.
Meeting Point: We will meet outside the main entrance of the Harold Washington Library (400 South State) and walk north about .5 miles, with a stop at the old Carson Pirie Scott Store, ending at the old Marshall Field's store.
Serious history, retro fun. WendyCity is all about the intersection of good history and delight.