For 147 years Marshall Fields
department store has sat proudly on State Street
. Architecturally impressive from the outside with the Great Clock leaning out from the corner of State and Washington Streets. Inside with it's Tiffany Ceiling
, the largest glass mosaic of its kind and the first ceiling ever built in favrile iridescent glass. The same year the ceiling was constructed, 1907, also saw the opening of one of Chicago's oldest restaurant's The Walnut Room.
But it's this time of year that Chicagoan's and tourists flock to the store, not just to crane necks to see the 48ft Christmas tree reach up to the Walnut Room but to see it's famous Christmas window display. Field's has been decorating it's windows for the Christmas holidays since 1897, and it was during World War II that the windows along State Street began telling a story as onlookers walked from one plate of glass to the next.
This year's eleven windows depict Cinderella
. Last year it was Snow White and in my first year here it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
However, despite assurances, locals expect this to be the end of an era. In February
of this year Federated Department Stores
and Field's owners, May
, merged in a $11m deal. Federated own the Bloomingdale's
brand and in September announced that they will change all 62 Marshall Fields stores to the Macy's name.
At the time Federated's Chairman & CEO Terry Lundgren said: "While the store's name will change, much of what customers love will stay the same, including Marshall Field's traditions and its outstanding record of community and charitable giving. As part of this name change process, we will do everything we can to honor
(sic) the Marshall Field's heritage, particularly in its Chicago birthplace."
The locals are not convinced, and although when I first visited 2-years ago the store's 10 floors looked desperately tired, it had perked up in the last year or so, taking its lead
from Selfridges' and their hugely successful move to creative, vibrant and individual concessions.
However in a walk around the other day, that approach has appeared to have been halted as Federated decide on the landmark store's future. Whatever they decide, lets hope that they keep up the Chicago tradition of Fields' Christmas window displays.
Here are a couple of photos I took the other day (click to enlarge):