This was one of Philadelphia’s premier department stores. It has sadly gone out of business along with the rest of the retail chain. Tina and I and everybody I know who lives in Philadelphia shopped here. They had everything — clothes, beds, televisions, you name it. That is where shopping was done. Mail order was for farmers and cranks. If you needed something, you had to go to 8th and Market and take the endless escalators up and up to the floor you were looking for. Some of the floors were bustling like the clothing departments. Others were as quiet as a cathedral between services. I remember the bedding department being eerily dark and silent except for the mechanical sounds of the escalators constantly clanking.
No place was better than Strawbridge’s at Christmas time. Wanamaker’s may have had the light show and the pipe organ playing holiday favorites, but Strawbridge’s had fantastic window displays and sold the greatest selection of Christmas ornaments I have ever encountered. We bought several from Strawbridge’s that we still treasure. Somehow Christmas hasn’t been the same without them.
Fortunately, the building still stands despite an ongoing orgy of urban renewal or whatever euphemism these cruel Visigoths are using. Good taste triumphed and this glorious treasure has not fallen to the wrecking ball.