John Wanamaker: Philadelphia Merchant

By Herbert Ershkowitz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
Last Years
1912-1922

The forty-six acres of selling space in the new store dwarfed the original two acres of the 1876 Grand Depot and was larger than any store in the world. But it was more than just a retail outlet. With its Crystal Tea Room and its concert halls, Wanamaker's was the center of the city, its civic heart. As The New York World of March 9, 1928 noted, "The department store today is not merely a place to purchase goods.... It is a place to hear lectures, to look at picture exhibitions, to attend musical concerts. It bears directly and favorably upon the social life of the community."

At the opening of the new store, Daniel H. Burnham commented that Wanamaker's "monument is his store—a thing of beauty and dignity enhancing the appearance of the city, a building that the entire community is from this time on to take the greatest pride in, for in a high sense it is theirs and they are to use it." After 1911, Wanamaker, the building, and Philadelphia became largely inseparable in the minds of most Philadelphians. 1

When Burnham's masterpiece opened, Wanamaker was 73 years old, an age at which most people were retired. He had completed his major monuments, the two stores and new buildings for Bethany. Rodman was his chosen successor and he made sure that his son would get absolute control of his business.

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John Wanamaker: Philadelphia Merchant
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments 6
  • Preface to the Series 7
  • Introduction 9
  • Chapter One - Beginnings 1838-1861 13
  • Chapter Two - A Philadelphia Merchant 1861-1877 33
  • Chapter Three - Grand Depot 1877-1888 55
  • Chapter Four - Politics 1880-1905 79
  • Chapter Five - Merchant Prince 1890-1902 103
  • Chapter Six - Rebuilding the Stores 1903–1912 129
  • Chapter Seven - Last Years 1912-1922 159
  • Bibliographic Essay 189
  • Notes 197
  • Index 225
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