E. W. Edwards & Son, Syracuse

E.W. Edwards & Son (Edwards) (1889)
208 South Salina Street
Syracuse, NY 14604

GRanite 4-4411


Sporting Goods • Luggage • Downstairs Budget Store

Street Floor
Toiletries • Accessories • Jewelry • Clocks • Better Jewelry • Fine Jewelry • Hosiery • Accessory Bar • Handbags • Gloves • Small Leather Goods • Neckwear • Cotton Bar • Street Floor Sportswear • Wiggery • Women’s Shoes • Candy • Bake Shop • Stationery • Cameras • Tobacco Shop • Records • Linens and Bedding
Store for Men Men’s Sportswear • Men’s Clothing • Men’s Furnishings • Store for Boys and Young Men • Toiletries for Men • Smoke Shop

Annex Building South Warren Street
Appliances • TV and Stereo • Toys • Summer Furntiure Shop

Chinaware • Gift Shop • Silverware • Bridal Registry • Lamps • Pictures and Mirrors • Art Goods • Beauty Salon • Photograph Studio • Christmas Decoration Center

Second Floor
Tea Room • Cherry Valley Room • Shoe Salon • Millinery • House and Town Shop • Dress Circle • Globe-trotter Shop for Knits • Vanderbilt Square Dress Shop • Bridal Salon • Highlander Shop • Lady Edwards Shop • Sportswear • East Room • Coats & Suits • Fur Salon • Young Flair Shop for Juniors • Kool Korner for Juniors • Teen Shop • Children’s Wear • Children’s Shoes • Sewing Machines

Third Floor
Furniture • Trent Room • Books • Trousseau Shop

Fourth Floor
Housewares • Wallpaper and Paint • Fabric Center

Fifth Floor
Rugs • Floor Coverings

Sixth Floor
Curtains and Draperies • Bedding • Fabric Center • Yarns


Rochester (1905/1911)
Main at St. Paul Streets
298,000 sq. ft.

Buffalo (1925)
Genesee Street

Buffalo (1949)
Langfield Plaza
2863 Bailey Road

Lackawanna (1951)
L.B. Smith Plaza
1234 Abbot Road

Greece (1960)
Ridgemont Plaza
63,000 sq. ft.

Pittsford (1961)
Pittsford Plaza
62,000 sq. ft.

Camillus Plaza (1965)
100,000 sq. ft.

Shoppingtown (1968)
120,000 sq. ft.


  1. EW Edwards began in Syracuse, but also had expanded rapidly to Rochester and Buffalo too in the early 1900s. There was an Edwards on Genesee St. in Buffalo, as well as at the Abbott Rd Plaza as late as the 1950s in Buffalo. Rochester had a major downtown Edwards store, as well as a mid-sized one level branch at the Ridgemont Plaza in Greece, and a two level full size store at the Pittsford Plaza in Pittsford. The Downtown Rochester store closed in 1972. The Ridgemont and Pittsford stores were sold to Gorin Stores of Boston, and continued to operate as Edwards until the early 1980's. Briefly, both stores tried operating under the Almy's banner before finally closing around 1984. (Russ Grasso rrgrasso@aol.com)

  2. WOW! You have some rare pictures and renderings that I haven't ever seen before, especially regarding the Edwards stores in Syracuse. I will look through my Edwards materials and see what would be appropriate to share about their Rochester stores. I might even have a postcard of the Genesee Street Store in Buffalo... I will be in contact... (Russ Grasso rrgrasso @aol.com)

  3. I have a painting that looks like a beautiful scene of a church. My grandma said her Dad got it from some people for doing some work for them back in the 1920's. On the back of the painting is a tag that reads "Edwards" over that Syracuse and under it Rochester. Does anyone know about these paintings? If so, please email me ay jhunnicutt13212@aim.com

  4. LOL, love camillus plaza pic.

    I remember catching the bus to downtown syracuse in the front under those columns, that is when the driver would actually stop and not force me to run across the parking lot to the next stop!

    Later this building was used my JC Penney.

    1. I remember that too. The bus driver often would not stop there and you had to race over to where Poor Richards was to catch it.

  5. Downtown stores gave so much pleasure to their customers. The Santa's toyshop/North Pole on the top floor of Edwards, was simply magical, as were the downtown Christmas display windows with all the intricate animation and costuming.

    Having grown up with downtown Syracuse in its finest time, (before the horrific move of the public library from the Carnegie building to the hideous downtown mall), it was a world of wonder and people and food, and when it ended, my life was forever lessened. (Perhaps I should have moved abroad).

    And let us not forget Loew's theatre. My God! what a beautiful place.

    All these years later, and having grown up in a Syracuse suburb, fully utilizing the amazing bus service, I still don't understand why Edwards or any of the downtown stores closed, as no one I knew favored the malls compared to the wonder of downtown.

    Forays to Edwards, which were frequent, represent an admittedly skewed, but nonetheless incredibly positive memory compared to so much else.

    1. I had to double check and see your profile name to be sure I hadn't written this comment. We must have known each other. Westvale? Regardless, when you write that the Santa's toyshop/North Pole was magical, I doubt those who didn't experience it truly understand that it was, "magical." How can the loss of the downtown we knew have affected us so strongly for the rest of our lives. The order and rationale? The architecture? Everything? including the restrooms-lounges.

  6. Thank you for such well-put comments. They mirror my own, and since I like to travel abroad, it is sad to see that even small European towns have an active downtown district full of shopping and entertainment venues.

    More and more, I am thinking that stores like Edward's, which prospered for so long, only met their demise as our society declined to a point where they were unsupportable.

    At least we have those memories . . . and from your words, yours are very vivid indeed!


    1. Few living in my area of Syracuse abandoned downtown in favor of the malls, so I really do not understand the demise.

  7. Like Thinking Fish, I grew up riding the bus into downtown Syracuse for shopping, movies, medical appointments, you name it. We were living green half a century before it was cool!
    As to why stores like Edwards died, I can remember kids whose moms preferred driving out to the new suburban shopping centers as they appeared. It was actually considered a fun day out. I left the area before downtown's decline, but the same process happened everywhere.

  8. I found Wooden Nickels with the EDWARDS Dept.Lexington MA. any connection

  9. I worked at the Camillus Plasa store and went to school next door at West Genesee Jr/Sr High School. My manager was Sam Molinari (sic), co-workers in the China, Silver and Lamps were Charlotte Brown and Linda (sorry I don't remember her last name). They all taught me alot about how china was made, the history of crystal and started me out with the best work ethic that became my base for the future. I still remember how to fill out the receipt book and use the cash register. 1966-1967

    1. Sam is a good friend of our family Insaw him last month in Camillus. He’s doing very well.

  10. I have a Edwards Mink Coat i was wondering how old it was #B G757116

  11. I loved Edwards in Syracuse. I clearly remember the original store which has the monorail which ran the perimeter along the ceiling of the toy department during Christmas season. Every boomer who grew up in Syracuse remembers this. I vividly remember EW Edwards new downtown store near Clinton Square but it did not last long. Built in the mid-1970's, it was closed by the early 1980's. The building remains. Edwards store in suburban DeWitt still stands in Shoppingtown Mall. It is now a JC Penny store. About ten years ago they removed the huge acrylic light sculpture which hung over the escalators and a Syracuse tradition faded into history.

  12. I have a side table bought in Sept 1929 @ Edwards for 299. How can I find a catalog of that time period?

  13. I purchased a fur jacket from a vintage store about 15 years ago, the style is approx. 1940's but I'm unable to tell what kind of fur it is. It’s an amazing swing style with high color in long two-toned fur and matching cuffs; the rest is a very tight fur in a dark grey brown. Its got big buttons with appear to be covered in embroidery and ¾ length sleeve. On the label its says Edwards Syracuse - Rochester. The name Fannie Marks is hand embroidered in pale blue on the lining. I love the jacket and have enjoyed wearing it over the years and look forward to handing it down to my daughter. I've always wondered about the history of it and your website has given me a few visuals to go on, I can now picture a young women buying it in the 40's and her being at the forefront of fashion at the time. If anyone knows or has any info I'd appreciate it.

  14. I have a old Porclean Table and 6 matching chairs. We were trying to figure out how old is. My dad ( who is 87 ) remembers doing his home work at it. Under neat the table it says Edwards on it. Dad remembers his Mom buying it when he was real young. Any help on trying to figure out how old is would be welcome. I can be email at cbeachner@gmail.com.

  15. Does anyone have any pictures of the train that used to run every christmas at the Edwards building in downtown rochester? We owned the train and I have only been able to find one picture of it. Any help would be greatly appreciated, as would any pictures of the Rochester Store. Thank you

  16. I remember the train! and so does my cousin but no one else does! It was in the basement, and it was dark, I was just a little bitty girl. I would love to see pics of the train.

  17. Memories come back more & more about Edwards.
    We would go twice during Christmas, just to ride the train and then go down to Dey Brother's basement to eat in their restaurant. That was our special treat at Christmas.

  18. I believe the Syracuse Post Standard archives has photographs of the Edwards train. It was wonderful and ran the perimeter of the ceiling of the toy department.

  19. What year did the Syracuse store close?

    1. Downtown closed in 1971 or 72 I think. They were not in the new building very long before they shut down.

  20. Edwards closed in 1978 or 1979.

  21. Does anyone remember the spice cake with fruit in it that they served in the Tea Room? Does anyone happen to have the recipe?

  22. I remember this store in downtown Syracuse so well. My grandmother worked in the coat dept in the basement and she always bought us candy at Easter from the candy shop. Also I remember the great Christmas window displays. So sad that all the fine stores in Syracuse have disappeared.

  23. Bak,

    First, this is a beautiful site !

    You wrote (quite accurately !) : "stores like Edwards, which prospered for so long, only met their demise as our society declined to a point where they were unsupportable."

    The Recession (with a capital "R") of 1973-75 was a fatal time for such old-time, family-owned department stores. There was rampant stagflation, and the derangement of the whole economic structure by the doubling-tripling of oil prices...

    But the REAL nail-in-the-coffin, to the customer-base, may have been this : right about that time, most U.S. corporations stopped passing on their still-increasing profit gains to their employees - for the first time in over 150 years. Hence the tragic, skyrocketing of credit card use and the new need for mega-stores full of cheap, foreign products - because whole classes of people suddenly had less 'discretionary income' than they did a few short years before that...

    Not to mention that more members of the household were suddenly forced to work longer, more stressful hours for less purchasing power...Hence the destabilization of the family unit, and the decline of what is now called Family Values, or pushing that fabled "stability" out of the reach of more and more people.

    Anyhow, re: E. W. Edwards, here are some dates :

    The downtown Syracuse store closed on February 4, 1974 - only 14 months after moving, with great fanfare, into a brand-new building (now the Atrium), one block north of its earlier location, on November 15, 1972. It had none of the charm or "feel" of the old store, and, sadly and amazingly, there was no attempt to replace the Toyland Rocket with anything equivalent, or better...What is so striking to me is how little time it took for the nostalgia to set in. Within weeks, on December 3, 1972, there was a front page editorial on how shopping there just "isn't what it used to be."

    The old "main" store building was on South Salina Street. In spite of its "International"-style facade, it dated back to the 1840s when it began life as the Globe Hotel. One block to the west, on South Clinton Street, was the old "annex" - which housed the legendary Toyland and its fabled ceiling train, the Toyland Rocket. The two buildings were connected by a tunnel beneath Clinton Street.
    You'd tkae the tunnel "west," and it would emerge into Toyland where, when you looked, up, you'd spot the Rocket itself and the rails it ran along, affixed to that old tin ceiling.

    The Rocket was installed in 1953, and it ran from mid-November through Christmas Eve. I believe that 1968 was its last year of operation. (I have found newspaper references to it in every year, from 1953 to '68, but NOT in '69.) The Rocket would circle Toyland, AND (talk about magic !) it cut through a portion of the Toyland warehouse...

    Both buildings were demolished in February 1973. The site of the old "main" store is a parking lot; the old "annex" site is now occupied mostly by law offices.

    By early 1974, the "magic" had been on the wane for a few years. But when the old Edwards disappeared, the downtown Christmas season was never the same again....Yet another sign that my childhood - and much of what was good about it - was over.

    Thanks again for a beautiful site - and yes, we have our Memories - and hopefully the Values that give them such "punch" !

    Mark E. Farrington,
    East Syracuse, NY

    1. Well, there was real style and class in all this. Less polyurethane and greater attention to aesthetics and - dare I say it - fun.

  24. Hello, Mark!

    Thanks for the insightful commentary. I agree with your statements, as our experience in Detroit paralleled yours in Western New York. In regards to the 1973-75 period, it was when my father lost his job of 31 years with a family-owned firm which was sold to the Federal-Mogul corporation. He lost his pension, and our family entered a period of collective depression: "How could this happen!" At the same time, our lovely Detroit neighborhood began its decline which ultimately left it looking like "urban prairie." Again, "How could this happen?"
    Today, we are reaping all of the "benefits" of this "Brave New World" and I for one prefer to remember the past as it was, hence my efforts on this site.

    Thanks again for your (correct) insights. If you wish, you may contact me regarding Syracuse and your memories, at bakgraphics@comcast.net. I should think a book about Syracuse's downtown would be a great idea!


  25. Allo, Monsieur Bak !

    I will contact you privately. Menawhile, I will add a little to my first "Edwards" posting.

    The guiding genius to E. W. Edwards, from 1945 to '68, was E. Winston Rodormer. He had a knack for clients, customers, and seasonal feeling that has gone unmatched ever since. (He also retired at just the right time.) Every Saturday, Mr. Rodormer of Edwards, Mr. Chappell of Chappell's, and Mr. Witherill of Witherill's (both nearby "competitors") got together at the University Club to play gin rummy...Halcyon days !...

    During which, E.W. Edwards was the "destination of choice" during the Christmas shopping season - not only for its Toyland Rocket, but for its warm, genuine "agents" for Santa Claus.

    Edward McCarthy, who had served in the Syracuse Fire Department (in charge of Stations 5 & 19, if I am not mistaken), from 1910 to 1942. In his retirement he was the Edwards Santa, from 1948 through 1960. In October 1961, at the age of 81, he died suddenly. I never met him, because my family only moved to Central New York in the summer of '62 (when I was 2 years old).

    "My" Santa was a circus clown named Joe Meyers, who was from nearby Auburn, NY. He was FANTASTIC with kids, and he "real article." I remember sitting on his lap, trying to describe a LP I wanted - not by telling him the title or the performing artist, but by what the label looked like (!). How patient he was with each & every one of us...Even in the midst of a teeming deparmtent store at Christmas time, and even at the age of 2-5 eyars old, you got an inkling that Christmas was about more than just "stuff."

    As I've written elsewhere, may we be be THAT to today's children !

    Mark E. Farrington
    East Syracuse, NY

    (P.S. Could you correct the typo in my first posting? That is, "take" the tunnel, not "tkae" the tunnel...Thanks !)

    1. Mr Farrington,
      Thank you for your post and kind comments about Edward’s, I am the oldest grandson of EW or Pops as we affectionately called him. Still to this day remember my 1st time with Pops going to store. It was grand and cared so much for all who worked “with him” not for him as I was corrected as very young boy. Should this email find you my email is Rodormerw@aol.com.
      Thanks again!
      George Ward Rodormer

    2. Mr Rodormer... my Grandmother was a Housekeeper from 1955 to 1969 in the Syracuse store. She had great pride in her work, in the company, and thought the world of your Grandfather, who treated her with great respect. I remember meeting him, and seeing him smile as I, as my Father had instructed me, stuck my hand out to shake his after I was introduced. Those were wonderful days. Did you get to keep the Rocket? Ha Ha! Best wishes to you.

    3. Mr Rodormer... my Grandmother was a Housekeeper from 1955 to 1969 in the Syracuse store. She had great pride in her work, in the company, and thought the world of your Grandfather, who treated her with great respect. I remember meeting him, and seeing him smile as I, as my Father had instructed me, stuck my hand out to shake his after I was introduced. Those were wonderful days. Did you get to keep the Rocket? Ha Ha! Best wishes to you.

    4. Mr Rodormer... my Grandmother was a Housekeeper from 1955 to 1969 in the Syracuse store. She had great pride in her work, in the company, and thought the world of your Grandfather, who treated her with great respect. I remember meeting him, and seeing him smile as I, as my Father had instructed me, stuck my hand out to shake his after I was introduced. Those were wonderful days. Did you get to keep the Rocket? Ha Ha! Best wishes to you.

  26. Great information from Mark. Even the University Club is gone. It is a bank now, I believe. I loved Edwards. I did not realize it closed so quickly after opening the new downtown building. (Do you remember when we used to make reference to "down city"?) I posted the information above stating it lasted longer than it actually did. I have lost track of time, I suppose. I would urge that Chapppell's be added the list of great Syracuse department stores. It, too, tried to expand and did so in maybe half a dozen locations including Shoppingtown in DeWitt, Cortland and even Watertown, I believe. In any event, it was the last of the Syracuse department stores still standing until it was bought out by Bon Ton. I hated to see it go.

  27. I would like to add a postscript to my post directly above (the one that mentions the University Club). I also remember Wells and Coverly. It was a men's store and when I think back on the incredible quality of their merchandise, it boggles my mind. They, too, expanded a bit into the Syracuse suburbs and even had a store in Middletown, NY in a large mall. I think there was one in Albany as well, but the downtown Syracuse store was their flagship. Not a department store, but probably the finest quality men's store I have ever patronized. I miss it. My name is Jim. This site is wonderful.

  28. We were just taking about the wonderful train a few days ago. Does anyone know if the actual train was saved?

  29. This site brings back memories. Like the train at Edwards and the store windows AT Christmas. Both my parents worked downtown at some of the late stores. My mother worked for Len Sorkin (?) Shoes, Addis and for many years for Bond's Clothing. My father worked for Lincoln Department Store, Grants, Witherills and Interstate Wholesale on Water Street. Remember the Busy Bee? In the current Post Standard block.
    I attended Central Tech and spent a lot of time downtown. Another landmark.
    I remember a lot of restaurants downtown. Rocking Chair Buttery, Brass Rail, a Chinese Place in the Chimes Building and Jacks Dinner. Jacks Dinner also had another name. Waldorf Cafeteria. I remember all the Fanny Farmer Candy Stores especially at Easter. What ever became of Fanny Farmer?
    I have worked near Downtown my entire life. I find myself spending less and less time downtown. Nothing of much interest left to me.

  30. I remember the Lowes Theater. Must have been in the late 40's that my grandmother took me to a double feature: So Dear to my Heart and Bambi. And the most exciting thing was there was a fawn in the lobby that went around eating cigarette butts from the ashtrays.

  31. My father took me to E. W. Edwards in the early to mid 1950's... He bought his cigars at the Smoke Shop there. The Smoke Shop was run by a nice lady, June, who smoked pipes.

  32. Any chance you might have the recipe for the fantastic Mac and Cheese from the Tea Room?
    Hutiii@cox.net if you do! tks in advance!

  33. Does anyone have just a photo of the Globe Hotel before it was added on to. .
    My great uncles Moran and Morat Bayette (cigar mfgrs) had an office across the street and also a room at the Hotel.

  34. Anyone remember getting a Tim pie from Wells&Coverly? You registered your name/birthday with
    them, and every year on your birthday you'd get your free pie. My favorite was cherry.

  35. Wasn't the Wells and Covertly program called the Little Shavers Club? My brotherschedule were members.

  36. My memories of Edwards Dept. store go back to before I was born (sort of). My mother sold War Bonds during WWII from a teller's position at the department store. (She later enlisted in the Womens' Air Corps. Her maiden name was Rosalie Kurgan). Her guardian was Marcella J. (Crossmon) Coon, who was Treasurer of Edwards under the Rodormer ownership. A brilliant woman, who would be about 130 yrs. old right now. I believe she was known to the Rodormer's via her family relationship to the Crossmons' that built the original resort (the Crossmon) in Alexandria Bay. I still have some trinkets from 'The Crossmon'. I can remember having lunch with her in the Cherry Valley Room. (Also nearly next door, we'd have dinner in Child's Restaurant on occasion). Then a ride home on the Syracuse&Oswego Bus line to North Syracuse on their old, ugly Flxible Buses. We'd get off at the Coconut Shell bar in North Syracuse. My mother's married name was Rosalie Stahl; she met my father in the Air Force during her stay in California during the war.

    By the way, it wasn't a 'train' that ran through Edwards store, it more properly was called the 'monorail'. I got a private ride on that contraption almost every year for about 10 years.

    If anyone feels a need to share information, contact me at "b3minimoog@hotmail.com". Best Regards, Bruce Stahl

  37. Does anyone remember that at one time Edwards had a rental library? I almost think it was on the second floor. When I was a young working girl, I would often rent a book for pennies a day or perhaps a nickel. Usually our home library was closed by the time I arrived home. But having to take 2 Syracuse transit buses to and from Minoa, I enjoyed reading to pass the time. This was back in the 50's. Young people today would be horrified if they had to take a bus today.

  38. Hello,
    Im writing to you today because my Father Richard Essel had worked in your Syracuse, NY store for many years before they closed. He has over 15 of the Christmas window animated displays. He passed away August 15, 2016 of pancreas cancer. We are holding a Auction of his things Nov 20 and Nov 21 and wanted to know they are here being auctioned off. We have Mickey mouse, Porkey pig, Tinkerbell, Rouldolf, and many more. You could purchase on line at www.brzosteck.com. Many Great memories as a child with them in the house. Like Christmas everyday for us. Thank you for the memories!

  39. Hello,
    Im writing to you today because my Father Richard Essel had worked in your Syracuse, NY store for many years before they closed. He has over 15 of the big Christmas window animated displays. He passed away August 15, 2016 of pancreas cancer. We are holding a Auction of his things Nov 20 and Nov 21 and wanted you to know they are here being auctioned off, we unfortunatly cant keep them. We have Mickey mouse, Porkey pig, Tinkerbell, Rouldolf, and many more. You could purchase on line at www.brzosteck.com. to have them in the museum where everyone could enjoy them again.Many Great memories as a child with them in the house. Like Christmas everyday for us. Thank you for the memories!

  40. I would love to share my photos of the animated window displays. You would enjoy them

    1. If you send them to bakgraphics@comcast.net I could add to the exhibit.

  41. I know this posting is very late but to the anonymous person inquiring about the Edwards dept store in Lexington MA, yes, there was one on Mass Ave. I think it was in the Stop and Shop plaza or next door (in what is now Walgreens). Im in the town over and when I was a youngster, my Mom and I would ride the bus from Bedford to Edwards to shop since she didn't drive. It was a fun place..half gift shop/half dept store. I had no idea there were other "Edwards".. I too still have some wooden nickles from there! Thanks for the memories :)

  42. Thank you for your detailed memory because it proved to me that this was the first store I made a significant and meaningful purchase from. My CCM 10 speed bike from money I saved during a summer job with the downtown public library. This was during 1974 -1975 period.

  43. I found an amazing collection of small compacts in two colors. I also found boxes of pristinely wrapped blush refills that fit the compacts.
    One compact reads 'TRUSKIN' another reads 'MH' and the others are blank.
    One of the blusher refill boxes reads 'E.W Edwards & son.
    I would love to send detailed photos as I would love to know more about these if anyone knows. I have been researching for months and have found no more info.

  44. I have a set of metal drawers, 3 wide, 6 deep, not necessarily file drawers, but more like organizer, with Edwards, Syracuse, New York on it. Is or would this be associated?

  45. I have a punchbowl with grapevine design and base from E,W, Edwards & Son. It is in the original box, marked: "China" and with invoice attached. The stamped receipt number is still clearly visible but any handwritten notes are no longer legible. A code on the bottom of the box reads "DEC 690," which I take to mean it is from December 1969; this would fit with the time period when the set first entered the home. Any information about potential value or who would be interested in having it?

  46. I just found a very old law-a-way receipt I think from the syracuse store in my Attic

  47. Just reframed a hand print I purchased at a Rochester garage sale 35 years ago and on the back is a 5/8" diameter green dot on the back that says The Edward Store in the middle and Syracuse on top and Rochester on the bottom, I googled it and that is hoe I found you cool site. If I was able I would post the picture of the dot.

    1. Hello and thank you for the compliment. You could e mail it to (my first initial and last name [lowerecase]) (at) (comcast) (dot) (net). (It's not a good idea to post email addresses here)
      - Bruce Kopytek

  48. I have a small hand held bank with 1204 stamped on it. Lost the key. Is it worth anything?


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