20th Century Retailing in Downtown Detroit (Images of America Series)

20th Century Retailing in Downtown Detroit (Images of America Series)

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by Michael Hauser, Marianne Weldon
     
 


As Detroit developed northward from the riverfront, Woodward Avenue became a mecca for retail, restaurants, and services. The 1870s and 1880s saw many independent merchants open their doors. By 1890, a new type of one-stop shopping had developed: the department store. Detroit's venerable Newcomb Endicott and Company was closely followed by other… See more details below

Overview


As Detroit developed northward from the riverfront, Woodward Avenue became a mecca for retail, restaurants, and services. The 1870s and 1880s saw many independent merchants open their doors. By 1890, a new type of one-stop shopping had developed: the department store. Detroit's venerable Newcomb Endicott and Company was closely followed by other trailblazers: J. L. Hudson Company, Crowley Milner and Company, and the Ernst Kern Company. At its peak in the 1950s, the Woodward Avenue area boasted over four million square feet of retail, making it one of America's preferred retail destinations. Other Detroit emporiums such as the homegrown S. S. Kresge Company set trends in consumer culture. Generations made the trek downtown for back-to-school events, Easter shows, holiday windows, and family luncheons. Then, with the advent of suburban shopping centers, downtown stores began competing with their own branch locations. By the 1970s and 1980s, the dominoes began to fall as both chain and independent stores abandoned the once prosperous Woodward Avenue.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Title: Book chronicles glory days of downtown Detroit

Author: Susan Steinmueller

Publisher: Home Town Life

Date: 12/18/2008

The glory days of downtown Detroit retailing on Woodward Avenue are chronicled in a new book, perfect for holiday giving.

20th Century Retailing in Downtown Detroit, an Arcadia Publishing title, was launched by the Detroit Historical Society last month. It includes more than 200 rarely seen images.

"Anybody who has any memories of downtown in its heyday, or holiday traditions downtown, will certainly want to pick up a copy of the book," said Michael Hauser, who co-authored the book with Marianne Weldon.

There's a chapter each on Hudson's, Crowley's and Kern's, popular department stores at the time. There's also a chapter on "value merchants" like the Kresge and Woolworth's dime stores.

"All the great stores are in there," said Hauser. "And there's a chapter on holiday traditions downtown."

Hauser is the marketing manager for the Michigan Opera Theatre. Weldon is the former curator of collections for the Detroit Historical Society.

The $21.99 book is available at the Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave. in Detroit's Cultural Center area. A portion of the proceeds benefit the museum.

It's also available at Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores. For more information, call the museum at (313) 833-1805 or visit www.detroithistorical.org.

Title: New book harkens to heyday of downtown Detroit shopping

Author: Bill McGraw

Publisher: Free Press

Date: 12/23/08

An igloo on Washington Boulevard. Female guides dressed in candy cane-themed dresses, riding a bus decorated with painted candy canes. Throngs of shoppers on Woodward Avenue. High school students singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" in Grand Circus Park. Lights everywhere.

Those are just some of the images of the hectic Christmas shopping season in Detroit's once-bustling central business district. They are among hundreds of photos in a new Arcadia Publishing book, "20th Century Retailing in Downtown Detroit," by Michael Hauser and Marianne Weldon.

The book covers shopping in every season downtown, but the accompanying photo gallery focuses on the holidays in an era before most major retail had moved to suburban malls.

In putting together their book, Hauser and Weldon chose photographs from several local archives, and most of them have not been widely seen. Hauser, who is the marketing manager for the Detroit Opera Theatre and the Detroit Opera House, said the project is an extension of work he did producing an exhibit in 1997 on the J.L. Hudson department store for the Detroit Historical Museum, which was followed by an Arcadia book on Hudson's by Weldon and him.

"I remember my first trip downtown with my parents in 1956, the final year of the Woodward Avenue streetcar line," said Hauser, 57, who grew up in Grand Rapids. "I was enthralled with the size of Hudson's and all the hustle and bustle on Woodward."

Weldon, 43, was curator of collections for the Detroit Historical Museum before moving to Pennsylvania, where she is collections manager and objects conservator for Bryn Mawr College.

"20th Century Retailing" is available at many local bookstores are from various online booksellers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738561905
Publisher:
Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
11/28/2008
Series:
Images of America Series
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
872,680
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

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