Marshall Field’s State Street Christmas Memories


Marshall Field’s Last Christmas Season 2005

Field’s Christmas Memories Video

This time of year I always think of my mother taking me to Marshall Field’s when I was growing up.  In those days they had a large toy department with  dolls on glass shelves that lined the walls. There were electric trains in cases where the children tall enough could stand nose to glass, to watch them go around. It was a time when strangers took children by the hand to help them find their lost mothers. Crowds of people walked slowly by the outside windows where a Christmas story unfolded with moving characters and falling snow. It was a magical part of celebrating Christmas. To this day I can retrace the memories of it all.

When I wrote the novel, Facing East, partially set in the Chicago area, there was no doubt that one of the scenes would include the dastardly decision by the new owners to change the name of the store to Macy’s.  Chicagoans actually protested the decision. I am including a snippet from that scene. I hope you will consider reading and giving Facing East as one of your books on your Christmas shopping list. It is only available in paperback, but Greening of a Heart is for your e-book readers. Spend a moment with me now on State Street.

When the cab pulled up at Fields, over two hundred and fifty protesters were gathered under the famous Fields clock at State and Randolph. Katherine led Elizabeth into the throng. Everyone shared their stories. A woman standing next to Katherine said, “I brought my granddaughter here when she was little to buy a Rothschild coat and was told they no longer carried them. I was indignant. I told the sales woman, ‘My mother bought my Rothschild coats here, I bought my daughter’s coats here, and I am here to buy my granddaughter a coat!’”  They stood for over an hour listening to one another’s remembrances, united in their deep regret that Fields’ would no longer be called by that name.  When it was time to head back to the office, Katherine said, “Chicago cares about local lore, forget official titles. It will be a long time before Comiskey Field is called the U.S. Cellular Field or Marshall Field’s is called Macy’s. You can count on that.”


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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4 Responses to Marshall Field’s State Street Christmas Memories

  1. dino0726 says:

    I still love trains from those childhood memories of my uncle’s train under the tree complete with the little village. It was so enchanting to me. 🙂
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

  2. noelleg44 says:

    Christmas time in Chicago was magical. I loved walking by the store windows and browsing in Marshall Fields. And of course, the Frango Mints!

  3. John Holton says:

    With Comiskey Park, it’s easy: they tore down the original (and, to my mind, the only) Comiskey when they moved into the park known as Comiskey II before they sold the naming rights. Not so much with Field’s (you know my background there) and the Sears Tower, or whatever they’re calling it this week. God forbid they ever rename Marina City…

  4. I’ve only been to Chicago once–for a conference–but it looks like a magical place! Does every area/city have its own department store full of memories? I guess for my neck of the woods, the holidays are incomplete without a stroll down 5th Avenue to look at the windows ♥

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