Wednesday, June 10, 2009


For you older Philadelphians... back when we had our own department stores. These from the 44 archives. Strawbridge & Clothier, John Wanamaker's, Lit Brothers, heck I'll even throw Gimbels in there, even though they were outsiders, simply because of their annoying "It's beginning to look alot like Gimbels" commercial -- which still plays in my head ;-(

My mother and grandmother would have no place to shop these days if they were still here. They were both champs when it came to shopping, and of course Lucinda and I always got dragged along. Correction: I got dragged, Looch went willingly. At Wanamaker's in center city my bribe was a "Wana-Frost" in the basement! At the Strawbridge's in the Neshaminy Mall I could be left, for hours, in front of the (slightly) moving scenes from the American Revolution - "Signing of the Declaration of Independence", "Battle of Germantown" etc.

Back in the day Mom saved her money and bought a beautiful dining room set from Strawbridge's. When it was delivered there was a scratch on it. (Adrian Monk only thinks he has attention to detail) She immediately called Peter Strawbridge and left a message. Ten minutes later he called back, apologized, and dispatched a team the next morning to fix the scratch.

Try getting that kind of customer service from Target or Walmart.

All gone now. The jerks even had to chip the name off the granite, and under Market Street you they painted over the old Gimbel Bros windows (near the El). Another childhood memory lost.

When people come to the theatre and ask about a Ticketmaster outlet... we tell them there is one on the third floor of the old Wanamaker Building at 13th and Chestnut. A small chance they might get lost but they'll learn a bit about our history.

From a conversation overheard at the
Philadelphia International Airport:

"You Philadelphians don't travel much, do you?"

"We don't have to -- we're already here!"

So, in closing, I'll simply say, yo...



  1. Tom,
    Your latest entry brought back lots of happy memories. Way back (I suspect before you were born, but for sure before the malls were contructed) my Mom used to walk us to the corner, get us on a bus that went to 8th & Market, sometimes we took the one that went to Camden and then took "the Bridge Train" over the river. One was the number 4 and one the number 5 but I can't remember which was which! We alwas shopped at S & C or Gimbels, Lit Brothers too, and sometimes we walked all the way to 13th Street to shop at Wanamakers. If there was a little extra money we would have lunch in the "Crystal Tearoom"..or sometimes @ H & H, nothing like the Automat! Thanks for a walk down memory lane.
    Love to you and Lisa,
    God Bless,
    P.S. Thanks for the prayers for Trish, round two starts tomorrow!

  2. Yo Tom,

    Definite "nostalgia!" I used to watch (the "real") Santa in the Gimbels' Thanksgiving Day Parade as a little boy...

    That's the John Wanamaker "Iggle."