From the Archives: Downtown department stores – Lansing State Journal


Downtown Lansing was as soon as residence to a number of department stores. Here's a journey down reminiscence lane. Vickki Dozier/Lansing State Journal

Plans to construct a brand new fashionable constructing to accommodate J.C. Penney in downtown Lansing had been unveiled in 1950.

The $,500,000 construction can be constructed at the northwest nook of South Washington and Kalamazoo Avenue, which at the moment was occupied by the buildings on the historic Butler block. 

The unique downtown J.C. Penney Co. had been housed in the first three flooring and the basement of the Prudden constructing at the nook of Washington and Michigan avenues and held its grand opening Sept. 28, 1932.

The brand new retailer opened in June of 1952, boasting the first escalators put in to be used in Lansing. The “motor stairs” would carry prospects from the fundamental to 3rd flooring and return.

In the starting, the retailer needed to publish attendants at the escalators as a result of prospects did not know use them. Folks would come from throughout, simply to journey them, in response to an article in the Lansing State Journal.

There was 45,000 sq. ft of promoting area with new maternity and residence furnishings sections. 

The downtown J.C. Penney retailer closed in July of 1981, leaving downtown Lansing with no main department retailer. The corporate moved into the former J.W. Knapp Co. mall stores in each the Lansing and Meridian Malls.

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One other downtown department retailer, J.W. Knapp's, started in 1896 in a constructing on the 100 block of north Washington Avenue.  A number of years later, the retailer moved to a constructing just a few blocks to the south.

The department retailer at 200-226 S. Washington Sq. housed Knapp's till the firm determined they needed to develop into greater.

In the spring of 1937 they unveiled plans for a 5-story Artwork Moderne flagship retailer, which nonetheless stands at the nook of Washington Sq. and Washtenaw Avenue.

The brand new retailer opened at 9 a.m. Dec 7, 1937, and, by early afternoon, a number of thousand individuals had visited the retailer, which had 1000's of things of Christmas merchandise on show.

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The reward balcony, with its extremely-fashionable railing of aluminum and brass, was a middle of curiosity.

Knapp's was bought to the Charles Stuart Mott Basis in the 1950s, which opened Knapp's areas in the Meridian Mall and the Lansing Mall. Knapp's was bought once more to L.S. Good & Co. and, with earnings dropping, declared chapter in 1980. The flagship retailer of the J.W. Knapp Co. closed its doorways for good on a Saturday in October of 1980. 

J. M. Cameron arrived in Lansing in 1891 and began a department retailer in a one-story constructing close to the nook of South Washington Avenue and Kalamazoo Avenue.

His nephew, Frank Arbaugh and a buddy, Basil Cameron, purchased the retailer, which was positioned at 401 S. Washington Ave., from Cameron in 1897.

In 1904, they determined to erect "Lansing's first skyscraper " and relocated a strong brick construction referred to as the Octagon Home to create space for it. They initially deliberate a 4-story constructing, however when the Lansing Enterprise College requested area, they added a fifth flooring. 

Cameron bought his share to Arbaugh in 1909, and the firm grew to become the F.N. Arbaugh Co. 

In 1953, Arbaugh’s son, Frank, bought a large portion of the firm to Sperry and Hutchinson Firm of New York. The shop continued to function as Arbaugh’s till 1969, when it was purchased by Wurzburg Co. in Grand Rapids, which modified the identify to Wurzburg's Department Retailer. Wurzburg's closed in 1972.

Contact Vickki Dozier at (517) 267-1342 or Observe her on Twitter @vickkiD.

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From the Archives: Downtown department stores - Lansing State Journal