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Siegel-Cooper Dry Goods Store: The Chicago World's Fair in New York

The most opulent store to open up on the "Ladie's Mile" was built by DeLemos and Cordes at a scale previously seen only at the exposition in Chicago of 1893, with architectural details that recall the grandeur of ancient Rome.

On September 12, 1896, the New York Times announced that the store would opent that night at 7:30, and thus "end a period of uncertainty for thousands of women who had a live interest in the scheme to equip New York City with a department store which should be the rival of any such establishment in the world."

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The Times reported that 150,000 people had attended the opening of what they called "a shopping resort." The store was prepared for 190,000 visitors a day, and employed 8,000 clerks and 1,000 drivers and packers. In addition to the usual vast array of merchandise of department stores then and now, Siegel Cooper had a telegraph office, a long-distance telephone office, a foreign-money exchange, stock-trading services, a dentist, and an advertising agency. It was the first on Ladies' Mile to boast free samples and demonstrations, air conditioning and an extensive range of merchandise under one roof.
In the center of the lobby was a circular fountain where jets of water cascaded over concealed multicolored lights into a marble and brass statue of The Republic, a copy of one Daniel Chester French had designed for the Chicago Fair. "Meet me at the fountain" soon became the saying all over New York. Advertising played a major role in attracting customers, who were drawn from as far away as Connecticut and New jersey by the promise of such things as colored ostrich plumes at 19 cents.

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1 Responses to “Siegel-Cooper Dry Goods Store: The Chicago World's Fair in New York”

  1. # Blogger Books,Coffee,etc....

    Bonjour! Cedric,
    What beautiful photographs...and the detailed architecture is very interesting too!
    Merci, for sharing!... all the very informative...information about Siegel-Cooper's Dry Good Store.  

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    I am Cedric, discoverer of things that would go unnoticed in the streets of Paris, historic haven of fashionistas and city of lights ('lights' as in 'enlightenment', not street lights).
    But seriously: I'm an expat from Luxembourg (the country, not the garden), living in the center of Paris (hence 'Paris 2nd arrondissement'), and currenlty studying architectural history...


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