A late addition to Ladies' Mile, this eclectic
Beaux Arts store was built by a European trained firm
for the entrepreneurs Henry Siegel and Frank Cooper.
Siegel came from Chicago, where his attitudes towards marketing and retail
had been shaped by his encounter with the 1893 World's
Columbian Exposition which inspired him to use monumental architectural
expression to attract customers to his store.
He commissioned an elaborate structure whose centerpiece was a fountain
marked by a replica of Daniel Chester French's white marble and brass
statue of the "Republic." This grand department store was the first on
Ladies' Mile to boast free
samples and demonstrations, air conditioning and an extensive range of
merchandise under one roof. Siegel used a variety of advertising
techniques to promote his department store.
Composed of a steel frame clad in many rich materials (marble, yellow brick, terra-cotta, bronze and copper) the block-long six-story building was constructed at a scale previously seen only at the exposition in Chicago, with architectural details that recall the grandeur of ancient Rome. Viewers riding in the El would be privy to a highly ornamented row of second floor shop windows, which surmount the broad shop windows of the ground floor and its monumental triple-arched entrance.