I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and have fond memories of making the trek to downtown Philly for the annual Christmas lights show at Wanamaker’s Department Store. We also used to go see the Christmas display at Lit Brothers, Strawbridge and Clothiers, and Gimbels Department Store. Those were during the heyday of shopping in downtown Philly.
Now, the old, grand stores are gone and in their places are a Burlington Coat Factory and a K-Mart. The Wanamaker’s building is now home to Macy’s. It’s a much smaller store than Wanamaker’s was, but they have kept the grand court with the Wanamaker’s eagle and the giant pipe organ. After a little research, I see that Wanamaker’s was the first department store in Philadelphia and one of the first in the country.
During my visit a couple of weeks ago, the grand court was transformed into a Brazilian flower show.
The Wanamaker’s Eagle was always a popular meeting spot. Everyone knew where it was. I’m glad they didn’t do away with it.
That’s a giant pipe organ up there on the upper floors. They still hold concerts periodically. The Christmas light show is also displayed on the walls, although I hear it’s all been updated with LEDs.
This store is the one that was featured as Prince and Co. in the 1987 movie “Mannequin” and “Mannequin Two: On the Move.”