Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chicago Part III

On the last full day in Chicago, Kathi and I took a tour of Marshall Fields (now known as Macys).  I highly recommend the architectural tours done by Chicago Architecture Foundation.   They are very interesting and informative and give you a great behind the scenes view of the city rich in history.

The store is located on State Street in The Loop in downtown Chicago.  The original store nicknamed the great Marble Palace was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire.  It was rebuilt and destroyed by yet another fire in 1877.  The store was originally owned by Field and Lietner and was more of a wholesale business supplying goods to smaller stores in the midwest and west.  Later Mr. Field bought out Lietner and the store grew into the modern department store selling more luxurious goods.  Marshall Field died in 1906 and Mr. Shedd, was appointed the new President.  The current store opened in 1907 and includes a beautiful Tiffany ceiling.

The ceiling is both the first and largest ceiling ever built in favrile glass, containing over 1.6 million pieces.  It is beautiful.  The photos do not do it justice.

The clocks on the corners are listed on the National Historic Registry as is the building.  It is said that this corner was a popular meeting place where Chicago visitors and residents would meet and/or leave notes.
The store has a beautful atrium which used to be an ally.  In the late 1990's (I believe) they joined the 2 stores.  From the outside of the building you can see the two different architectural styles of the buildings.  This difference in style is also noticeable from the inside as well.
you can see the two styles here.  The center 2 columns that are slightly higher and lower than the sides... that used to be an alley.

original elevator doors

The Walnut Room where Kathi and I had lunch has an interesting story.  It opened in 1907 as a place for unescorted women to have lunch.  In the early days woman had to go home to have lunch.  Marshall Fields filled this void by becoming the first department store to start providing lunch and/or tea for their female shoppers.  It is said that in 1890 a lady working in the hat department, Mrs. Hering, started bringing in homemade chicken pot pies for her customers.  Trying on hats could be very time consuming and she wanted the ladies to be comfortable and shop.  Having something for her customers to eat increased their shopping time.  Mrs. Hering's chicken pot pie is still served in The Walnut Room, although it is not the original recipe.

In 2004 Target Corporation sold Marshall Fields to Macy's. 

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