M. O'Neill Co., Akron, Ohio

The M. O'Neil Co. (1877/1927)
226 S. Main St.
Akron, Ohio

Full exhibit coming in due course.

A. Polsky Co., Akron, Ohio

A. Polsky Co.
225 S. Main Street
Akron, Ohio

Full exhibit coming in due course.

The McAlpin Co., Cincinnati, Ohio

Unusually, an illustration of the store on the occasion
of McAlpin's 75th Anniversary in 1928 showed both
buildings as identical in design and height.
Photo of the West 4th Street store, showing McAlpin's
two adjacent buildings, and the store's famous clock.
Advertising image of McAlpin's.
Where Fashion is Foremost
The McAlpin Co. (McAlpin's)
13 W. 4th Street
Cincinnati, Ohio (est. 1852)

DUnbar 1-4400

Lower Level
Housewares • Small Electrics • Paints  Trim-the-Home Shop • Sporting Goods  Toys

Main Floor
Jewelry • Fine Jewelry • Cosmetics • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Gloves • Rainwear • Hosiery • Scuffs ‘n Socks • Neckwear  Accessories • Blouse Bar • Popular Sportswear • Popular Lingerie • Popular Foundations • Casual Dresses • Cameras • Stationery • Candy • Bakery Counter • Health & Beauty Aids • The Kopper Kettle
Gentleman's Corner Men’s Furnishings • Men’s Shoes • Men’s Clothing • Young Men’s Shop

Second Floor
Infants’ Wear • Nursery Furniture  Tots 'n Toddlers’ Shop • Girls’ Wear • Boys’ Wear • Children’s Shoes • Children’s Accessories • Tweenteen Shop • Maternity Shop • Uniforms • Fashion Fabrics • Necchi Sewing Center  Art Needlework • Linens • Bath Shop

Third Floor
Sportswear • Dresses • After Five Shop  Half-Size Dresses • Large-Size Sportswear • Coat Salon • Fur Salon • Contemporary Sportswear • Better Dresses • Better Sportswear • Designer Dresses • Designer Sportswear • Sophisticate Shop • Young Juniors • Junior Sportswear • Junior Dresses • Loungewear • Body fashions  Lingerie • Millinery • Wig Boutique  Beauty Salon

Fourth Floor
Rugs • Furniture • Draperies • Bedding

Fifth Floor
The Tea Room • Gentlemen’s Grill • Prime Rib • China • Silverware • Glassware • Gifts • Lamps • Pictures • Mirrors • Luggage • TVs/Stereo • Radios • Appliances

Sixth Floor
Offices • Personnel • Credit Office
(250,000 s.f.)

Central Avenue
(Acquired William T. Knott Company)
July 2, 1951
Western Hills
November 17, 1954
102,000 sq. ft.
The Kopper Kettle

Kenwood Plaza
September 20, 1956
240,000 sq. ft.
The Kopper Kettle

Cherry Grove Plaza
Sepember 24, 1959
126,000 s.f.
The Kopper Kettle

Middletown Plaza
November 5, 1959
80,000 s.f.

Harrodsburg Rd., Lexington KY
August 9, 1967
168,000 sq. ft.
The Kopper Kettle

Lexington Mall
Richmond Rd., Lexington KY
October 14, 1971
The Kopper Kettle

Northgate Mall
June 4, 1972
175,000 sq. ft.
The Kopper Kettle

Towne Mall
Rte. 122 & Dixie Hwy.
February 16, 1975 
The Kopper Kettle
Kenwood Home Furnishings Store
Kenwood Plaza
September 9, 1976
Crestview Mall
I-275 at Dixie Hwy., Crestview Hills, KY
August 1, 1979

The Kopper Kettle

McAlpin's, one of Cincinnati's favorite department stores, was officially founded in 1852, when Cincinnati native George Washington McAlpin (1827-1890) became a partner in the Wholesale firm of John W. Ellis & Co, and the firm changed its name to Ellis, McAlpin & Co. McAlpin, one of three sons of Glasgow native Andrew McAlpin, attended Woodward High School and Cincinnati College before embarking on a business career in 1842 at the wholesale house of John Taylor in the Queen City.

In 1880, the company moved to a 5-story building at 13-17 West 4th Street, formerly occupied by the John Shillito Company.
13-17 West 4th Street
George W. McAlpin lived at a capacious mansion at 318 Lafayette Avenue known as Oak Hall. In addition to directing his own firm, he was a member of Cincinnati city council for 15 years, and a director of the First National Bank in his home town. McAlpin died on April 20, 1890. He had been in Old Point Comfort, Virginia, visiting his daughter, where he contracted a cold. After his return to CIncinnati he died suddenly at his home.

George McAlpin's younger brother WIlliam took over the company and in two years, converted it into a combined wholesale and retail firm. McAlpin's prospered under the Yale-educated William, who was for 16 years head of the Cincinnati YMCA and also served on the board of the University of Cincinnati. In 1887, he married Mattie Woodruff, a noted opera singer. From that time the couple was very active in the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

WIlliam McAlpin died in 1899, and the store continued in popularity, expanding westard in 1901 into the adjacent six-story Morgan building. McAlpin's is one of few department stores to occupy the same buildings from its inception as a retail store throughout its whole life. 1901 saw the installation of McAlpin's famous clock on 4th Street.
McAlpin's Clock
McAlpin's became associated with the New York wholesale firm of H. B. Claflin & Co., and when that firm failed, the Cincinnati concern was thrown into receivership, ultimately emerging as a subsidiary of New York-based Mercantile Stores Corp. Under Mercantile leadership, it prospered, and the store was rebuilt in its 75th anniversary year of 1928. By the time of a further remodel in 1934, the company had 500 employees.
McAlpin's remodeled entrance in 1928
Escalators were first installed in the building in 1948, and McAlpin's celebrated its centenary in 1952. For a few years in the 1950s, Mercantile's other Cincinnati store, The Fair, was consolidated with McAlpin's familiar 4th Street store. The store was known as McAlpin's 6th Street, but closed in 1956. At the time of the consolidation in 1951, McAlpin's operated a small store in Paris, Kentucky, and acquired the Knott Store of Middletown, Ohio as a branch operation.

A pioneer in suburban branch development, McAlpin's opened stores in suburban shopping plazas, which were so popular that they were expanded multiple times. In 1967, the store entered the Lexington, Kentucky market and added a second store there four years later.
McAlpin's first suburban branch: Western Hills in 1954
A beloved member of Cincinnati's "big four" department stores, McAlpin's prospered downtown on fourth street for many years. Known as the most value-oriented of the stores, it nonetheless offered familiar service and served a broad clientele who particularly appreciated McAlpin's food services, ranging from the popular "Kopper Kettle" on the main floor to the more elegant Tea Room upstairs. Frequent remodeling, and a modern 1960s storefront helped the building masque its age and remain up-to-date.

Downtown Cincinnati appeared to have a bright future, but by 1980, retailers began to lose the battle in the face of suburban competition and retail consolidation. Across-the-street competitor Pogue's was merged into Indiana's L.S. Ayres & Co., thus loosing its own identity, and closing by 1988. Deterioration of the retail district began to set in with the takeover of Mabley & Carew in 1978 by Dayton's Elder-Beerman. That store closed a few years after, in 1985, leaving only Shillito's as a competitor up on Race Street.

By 1992, McAlpin's had moved its executive offices to its suburban Kenwood location. It was announced that the downtown store had become unprofitable. When the city of Cincinnati subsidized Shillito's (by then named Lazarus) move to smaller quarters on Fountain Square, McAlpin's made it public that it would close the venerable 4th Street store if it could not be accommodated in the same development.

Lazarus prevailed at Fountain Square West, and McAlpin's left downtown in February of 1996. By this time the store had opened large suburban branches at Eastgate (1991, causing the closure of the 1959 Cherry Grove store) and at Tri-County in 1993.

The McAlpin name disappeared from the Cincinnati landscape with the purchase of Mercantile stores by Dillard's in 1998. McAlpin's had served the Queen City for 146 years.

Mabley & Carew, Cincinnati, Ohio

The 12-story 1962 Mabley & Carew store
on Fountain Square.  Previously, the store
occupied space in the Carew Tower
from 1930 to 1962, and on
Fountain Square from 1884-1930. 

"A Good Store"

Mabley & Carew (1877/1962)
Fifth and Vine Streets
Cincinnati, Ohio

CHerry 1-7400

Lower Level
Hostess Center • Gourmet Shop • Ohio State Liquor Shop  Downstairs Budget Store

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Costume Jewelry • Handbags • Gloves • Small Leather Goods • Fashion Accessory Shop • Scarves • Hat Bar  Umbrellas • Hosiery • Blouses • Sweaters • Thriftmode Sportswear • Cosmetics • Notions • Stationery • Candy • Men's Furnishings  Men's Sportswear

Young Men's Shop • Boys' Shop  Little Boys' Wear • Books

Second Floor
Men's Clothing • Madison Shop • Men's Shoes  Men's Hats  Thriftmode Shoes • Luggage
Our Jr. World Junior Sportswear • Junior Dresses • Junior Lingerie • Junior Coats • Junior Shoes

Third Floor
Boulevard Shop • Hamilton Shops • Town and Country Shop • Mrs. Mabley Shop • Sportswear • Coat Salon • Suit Salon • Pacesetter • Town Shop • Connoisseur Corner  Designer Shop  Bridal Salon • Fur Salon • Shoe Salon

Fourth Floor
Thriftmode Dresses • Thriftmode Coats • "Hide-Out" • Casual Corner • Women's Dresses • Women's Sportswear • Women's Shoes • Children's Shoes • Millinery • Wig Salon  Portrait Studio

Fifth Floor
Lingerie • Fashion Foundations • Sleepwear • Loungewear
Children's World Infants' Wear • Infants' Furniture • Toddlers' Wear • Girls' Wear • Little Girls' Wear • Girls' Accessories • Teen Shop  Toys

Sixth Floor
China • Silverware • Glassware • Gift Shop • Lamps • Picture Gallery • Beauty Salon • Fountain Room Restaurant

Seventh Floor
Domestics • Linens • Bath Shop • Curtains and Draperies • Carpets • Rugs • TV Center • Stereos and Radios • Records
Golden Thimble Shop Fashion Fabrics • Art Needlework • Necchi Sewing Machines

Eighth Floor
Housewares • Small Appliances • Garden Center • Hardware • Appliances • Vacuum Cleaners • Unfinished Furniture • Paint and Wallpaper • Occasional Furniture • Upholstered Furniture • Dining Room Furniture • Bed Room Furniture  Casual Furniture  Summer Furniture • Sleep Shop

Ninth Floor
Credit Office • Cash Office • Executive Offices • Advertising • Community Room • Sporting Goods • Camera Shop

Tenth Floor
Display Workrooms

Eleventh Floor
Employee Dining Room • Nurse's Office

Twelfth Floor
Supply Room • Print Shop (341,000 s.f.)

Western Hills Plaza
Glenway Avenue and Werk Road
September 15, 1955
41,000 s.f.
Swifton Center
US 25 Reading at Langdon Farm Road
(acquired Rollmann's)
November 20, 1960
(150,000 s.f.)
The Garden Room
Malt Bar
High Street and Journal Square

March 2, 1964
1101 Central Ave. at Broad St.
March 2, 1964
Beechmont Mall
7500 Beechmont Avenue
October 6, 1969
(117,000 s.f.)
Strawberry Shortcake Shop

Christopher R. Mabley, born in Cornwall in 1836 was the son of a tailor who came to Toronto, Canada with his family, who established themselves in the clothing capital there. Mabley eventually made his way to Detroit, via London, Ontario, Milwaukee, Pontiac, Michigan, and established a clothing store in the Motor City in 1870. His one-price store expanded to become one of Detroit's leading dry goods stores, Mabley & Co.  Joseph T. Carew, twelve years' Mabley's junior, was born in Peterborough, Ontario and made his way to Detroit at age 21 and proved his worth as Christopher Mabley's employee.

Christopher Mabley &
Joseph Carew (L to R)

Mabley considered opening a store in the south, and in 1877, headed to Memphis with Carew to look for a location for the new venture. However, circumstances caused a missed connection in Cincinnati, where the men were forced to stay overnight. During their stay in the Queen City, they decided to explore the city, and found a seventeen-foot wide storefront on the north side of Fountain Square (next to Lodge Alley) that seemed ideal for the venture they sought to found. 

Mabley & Carew around 1888

Mabley put Carew in charge of the C.R. Mabley Co. of Cincinnati; with Carew's success in managing the store, Mabley took him into partnership and the store was renamed Mabley & Carew, a name Carew kept in place after Mabley's death in 1885. The store, originally a men's clothing store, added a full line of clothing by 1890, and carried crockery and household goods in its basement, as it grew to occupy six whole storefronts on the square.

Mabley & Carew's building from 1891

An 1888 purchase of the building at the corner of Fountain Square led to the 1891 rebuilding of the whole store into a handsome, six-story edifice that was traditionally beautifully illuminated at night. The store was incorporated on February 10, 1893 under sole owner J. T. Carew.

Joseph T. Carew passed away on December 11, 1914, and left the store in the capable hands of his (also Peterborough-born) associate Bolton Armstrong. After celebrating its 50th anniversary in Cincinnati in 1927, Armstrong reorganized the company in 1929, after which all of its stock was held by selected employees.

The "podium" of the Carew Tower complex
housing Mabley & Carew

The big news of 1929 was that Mabley & Carew would vacate its Fountain Square premises for five floors and a basement in the new Carew Tower being built kitty-corner from the store. Once known as Cincinnati's "Mammoth Clothing House," Mabley & Carew settled into its luxurious new quarters in the landmark art-deco skyscraper, adjacent to the elegant Netherland Plaza Hotel., and across the building's arcade from the expanded quarters of the H. & S. Pogue Co.

Mabley & Carew in the Carew Tower
In 1961, Allied Stores, who owned Cincinnati's 2-store Rollman & Sons department store chain, bought Mabley & Carew and closed Rollman's. Mabley's, which by then had opened its first branch in the Western Hills Plaza, took Rollman's large full-line Swifton Center store, and embarked on a plan to completely renovate the tall Rollman building and annex into a new, full-line headquarters for Mabley & Carew. 

Mabley & Carew's new home, with a continuous nine-foot wide marquee sheltering shoppers on Fifth and Vine Streets, and a new sheathing composed of light-blue aggregate panels trimmed in white marble, opened on November 19, 1962. For the first time, Mabley & Carew shed its image as a large clothing store and became a full-line department store with a full range of merchandise and services housed in its elegant new quarters. The sixth-floor plaza restaurant was considered one of Cincinnati's finest places to enjoy lunch, or dinner on the nights the store was open late.

In spite of all of this effort, Mabley & Carew, who acquired stores in Hamilton and Middletown in 1964, and later built a modern Branch in Beechmont Mall, never rose beyond its position as the fourth of Cincinnati's department stores. By 1978, Allied was ready to exit the Cincinnati Market and sold the chain to the Elder-Beerman stores of neighboring Dayton, Ohio. Elder-Beerman operated in Cincinnati until it, too closed the downtown store in the mid-1980s and pulled out of the market. Mabley's just remained as a memory to many Cincinnati shoppers.

Personal Shopper: Norma Fay