Read about the Lasalle & Koch Co. in
this book by Bruce Allen Kopytek
In November of 1917, The Lasalle & Koch Co.
moved to a 9-story building designed by
the New York firm of Starrett & Van Vleck.
Ten years later, the cornice was raised
and extra floors were added to the building, which
was designed in the Italian Renaissance style.
A concave bank of elevators serving
the upper floors was a fairly unique feature of the store,
one repeated by the same architects in their design
for the similar Davison-Paxon store in Atlanta.
Lasalle's became associated with the R.H. Macy Co.
of New York in 1923, but retained its own name.
Interestingly, the store building pre-dates the merger
but has much in common with Macy's
facilities from the same era.
A street-level photo emphasizes the height and bulk
of Lasalle's, but also shows how the period details
give the large building a welcoming, human quality.
513 Adams Street
Toledo, Ohio 43603
Hardware • Garden Shop • Dining Room
Lasalle’s Budget Store
Sweaters • Blouses • Main Floor Sportswear • Millinery • Notions • Accessories • Scarves • Hosiery • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Ladies’ Shoes • Jewelry • Fine Jewelry • Silver • Books Stationery • Candy • Gourmet Foods • Men’s Accessories • Men’s Furnishings • Dress Shirts • Ties • Men’s Shoes • Razor Shop • Men’s Sportswear • Sport Shirts • Young Men’s Shop • Men’s Clothing • Men’s Outerwear • New Traditions
Repair Center • Coins and Stamps
Misses’ Sleepwear • Loungewear • Robes • Foundations • Jr. Intimate Shop • One Stop Maternity Shop • Shoes • Joyce Patio • Designer Shoes • Pin Money Shop
Fashion Third Dresses • Sportswear • Better Dresses • Better Sportswear • Better Blouses • Better Sweaters • Contemporary Sportswear • Country Corner • Miss Lasalle Shop • The Clubhouse • After 5 Shop • Town Shop • The Little Shop • Coats • Fur Salon • Tannery • Young Collector • Perspective • Women’s World
Junior World Junior Dresses • Junior Coordinates • Jr. Scene • Junior Separates • Junior Coats
Young World Children’s Accessories • Children’s Shoes • Infants • Toddlers • Girl’s Wear • Boys’ Wear • Teen Shop • Luggage • Toy World
Domestics • Sheets • Comforters • Bedspreads • Draperies • Custom Draperies • Fabrics • Art Needlework
China • Crystal • Glassware • Gifts • Housewares • Cookware • Stereos and Radios • Televisions • Major Appliances • Sweepers • Records • Espresso Bar
Customer Services • Beauty Salon • Lamps • Sporting Goods
Executive Offices • The Country House • The Grill Room • The English Room • The French Room
Furniture • Chairs • Bedding • Rugs • Broadloom • Karastan Gallery • Pictures • Mirrors • The Corner Shop • Music Center
(398,000 sq. ft.)
139. South Main St.
71 S. Washington St.
Columbus Ave at Washington Row
514 S. Main St.
Central at Secor
The Terrace Room
North Towne Square
Alexis Road at I-75
The Terrace Room
After the war, he married, and was able to determine with his wife, Sybilla, that Toledo, Ohio would be a an ideal location to found a retail business. Accordingly, on September 14, 1865, along with his business partner Joseph Epstein, Lasalle opened a store at 51 Summit Street that bore both of their names.
Around the same time, Joseph Koch (1850-1904) came to Toledo and worked in various Summit Street stores until, in 1877, he opened his own dry-goods operation with partner Alies Cohen. By 1881, Koch left the partnership with Cohen, and took a job at Lasalle's store. Cohen himself joined Lasalle and Koch in business by 1883, when the store became known as Lasalle, Cohen and Koch, and was relocated to the corner of Summit and Adams Streets.. When Cohen left the business in 1886, the Lasalle & Koch Co. was born. The company included other members of the Lasalle and Koch families as directors.
After adding two floors to the Summit Street premises, the Lasalle & Koch Co. outgrew its space, and sought to occupy a large commercial building, built in 1889, by Toledo's august Secor family, at the corner of Jefferson and Superior streets. Critics advanced the idea that the new location was a poor choice, away from Toledo's shopping epicenter at Summit and Adams streets, even though it offered the growing store a wealth of space at the time.
As it would do 17 years later, Lasalle & Koch's move proved its mettle as the store that would call itself "Toledo's Greatest" in the future. The shopping public flocked to the new store that opened to great fanfare on April 1, 1900, so much so that major expansions and additions to the store were undertaken just 6 and 8 years, respectively, after it opened. In addition, the store was big enough to rival current market-leader Milner's, and its breadth and newness left established competition in smaller, older premises on a street that was set to decline.
Unfortunately, though, Joseph Koch died quite suddenly on June 26, 1904. Koch had taken Louis Eppstein in to the business, whom he once found peddling newspapers on Lasalle & Koch's corner. Legend has it that Eppstein simply asked Koch for a job, who obliged on the condition that he do odd jobs first, so that he could afford to outfit himself in a manner appropriate to working at Koch's store.
After Joseph Koch's death, His son Alfred left his studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and came to work for Lasalle's. He and Eppstein became acquainted, and the older employee helped the younger Koch ease into a leadership position. It was indeed the acumen, leadership and energy of Alfred B. Koch as general manager, and later as president, that led the Lasalle & Koch company on to further, highly impressive growth.
In August of 1916, while Europe inploded from the Great War, Lasalle's announced that financing was secured from Toledoan Edward D. Libbey, to build a magnificent new nine-story retail building at Adams and Huron Streets. Once again, the Lasalle & Koch Co. was poised to drag Toledo's retail nucleus outward, and in this case further north.
The beautiful new store, designed by the New York firm of Starrett and Van Vleck, was crafted in stone and brick, with bronze and marble detailing highlighting the arches that formed its vertical walls along Adams and Huron streets. The bay-like vitrines that filled the arches at the street floor were compared in the press to "a series of crystal palaces," and the store had an additional entrance to the Spitzer building arcade to the west, which allowed pedestrians to travel from Adams west to Madison Street, protected from Toledo's variable weather. It was not long before this passageway became a part of the lives of Toledo residents and was informally nick-named "Lasalle Street." No doubt the effect was heightened by the great, 29-foot height of the store's main floor.
There was every possible convenience a customer of the day could want, and the store's eighth floor housed a large restaurant and auditorium for special events. Even a rooftop terrace for employee recreation was included in the beautiful landmark building that, from the time of its opening, set Lasalle's apart from the mundane. Eighty thousand people passed through Lasalle & Koch's doors on opening day.
Jacob Lasalle passed away in the autumn of 1921, and Alfred Koch was able to purchase 100 per cent of the company's shares from the owner families, as a result of the business growth that the new building spurred. His intention was not to retain full control of the company, but to find a suitable partner that could help take the business to the next level of growth. That partner was New York's R. H. Macy & Company.
Flush from its own unprecedented growth and the resultant profits, Macy's purchased the Lasalle & Koch Co. in 1923, and went on to expand to Newark, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, California; and Kansas City, Missouri within the next two decades.
The hinted-at growth came three years later, when Koch announced that a "Larger Lasalle & Koch Store" would be accomplished by adding three floors to the existing store, just 10 years after it opened. The second grand opening was characterized by the exposition of a series of paintings in Lasalle & Koch's display windows, created by muralist Arthur Covey, that illustrated the industrial and business growth of Toledo.
The famous weather-vane on Lasalle & Koch's roof joined the three iconic water towers atop the store in 1932, when Alfred Koch entered into a bet and agreed to erect a weather-vane atop his store if Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin Roosevelt.
Alfred Koch died of a heart attack in 1937, and he was succeeded by his friend Louis Eppstein, who remained at the helm unti 1940. From that time on, Lasalle's leadership came from the larger Macy organization, such as Richard Lennihan, who served from 1940 through 1949, or Michael Yamin who succeeded him.. It was widely recognized, though, that the great Lasalle & Koch store, such a landmark among department stores and certainly a standout in Toledo, was indeed a monument to the leadership of Alfred B. Koch.
As the second world war drew to a close, Lasalle's took steps to extend its reach as a regional retailer. First, it purchased the well-established business of A. Froney & Co. in Bowling Green Ohio late in 1944. The ancient building was refaced in 1945 in a sleek stone- and glass-clad international style, and nearby Tiffin, Ohio got a Lasalle's store in 1947 Two years later, a three-story branch opened to the east of Toledo in the center of Sandusky. A store in Findlay, Ohio, was projected in 1946, but had to wait until 1954 until conditions were right to build and open it.
From 1957 to 1958, a serious strike by Retail Associates, Inc., a union for Toledo store workers, caused trouble for Lasalle's as well as its neightbors, Lamson's and the Lion Store. Lasalle's was, on occasion, attacked with stink-bombs and an infestation of mice and pigeons. A Catholic monsignor, Rev. Michael Doyle, was able to help resolve the conflict on Christmas Eve, 1958, but the issue remained in litigation for the next eleven years - albeit without the violence that plagued the stores during the strike itself.
On a more positive note, Lasalle's, which advertised itself as being "just five minutes from New York," used the New York connection to hold some events that were characteristic of much larger cities. Toledo residents could enjoy a memorable flower show that transformed the large store into a veritable botanical garden for six days in 1960. Later, elaborate import fairs (first held at Lasalle & Koch's in the 1930s) drew crowds of customers and focused on the culture and wares of Italy, England and the Mediterranean.
It was not until February of 1962 that Lasalle's opened a suburban branch, at the Westgate shopping center, where a large Lion Store branch had opened several years earlier. The store's popular location, modern conveniences, and large selections ensured its popularity for many years. Further branches opened at Woodville Mall east of Toledo in 1969, and at North Towne Square near the Michigan border in 1980.
The North Towne store was as up-to date and memorable as would befit an R. H. Macy store of the day, when the New York headquarters was re-casting itself as a fashionable, up-to-the-minute west-side answer to Bloomindgale's, and North Towne boasted a memorable, club-like restaurant over the store's mall entrance.
By this time, however, Macy's began to question the viability of its operations in smaller midwestern cities, so it combined the Toledo operation with its stores in Kansas City in 1982. This alienated Toledo customers, who saw Lasalle's as "their" local store, as did the name change to Macy's that was a part of the same action. Lasalle's downtown, Toledo's last big-city department store, closed bearing a Macy*s nameplate in 1984, and the branches in Bowling Green, Tiffin and Sandusky followed suit not long after. What remained was sold to Elder-Beerman stores in 1986, erasing practically every trace of the once-prominent Lasalle name from the Toledo landscape.
I bought an old box wrapped in Christmas paper and inside the box top was printed "The Lasalle & Koch Company / Toledo, Ohio". It's a great old box most likely from the 1920s/30, give the paper design. I googled the store and found your site. What a neat undertaking. I just glanced at Foley's (I'm from Houston). How fun to look back at all these stores that once were.
And to think there was a time when your gifts were placed in boxes like I found. If you have any interest in a photo of it for your files, I'd be happy to send.
Wow! We saved the boxes year to year to reuse and bought more each year as well. One of my best memories of these stores...I would love to see your photo.Delete
I came across these photos of a RCA television display, circa 1950, at the store:ReplyDelete
Thanks for the link. The photos give an idea of how LaSalle's looked in the 1950s.ReplyDelete
The name Lasalle's does not have a capitalized "s." I worked for many years on the 8th floor, and I can assure you that the name was "The Lasalle and Koch Co." or "Lasalle's." Our official name was "Lasalle's, a division of R.H. Macy & Co."ReplyDelete
Our flagship store at 503 Adams St. changed to the Macy's name in 1980, after R.H. Macy consolidated Lasalle's into the Macy's Missouri-Kansas Division. All administration, buying and warehousing was moved to Kansas City, and our downtown store closed several of the upper levels, before eventually closing the store completely in 1982.
Do you recall a bronze plaque on the building with the store name?Delete
It's a small detail - but an important one, and now it's corrected. Perhaps I titled the post that way because my high school was named De La Salle Collegiate, I am used to that spelling.ReplyDelete
As an architect, I think that the Lasalle's building in downtown Toledo is extraordinarily beautiful, inside and out. The curved bank of elevators (also to be found at Davison's in Atlanta) is a very sophisticated touch, one of many in this fine example of an American department store.
I just returned from a trip to Goodwill where I found a vintage 1950s navy blue purse with "made in Canada exclusively for Lasalle's" on the lining. Do you have any information about what company it could be? It's a very cool purse in excellent condition!ReplyDelete
My first job ever was at the Westgate store. They added a discount annex to compete with a KMart that had opened across the street.ReplyDelete
It was a real treat to go to Lasalle's in downtown Toledo! There was a doorman who was in uniform and always greeted us when we entered. The elevators had uniformed operators who said each floor number and what was available on each floor. It was so classy! People dressed up to go shopping there. We loved going to eat on the eighth floor. My mother is a dietician and she did one of her three internships there in 1941-42 as a student at the University of Toledo. My sister and I took modeling and etiquette classes there when we were in high school (mid 60's). It was a fabulous store! Many fabulous memories!ReplyDelete
And a warm thank you for sharing them!ReplyDelete
"Our flagship store at 503 Adams St. changed to the Macy's name in 1980, after R.H. Macy consolidated Lasalle's into the Macy's Missouri-Kansas Division. All administration, buying and warehousing was moved to Kansas City, and our downtown store closed several of the upper levels, before eventually closing the store completely in 1982."ReplyDelete
That Macy's name can still be seen painted on the building, but I recall seeing the name also at Westgate and NorthTowne to boot!
We are renovating an old house built in late 1800's and when we took up a small portion of the hard wood floor (out of necessity) we found a part of a Lasalle and Koch Company Toledo Ohio box under the hard wood floor. We will be putting it back for someone else to find some day. It was neat to be able to find out some history and approximate age of when the floor was laid down. Thanks for this website.ReplyDelete
My brother and I had a discussion concerning a childhood memory. Back in the fifties there was a train that ran in one of the downtown department stores at Christmas time. My brother thought perhaps it was Lasalle's. Can anyone anwer that question? Thanks.ReplyDelete
I remember that train! It was not Lasalle's, but Lion Store. Quite impressive display every Christmas!Delete
A couple of years ago my son and I were browsing in an old theater thrift sale, we found a large full length women's coat. It's big and heavy.He wanted to wear it for his college friends. Recently my girl friend has been wearing because it's cold in the house. She's all of 5 ft.and the coat covers her completely to her toes.I saw the Laselle and Koch's tag and I was wondering how old it is. I wonder if there is some way I could find out? It's brown and thick. Beautiful fur coat.ReplyDelete
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.ReplyDelete
How I wish I could answer you in Magyar, but, alas! You might like to check the discussion page of Jan Whitaker's History of Department Stores site, which you can visit via the links in the right hand column of this site. Jan, and Michael Lisicky, who contributes, are eminently knowledgeable and gifted authors in their own right. If you are interested in European department stores, Jan's book "The World of Department Stores" is an unrivaled beauty.ReplyDelete
Does anyone know anything about who actually owned/founded the store? I would really, really love to know where the name Lasalle and Koch's came from!ReplyDelete
Well . . .ReplyDelete
My book will be out before the Holidays this year!
As a 33 year old, I'm a bit too young to remember or have gone to places like Lasalle's or Lamson's, but I do remember my mother taking me "back-to-school" shopping at Lion Stores.ReplyDelete
My cousin had lived in the Lasalle Apartments a few years ago, and after reading all about the Lasalle brand, I am shocked that the store was 8 floors. In my boxed-in shopping malls mind, to think of a store with such open spaces and 8 stories(!!!!) is unfathomable.
I've enjoyed reading up, and probably even moreso (no offense Bruce) reading the comments section. Hearing people's memories of days gone by.
I know the Lasalle's at Westgate is now an Elder Beerman, and I was totally unaware that I have been in the building in Bowling Green as it is now a Panera Bread.
Thanks for posting this! I am moving to the Lasalle Apartments in the next few weeks and it is great to find out the history of the building. First, the building is enormous. It's almost unbelievable that a department store would have enough stuff to fill the building! Thank you for this info!ReplyDelete
You can find more in old copies of the Toledo Blade, or, check out my book when it comes out later this year. At around 400,000 s.f., Lasalle's wouldn't be among the largest of department stores, yet it was a giant for Toledo. I can assure you that it was chock-full of many, many things that separtment stores don't even carry any more, and it had numerous restaurants and services within the building, as well.
I was given a beautiful wedding dress and headpiece and veil worn by a woman who was married in 1946. I found the bills for the dress and veil in the box and the bill came from LaSalle and Koch, Toledo, OH. Was there a bridal salon in this dept. store? By the way in 1946 this woman paid $406.85 for the dress and $25.00 for the veil and headpiece. According to a money conversion chart I found on the internet, in 2012 that dress would have cost $5, 044.76. The veil and headpiece today would run $309.99. It must have been a very nice bridal shop!ReplyDelete
I CAME ACROSS THIS WEB SIGHT ,TRYING TO FIND OUT INFO ON A FURNITURE TWAS ON BROOK PARK & RIDGE RD IN EARLY 2002, LA,SALLE ITALIAN FURNITURE STORE. IN PAST TIME,TO AWE MYSELF. ONE DAY I SEEN I FANCY DINING ROOM SUITE A CHINA CABNET ,TABLE ,CHAIRS & TALL LAMPS I CRIED. THE DESIGNS CARVED UPON EACH PIECE WAS DOLPHINS! THE HI BK CHAIRS ALL DOLPHIN SHAPED EACH PIECE WAS AMAZING AMAZING. I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR A LEAD TO THAT STORE HISTORY & ARCHIVES CAUSE IT NEVER LEFT MY MIND. LIGHT BLUE & WHITE TRIMED IN GOLD. I AM SEARCHING WITH HOPE TO PURCHASE ANYONE HAVE ANY LEADS? please_ email@example.comReplyDelete
Since Woodville Mall is closed permanently in Toledo, are their any photos of the Mall in it's early years 1969-1986? LaSalle's at Woodville? I remember going to the Mall in the 1970's.ReplyDelete
My husband's grandfather owned a department store in Toledo Ohio in the late 40's and 50's. The name of the store was Save's Department Store. The owner's were Leon and Lillian Save. I would like to find more information or a photo of the store- for him. He is turning 60 in March and I can't think of a better gift. He said there was a sign out front of the store that read "Save at Save's" Could you please direct me as to where I might find photo's or any information on it? I really appreciate your time and love the site!!! Really amazing! Kellyfeldman@verizon.netReplyDelete
I worked at downtown Lasalles and then was asked to go to Westgate when it opened.ReplyDelete
The Bridal dept was on the 3rd floor, next to the Little Shop, the exclusive dress dept.Every dept was beautiful, the clerks dressed well, and we all felt like a family.
Working at that store was wonderful, and I will never forget the 24 years I was there. The stores we have today are awful in design. If I can, I hope to someday live in the dowtown store.
The Little Shop, third floor, was also the name used by Macy's New York for its highest end women's dresses. Interesting that Lasalles is the only one of the Macy's family of stores to borrow the name. Not Bambergers Newark or Davidsons Atlanta.ReplyDelete
I am researching Christmas ornaments (trying to figure out what year approx. that they were made). anyway the tag says Lasalle & Koch's 20cents, do you know what year the Koch was dropped from the name ??ReplyDelete
The name remained officially The Lasalle & Koch Co. throughout most of the store's existence; In June of 1946, though, the logo for the store in advertising changed from "Lasalle & Koch's" to simply "Lasalle's."ReplyDelete
You also might like to consult the Toledo Blade and News-Bee on Google News archives - look around the Christmas season dates to see what years ornaments were advertised at 20 cents.ReplyDelete
thanks so much for your help... interesting. I will check on advertising as well. This might come together yet. we are doing trees through the ages at the wood county historical society Christmas decorating this year. we have 1910 done and hoping that these will work for 1940. thanks again. then 1960 and present to do yet.ReplyDelete
I just found an antique dining room set (table, chairs, buffet and hutch). On the back it says Lasalle & Koch Toledo Ohio. Does anyone have any idea how old it may be?ReplyDelete
Speaking of Lamson's, I found a green gift box of sorts with their name on it that was discarded in a dumpster of some house in my neighborhood, I scored big that day!ReplyDelete
Does anyone have any information on THE OPTICAL SHOP LA SALLE'S W. E. MERCER O.D. OWNER TEL CH,-38811? (spelling and spacing is typed exactly as it appears on the old eye glasses case I have)ReplyDelete
I've done an extensive search but can not find any information as to the stores date of operation or of W.E. Mercer.
There was never a KMART across from Westgate. I worked at Westgate from when it opened to 1984. I worked downtown from 1960 until Mr. Anderson asked me to go to Westgate; if I did not like it, I could go back downtown.ReplyDelete
I liked it! Dr, Mercer's Optical was on the mezzanine downtown. Lasalle's employees were not like a family, we were a family. It was a wonderful place to work. I still miss it! My mother worked in the Little Shop until she retired due illness. They had a lovely party for her and MR. Yamin, Chairman of the Board, sent a limo for her. We had Lasalle's reunions for many years,
until our numbers dwindled. I met my husband there, and will love that store until I die.
If I could take all my pets, I would live there now!
Thank you, Sharon, for your comments. I would be personally interested in your opinion of my book and its chapters about Lasalle's. If you do read it, you can leave a comment here or at amazon.com.ReplyDelete
It is clear that Lasalle's was a great store, and how lucky Toledo was to have such an institution in its midst. Much of that is due to employees like yourself and your mother that were the store's "human ambassadors" to the public.
for many years in the vestibules of Macy*s Herald Square,there was a large glass frame and within the frame in the center, it proclaimed"Macy*s New York,A division of R.H.Macy & Co., inc".then it had photographs of all the Macy divisions and their branch stores. I worked a Christmas season job at Macy*s White Plains,NY and they had the same exact thing when one crossed the pedestrian bridge from the city-owned and built parking garage and entered the. second floor. Also,the main floor entrance directly below the pedestrian bridge,had one as well. I don't recall any at the Mamaroneck Avenue entrance or the Main Street entrance. The original store was quite small and had been expanded many times. The Main Street entrance had a three story high glass façade similar to the original Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn store. The photographs of Bambergers,Davison*s and Lasalle*s all showed street cars in front of the stores Each photo had the formal name of each division,e.g.:The Lasalle & Koch and The Davison-Paxon Co all followed by "A division of... and listed all of each division's branches, but they had never been updated since probably the late 1940's or early 1950's!!! I wish that I had been around when these items were taken down and more than likely trashed. What a collector's item and very historical. I'll close on a humorous note: I was assigned to dept. 147,directly across from Toys dept 012. Anyway the name of d.147 was "Adult Games" What a different connotation that has today. Also, ept. 042 was simply called "Drugs" later changed to Health and Beauty Aids. Suddenly, I feel VERY old.ReplyDelete
I love this site. How about information on the jewel of an "apparel specialty store" located in NYC at Fifth Avenue and 51st Street, New York, NY 10022. I refer to BEST & CO. which closed in 1970 because its NYC real estate was worth more than its retail operationReplyDelete
. It was purchased in 1966 by the shell McCrory Corporation, part of Meshulam Riklis's financial thievery what a crook and a creep
Those are great memories! Thank you for sharing them. With all of your insight, have you any remembrance of the Dutch Treat Tea Room in the basement of Macy's Herald Square? I am consulting with a design firm that would like to recreate some of its atmosphere at Macy's in the near future? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you do!ReplyDelete
Does anyone have any information on THE OPTICAL SHOP LA SALLE'S W. E. MERCER O.D. OWNER TEL CH,-38811? (spelling and spacing is typed exactly as it appears on the old eye glasses case I have)ReplyDelete
I've done an extensive search but can not find any information as to the stores date of operation or of W.E. Mercer.
His grandaughter and Son-in-law still live in the Toledo area. She said she would give any information she has as well as her father.
TIme spent researching Lasalle's ads in the Toledo Blade (online at Google News Archives) might turn up the information you are looking for.ReplyDelete
My answer was for someone in a previous post in 2010. I know his grand daughter and her father was his son-in-law. If they want any information on Dr. Mercer they would be glad to give the person any information they have.ReplyDelete
I have not yet acquired your book, so the answer may be in the book, but I would like to inquire whether you have a photo of the mural (until it was painted over with simply white paint) above the revolving doors on the Huron Street side of the entrance at the corner of Huron and Adams Streets. Also facing that entrance was what my aunt (who worked there in handbags) called the "long bench" where people would spend time until it was time for their bus or ride or just to take a load off their feet after a tiring day of shopping. The mural showed a deserted, seemingly windswept plain, with a classical female statue and a column--maybe more--on its side. Ah, the absolute loneliness and the passage of time conveyed!ReplyDelete
Thank you for the information - until now I had not heard about that mural. The old store "suffered" some ill-conceived modifications over the years, and based on your report, the loss of the mural was one of them. It's the sort of thing (true artistry) that is out of favor now - my local Nordstrom store has a large painting (in the customer service area) of a Chinese woman in a Chairman Mao type outfit. It could never convey the sense of the mural you describe, only some vague pro-communist message. Can you believe it?ReplyDelete
I bought, at an estate sale, a blown glass ladies hat (pink and white) that was supposed to have been a display item used at Lasalles. Anyone have any memory of this?ReplyDelete
I was born in Toledo and still have my cherry wood chest of drawers from the 50's. All solid wood with 8 drawers. The stiff paper tag still stapled to the back states: Lasalle & Koch Co. with the Toledo address. Also on the back, a price of $129.00 is handwritten. What a bargain! No wonder Lasalle's was my Mom's & Grandma's favorite store.ReplyDelete
I COME ACROSS A BRONZE PLAQUE THAT SAYS LASALLE & KOCH VERY LARGE AND HEAVY ABOUT 65 POUNDS DID IT COME OFF THE BUILDING ?ReplyDelete
I think there were two plaques on the corner pillar near the main entrance at Adams and Huron. They were rectangular, and mounted in what we now might call "landscape" orientation. You can kind-of make them out in the picture above, with the caption which starts "A street level photo..."Delete
Contemporary photos would indicate that they are no longer there so I would think that the plaque is indeed original to the great department store. Have you retained it? You might look into "Toledo's Attic" if you would like to donate it somewhere worthwhile.Delete
Scroll down to the 16th picture (which is actually an old postcard) and you can definitely see the plaques on the corner pillar.
I had pictures of me taken at Lasalle's Department store downtown in 1975 when I was 18. Not long after I received a request to allow them to do an enlarged painting of my picture to use as advertisement and I agreed. A few yrs later my sister and some of her friends said my picture was moved to Westgate and could be seen when they were on the escalators. About 20 yrs ago I received a letter saying they were taking it down and I could purchase it if I wanted for a fraction of the cost to make it. I declined because I thought it was free advertisement for them for about 20 yrs and they could give it to me. Now I regret not buying it but I didn't have the money then. So I was the young woman in the escalator picture.ReplyDelete
A shame you didn't think twice about buying that Connie. They probably chuck that in the trash like so much else.ReplyDelete
My mother was one of "Bernie's girls", working in the Fashion Office at Lasalle's in the 1950's. Bernie Bergman was the women's clothing buyer for Lasalle's, based at Macy's. Bernie would come to Lasalle's ahead of the upcoming season. Right off the trucks from New York's Garment District, Mom (Carol m:Born - Norris) and Bernie selected the fashions that would appear in Lasalle's next fashion show. Mom also chose the garments for the big window displays.ReplyDelete
Today, I was so pleased to tell Mom that her Jacqueline Kennedy style coat from Lasalle's, the name labeled to the right inside panel, has a second life, just purchased from Secondi here in Washington, DC. It was a special find of Bernie's that he set aside just for her. The magenta pile wool coat is in perfect condition. Draping more like a cape, it is full-on Jacqueline Kennedy style, with short sleeves, to be worn with long white gloves, a black mink fur collar and a matching black mink pillbox hat. We also sold my grandmother's suit a few years ago. It was custom made by the Little Shop at Lasalle's", for my grandmother (the late, Margaret Born) to wear at her son's wedding in 1968.
I have fond memories of being fitted for suits in the Boys departments of Lasalle's and the Lion Store. There are still a few gift boxes from Lasalle's at Mom and Dad's house which are sentimentally used at Christmas. It is nice to know that Lasalle's name lives on fashions purchased there, still worn and appreciated today.
Just a thought...one only needs to look at businesses like Lasalle's, employing hundreds just to manage a single eight story location, selling merchandise made here, to recognize how many jobs, many of them unionized, have gradually and permanently disappeared from our society.
You hit the nail on the head with your closing comment.ReplyDelete
The three L's were all interesting but how could you exclude Tiedtke's? A favorite expression among my parents' circle of friends was a challenge or a bet followed by the payoff -- "... and if you win, I'll kiss your a-- in Tiedtke's window."ReplyDelete
Tiedtke's always does seem like a blemish in the sea of Toledo's history. It's the odd one out. I'm sure its story could take up a book all its own.Delete
I started working at the downtown Toledo store during college. My job was a "flyer". I gave 15 min and 30 min breaks to full time sales folk all over the store. What a glorious old gal that store was, too. I was there when the first computerized cash register system went in. When I graduated, I transferred to the Bowling Green store, got promoted to a manager and later promoted over to Westgate. I stayed with Macy's through the merger to Kansas City and then to Atlanta to become a buyer. I was there when the stores were sold to Elder Beerman. I remember walking the executive floor and was horrified at the way it had been treated. Shopping carts and old fixture slammed against the walls and the beautiful paneling marred...it was heartbreaking. The first time I walked into the Downtown Atlanta store, I felt a strange deja vu. I later learned that Captain Koch and Captain Davidson were friends and Davidson's (later becoming Macy's) was a replica of the Dowtown Lasalle's store. I will never forget my days working in these grand old stores - without a doubt some of the best days of my career.Delete
Thank you for your interesting comments on Lasalle's. When I was writing the book, I couldn't find any one who could give input like you just did - it's a shame that I could find so few who remembered the store. I believe that the architects for Lasalle's and Davison's were the same, too. The stores are indeed very similar. In my opinion, Lasalle's is one of the most attractive department stores ever built, and wish that the retail space, especially on the ground floor, could be restored to its original appearance - it's so sad that it is not the center of attention that it was in it's day ("glorious old gal" is a perfect description).Delete
A highlight of the book, for me, was my conversation with Jamie Farr about Lasalle's.
Thank you for your insight!
I am wondering when the name Lasalle & koch was used? I am 62yo and always knew it as "Lasalles" I have a Seal leather train case with the store tag inside the uses the "Koch", I am trying to figure out the age of this item.ReplyDelete
THe Lasalle & Koch Co. name was the store's formal moniker, but it was more familiarly called simply "Lasalle's." Jamie Farr, with whom I have spoken, did say "Lasalle & Koch's" though. In the 50's, the store recognized custom by using "Lasalle's" in advertising, etc. even though the formal name remained the same. By the way, "Koch" was always pronounced like "cook" according to Toledoans.ReplyDelete
Well at least I know how to pronounce "Koch" then! My mom never said the name fully and I've never heard anyone else either besides just calling it "Lasalle's". Of course I barely remember when it was Macy's in the early 80's.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this website. I love local history. One question: how did the relationship with Macy's develop? And a bit of trivia: in the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street," the Macy's president wants to capitalize on the popularity of the Santa character, and he mentions that the company would expand the concept to include their Toledo store. The store in Toledo, of course, was our LaSalle's Department Store.ReplyDelete
Well at least someone managed to get some accuracy into the film that way (as well as a nice shout out to my town). Again, I don't know how that relationship developed though I suppose out of luck even though it was merely a buyout.ReplyDelete
I worked in the Fashion Office at Lasalle's Downtown in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The Fashion Director was Madonna Corrigan. I believe that the Fashion Office was on the third floor, "behind" the elevators. I also recall having access to the Display Department's storage area, which I believe was accessible via a small set of stairs leading down to a huge storage space containing items from previous window displays (i.e., over-sized Easter Eggs, paper mache Christmas elves, trees, flowers, carousel horses, etc., etc. - anything you could think of .... ) - 50 years later, the display storage area still appears in my dreams! I am wondering if anyone has any information on Madonna Corrigan? Meryl Streep's character in 'The Devil Wears Prada' reminds me of Madonna - but I absolutely adored her!ReplyDelete
Madonna Corrigan a Toledo institution, died at the age of 80 in 1997. Here is a link to her obit in The Blade from 1/11/1997. You can copy and paste to your browser, and will need to scroll to the right to get to page 13.
I worked at the downtown store in the early '70s when I was in high school. I stocked the women's shoe departments on floors 1 & 2, and also filled in for 10th floor receiving. My Dad, a city of Toledo fireman, worked in receiving on his days off from the fire house. Lasalle's was a fun place to work with lots of kids my age who ate lunch together on the 11th floor. I then worked delivering furniture out of the warehouse at Lafayette & Huron during college.
I would like to reply to the anonymous commentor of March 15, 2018, but the reply button did not work on your site!
I too worked there in the 70's and have a lot of knowledge of the inner workings of the area mentioned in their post.
I just commented on the 3/15/18 Anonymous post above. The "Reply" button worked for me. Try it again.
I remember, as a young teenager, attending the "Lasalle's Westgate Battle of the Bands" sometime back in the late 60's. The bands were all supplied with VOX branded equipment witch was sold in the retail store. I used to go in that very same store to the musical instrument section and dream of having all that cool stuff. Major bands such as The Beatles, Paul Revere and The Raiders, and The Monkees were all sponsored by VOX. This made a big impression on me and it's a memory I will always cherish.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comment on the battle of the bands. I was in one of them in my old high school band named OSH. It was really cool playing through all the Vox amps. I was the lead guitarist and was using a Super Beatle. Really exciting. We played Cream and Hendrix tunes. The winning band would receive a free Super Beatle amp, which back in the late 60’s was $1000.00. Of course, we didn’t win (guess the world wasn’t ready for OSH yet), but it sure was fun. Loved visiting their Vox display on the second floor. It was like visiting the Tiedtkes toy department when I was a kid.Delete
I recently purchased a small ceramic figurine of an Asian man from an antique store in Pennsylvania. The figurine is stamped “China” but on the inside there is an old, yellowing sticker that reads “Lasalle & Koch’s”. I came across your sight while doing research. I think the figurine is more valuable as memorabilia from an American age long past than as an example of Chinese ceramic arts. I was going to place it in my donation box but after finding out the connection to a piece of American history, I plan to keep it in my collection. Thank you for providing such an informative site.ReplyDelete
I loved reading about the history of Lasalle's. I worked there part-time in the fifties putting myself through DeVilbiss and UT. A bonus was the employees got a 20% discount. Although I was an "extra", I always worked in the Infants Dept., where the regulars wore White uniforms and advised customers on purchases for their babies. I have to laugh now when thinking about how I as,a teenager, gave advice to new mothers on the things they would need for their babies!ReplyDelete
I have a 2-color menu from The French Room at Lasalle & Koch's dated Wednesday, May 26, 1943. (Prime Rib 88 cents!) The most expensive thing on the menu is 95 cents - and that included rolls and a drink. I hate to toss it, but probably will unless someone would like to have it. It's in good shape for something 76 years old.ReplyDelete
Please contact Arjun at Toledo's Attic - I am sure he would take it.Delete
Associate Professor/Digital Initiatives Librarian
Carlson Library Mail Stop #509
University of Toledo
Toledo, Ohio 43606-3390
419.530.4497 (Canaday Center)
If not, I will - contact email@example.comDelete
Think it says all about amercians. Piece of history, not interested, think I'll toss it....Delete
I would love to have this myself, though I suppose BAK already beaten me.ReplyDelete
Hello Chris - I just don't want it to get thrown out. If it comes to me I'll pass it on . . .Delete
My grandfather, Edward T Held, worked at LaSalle & Koch in the 1930s+. It's my understanding that the dining room was one of the first to use white table cloths and hire African American waiters. Also, I've heard that the dining room "introduced" cafeteria-style dining, where customers could walk up to the counter and order their food. Does any of this ring true?ReplyDelete
I have very fond memories of the grand LaSalle's in downtown Toledo as my mother, Bernice "Bunny" Johnston worked for several decades managing the fine jewelry department on the main floor of the store. I grew up as a young boy wandering the departments, fascinated with store decor and holiday decorations (where Christmas really meant Christmas), the elevators and their attendants announcing each floor, wooden escalators, and totally remember the kindness of the employees and the whole magnitude of the place. When I've watch the PBS series of Mr. Selfridge and Are You Being Served, they aways take me back to LaSalle memories, of my mother almost always returning from work with several black LaSalle bags holding fascinating items, future Christmas gifts, clothing, tissue paper, boxes, et al. The store employees became something of a family when my father died during my early youth and we attended many Toledo/Perrysburg/Maumee dinners and events, still memorable after all these years because of the hilarious evenings with classy, creative friends. I know these memories stayed dear to her until she passed in FL in 2008 at age 94. My mother was a kind, insightful person and instilled in me the values of anti-racism and loving your work which I hold dear today. They say you "can't go back" to your past which I suppose is true, but I remember dearly the grand department store and all the people connected with it. This store was essentially a community within a community; I'm so glad it hasn't been forgotten. It's been a long time but I should return to Toledo sometime and see what has changed. -- Christophe Johnston Portland, OR firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete
My Grandma Alice was part of the Koch family.ReplyDelete
I remember a Children's Shoe Dept. at either Lamson's or Lasalle's decorated in a circus theme I believe. There was a gazebo that the shoe clerk would have you walk up and down in to discern if the shoes fit properly. I loved when my Mom would take me to that shoe departmentReplyDelete
Wondering if anyone else remembers this