If it weren’t for men like Marshall Field and John Shedd, Chicago would’t be what it is today. Both men are amongst a list of impressive citizens responsible for the art, education and culture in Chicago. You will enjoy a visit to The Art Institute of Chicago and The John G. Shedd Aquarium, but I want to tell you several things about Marshall Field’s famous department store which plays such a prominent role in many stories.
The Chicago Art Institute
Marshall Field Department Store is a famous destination in Chicago. My mother took me on the train at Christmas time to the city to see the windows, eat in the Walnut room beside the Christmas tree, and buy maple sugar candy.
I hope you have been watching the series Mr. Selfridge on Masterpiece Theater with Jeremy Piven. One of the finest department stores in the world, Suffridges, on Oxford Street in London, was created by American Harry Gordon Selfridge who played a large role in the success of Fields before moving to England. In 1887 HGS was appointed to lead the retail store and headed it as it evolved into a modern department store. We visited the Gold Coast area of the city earlier this week where a mansion belonging to Selfridge once stood. There are many fascinating stories connected to Mr. Selfridge and knowing the many years he spent at Fields makes it all the more interesting.
In the 19th century, ladies shopping in Chicago returned home for lunch because eating at a restaurant unescorted by a gentleman was considered unladylike. But after a Marshall Field’s clerk shared her lunch with a tired shopper, Field’s thought of opening a department store tea room so that women shoppers could stop and eat before continuing to shop. Mr. Selfridge took that idea to London; he also provided women’s bathrooms for the first time in a store. The concept of being able to handle the merchandise while browsing the glass cases was another innovative shopping experience that started at Fields.
An early photograph of Marshal Fields
When Macy’s bought Fields and announced they would change the name of the store in 2006 over 250 protesters gathered under the Fields famous clock. 300 gathered to continue protesting on the the 1st anniversary of this change. Growing up outside Chicago, with my memories, I wouldn’t dream of calling the store anything but Marshall Fields. I have written my protest into the novel I am working on. Working title, Stardust.
Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower. Tallest building in the United States.
Chagall, stained glass in Chicago; Art Institute of Chicago
So much more to see, to enjoy, to eat!
PS: PLEASE READ THE COMMENT FROM JOHN HOLTON BELOW. HE HAS WRITTEN SOME WONDERFUL ADDITIONAL CHICAGO INFORMATION EACH DAY DURING OUR TOUR. YOU WILL LOVE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. THANK YOU JOHN!