The J.L. Hudson Co. dominated the retail scene in Detroit
in much the same way its massive, red-brick store
dominated Woodward Avenue, the city's main artery.
The John R street side of the store reveals how Hudson's
was built up, one addition at a time to become one of the
largest department stores in the world.
Though on the site of one of Hudson's oldest components,
the Farmer Street side of the store was one of
the building's later additions.
The J.L. Hudson Co. Tower, emblazoned with the name
outlined in red neon was a landmark visible from
miles away, and separated the Farmer Street
and Grand River Avenue buildings.
|In December of 1958, LIFE magazine showed a cut-away|
view of Hudson's, showing the vast array of activity in
the store at the height of its glory.
1206 Woodward Avenue
Ground floor plan of Hudson's, prior to 1946.
(The so-called Sallan Corner is not shown,
and housed Hudson's Fine Jewelry Salon
when the 1946 additon was completed, there-
by filling the whole block for the first time.)
Hudson’s Budget Store
Woodward Avenue Bedding (E)
Grand River Avenue Curtains (F) • Linens & Domestics (F) • Fabrics (F) • Home Furnishings (A)
Farmer Street Drugs and Toiletries (B) • Candy (B) • Customer Service (B) • Records (B) • Stationery (B) • Breadstick in the Basement (B)
Hudson's Budget Store
Woodward Avenue Shoes (D) • Dresses (D) • Accessories (E) • Sportswear (E) • Coats (E) • Juniors (E)
Grand River Avenue Children's Wear (A) • Girls 7-14 (A) • Lingerie (F) • Portrait Studio (A)
Farmer Street Men's Wear (C) • Boys' Wear (B) • Luggage (B)
Woodward Avenue Jewelry (D) • Fashion Watches (D) • Leather Goods (E) • Gloves E) • Handbags (D) • Scarves (E) • Belts (E) • Hosiery (A, B) • Aisles of Beauty (E,F) • Toiletries (E) • Millinery Outpost (E) • Watches (D) • Blouses (E) • Fine Jewelry (D) • Miss Detroiter Sportswear (E) • Sweaters (E)
Grand River Avenue Men’s Furnishings (A) • Men’s Accessories (F) • Dress Shirts (F) • Ties (F) • Pajamas (A) • Shirts (A) • Hosiery (A) • The Sportsman (A) • Smoke Shop (F)
Farmer Street Hudson’s Bakery (B) • Candy (B) • Pantry Shop (B) • The Wine Cellar (B) • Candy Shop (B) • Miss Detroiter Lingerie • Notions (B) •
Woodward Avenue Health and Beauty Aids (D) • Gift Wrapping (D) • Pharmacy (D) • Hudson’s Optical (D) • Hearing Aid Center (D) • Clock Shop (E) • "Ask Mr. Foster" Travel Service (E) • Adult Games (F) • Luggage (E) • Stationery (F) • Personal Engraving (F) • Commercial Stationery (F) • Greeting Cards (E,F)
Grand River Avenue Book Shop (A) • Luggage
Farmer Street Piccadilly Circus Cafeteria (B) • Coins & Stamps (B,C)
Woodward Avenue Men’s Suits (E,F) • Men’s Coats (E,F) • Contemporary Man • New Directions (E) • Men’s Shoes (D) • Boys' Shoes (D) • That Guy (B) • Casino Shop (F) • University Shop (B) • The Threadmill (B)
Grand River Avenue Sporting Goods (A) • Ski Shop (A) • Golf Shop (A) • Cameras and Supplies (A) • Pet Shop (A) • O’Connor Portrait Studio (A)
Farmer Street Men’s Will Call • Boys 4-7 (C) • Boys 8-20 (C) • Boy Scout Supplies (C)
Woodward Avenue Art Needlework (D) • Picture Shop (D) • Mirrors (D) • Custom Framing (D) • Silver Gallery (E) • Gift Shop (E) • Collector’s Gallery (E) • Table Linens (F)
Grand River Avenue Sheets (A) • Blankets (A) • Pillows (A) • Bath Shop (F) • Closet Shop (A)
Farmer Street Hudson’s Sewing Center Fabrics (B,C) • Notions • Patterns (So. Bridge)
Woodward Avenue Baby’s Own Shop (D) • Infant’s Layette (D) • Toddler’s Shop (E) • Children’s Shoes (E)
Grand River Avenue Girls 3-6x (A) • Girls 7-14 (A) • Little Miss Hudson (A) • Sub Teen Shop (F) • Young Accessories (F) • Girl Scout Supplies (F)
Farmer Street Post Office (C) • Writing Lounge (C) • Tourneur Salon (B) • Snack Bar (B) • Hudson's Dry Cleaning (B) • Gift Wrapping (B) • Repair Service Desk (B)
Woodward Avenue Pacemaker Shop (E) • Lingerie (E) • Sleepwear (D) • Loungewear (E) • Deb Shop (E)
Grand River Avenue Young Fashion Shoes (A) • A Nice Girl Like You... (A, F) • Nice Girl Lingerie (F) • High School Shop (F)
Farmer Street Uniforms (C) • Home and Town Dresses (C) • Equestrienne Shop (B) • Foundations (B) • Fresh Flower Shop (So. Bridge)
Woodward Avenue Social Occasion (F) • Miss Detroiter Shoes (D)
Grand River Avenue Contemporary Collections (F) • St. Clair Sportswear (A)
Farmer Street Fur Salon (B) • Suit Shop (B) • Maternity Shop (C) • Shoe Repair (C)
The Woodward Shops Bridal Salon (D) • Green Room (D) • Better Coats (E) • Miss Hudson (D) • Town & Country (D) • French Room Millinery (E)
Grand River Avenue Alterations (A) • Millinery (A) • Wigs (A) • Shoe Salon (F) • The Individualist (F) • The Crystal Room (F)
Farmer Street J. L. Hudson Gallery (B) • Old Print Shop (B) • Fashion Shoes (C) • Leisure Shoes (C)
Woodward Avenue Studio of Interior Decoration (E) • Furniture Galleries (D) • Gallery Boutique (E)
Grand River Avenue Curtains (A) • Draperies (F) • Custom Upholstery (A)
Farmer Street Floor Coverings • Rugs • Oriental Rug Gallery • Home Planning Bureau •
Woodward Avenue Bed Room Furniture (D) • Dining Room Furniture (E) • Colonial Furniture (E)
Grand River Avenue Model Rooms (A, F) • Light Fixtures (F)
Farmer Street Floor Coverings (B,C) • Mattresses (B)
Woodward Avenue China (E) • Glassware (F) • Bride’s Registry • Gift Wrap • Home Improvement Center (D) • Appliances (D) • Gift Wrapping (E)
Grand River Avenue Small Electrical Appliances (A) • Housewares (A, F) • Kitchen Clocks (A) • Cutlery (A) • Fireplace Shop (A) • Indoor Gardens (A) • Culinary Corner (F) • Barbecue Shop (A) • Gifts (F)
Farmer Street Cleaning Materials (B) • Floor Care (B) • Unfinished Furniture (B) • Kitchen Furniture (B) • Hardware (C) • Tools (C) • Paint Center (So. Bridge) • Sewing Machines (So. Bridge) • Kitchen Planning Service (C)
Woodward Avenue Lamps (D) • Piano Salon (D) • Stereos (D) • Televisions (D) • Radio & TV Reapir (E)
Grand River Avenue Cash Office (A) • Credit Office (F)
Farmer Street Executive Offices (B) • Organ Salon (C)
Woodward Avenue Auditorium (E) • Little Auditorium (E) • Garden Shop (D) • Music Store (D) • Records (D)
Grand River Avenue Christmas Trim Shop (A,F)
Farmer Street Toytown (B, C) • Artists' Supplies (So. Bridge) • Christmas Trim Shop
Grand River Avenue Business Gift Center (F) • Hudson's Contract Division
Farmer Street Riverview Room (B) • The Beef Emporium (Pine Room) (C) • Executive Dining Room
Grand River Avenue Personnel • Hudson’s Beauty Salon (F) • Wiggery (F) • Children’s Barber Shop (F)
Farmer Street Employees Cafeteria (B, C)
Grand River Avenue Receiving and Marking
Farmer Street Display Department
Grand River Avenue Buyers' Offices • Import Office • Carpenter Shop • Receiving and Marking
Grand River Avenue Fur Storage (E) • Paint Shop • Elevator Equipment
Grand River Avenue Paymaster • Auditing • Storage
Grand River Avenue Advertising • Public Relations • Training
Grand River Avenue Order Board • Supplies • Telephone Equipment
Grand River Avenue Laundry • Sign And Print Shop
Grand River Avenue Maintenance
Grand River Avenue Equipment
Hudson Tower Water Supply • Executive Exercise Room
Hudson Tower Water Supply
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The Greenery Restaurant
The J. L. Hudson company was the third-largest department store in the United States, after Macy’s in New York and Marshall Field & Company in Chicago. Hudson’s dominated the Detroit retail market like no other store in any American city, and was the subject of phenomenal growth from a small men’s store into a merchandising powerhouse, owing to Detroit’s manufacturing expansion early in the 20th Century, and the city’s status as the “Arsenal of Democracy” during and after World War II which launched the store into a hey-day that lasted until the city itself became a stunning example of urban blight and decline bordering on a state of ruin.
At its greatest, Hudson’s was the arbiter of fashion and culture for the Motor City customers that flocked to the 25-story red-brick emporium (giving it the nickname of "tallest department store in the world), not just to shop but to be informed, entertained, and ultimately, satisfied. It was said that Hudson’s carried practically anything a person could want, and this was largely true. To sell its vast selection of wares, the store hosted demonstrations, shows, exhibits and when it advertised that “It’s Christmastime at Hudson’s,” it pulled out all the stops, including a giant Toyland, one of America’s great Thanksgiving Day parades, a Christmas fantasy-land in its auditorium, and custom-designed holiday decorations that changed yearly.
The great “Hudson Tower” as it was known stood as an advertising beacon for the store, with illuminated “HUDSON’S” signs on each of its four sides. During these expansions, it was decided to increase the height of the store as well by building on top of the existing and new structures. In old photos, the distinctive shape of the roof of Hudson’s 12th floor auditorium can be recognized, especially in aerial views.
|Click HERE to see inside|
Graciously provided by Maura Cady-Rye
|Click to See the Flag Unfurl|