This is the end...my only friend, the end

On the way home today I stopped to watch a dinosaur die. Not, you understand, that any time travel was involved. The dinosaur in question is the Carson, Pirie, Scott store on State Street in Chicago. I wasn't drawn in by the 70% off signs or the proclaimations that "everything must (indeed) go"...instead it was the architecture that was the attraction. The building was designed by Louis Sullivan and, on the outside at least, is beautiful. Inside the search for architectural integrity is more "Where's Waldo?" in nature. Find the marble water fountain...or the art deco air vent...the wooden panelling surrounding the entrance way. Look for the beauty encased in trash.
The reason that the store went out of business is obvious...there are only so many people who will buy Guess handbags or polyester suits...and walking through the departments was like a trip to the 80's. But even so, no matter how bad the merchandise, it is sad that the building will no longer be a department store. Condominums are in it's future.

As more and more department stores meet their maker the question arises, are they the retail dinosaur? In London, you can visit Selfridges and realize that department stores can work...and work well...but will they only work in London or Paris or New York?

 
 
 
 

Post a Comment 4 comments:

  • michelle said...
    10:02 PM
    I was in Chicago to visit family for the holidays, and it was sad to walk through the desperate sale signs in Carson's. When I was in high school and college, it was just about the fanciest department store in the world to me (well, besides Field's but they bit the dust too). R.I.P.
  • ma vie en rose said...
    10:35 PM
    As a fellow Chicagoan, I'm mourning with you. Of course the store itself won't be missed, at least not how it has been...but it's an architectural travesty. RIP Field's and Carson's!
  • 5:58 PM
    Unfortunately I've only been able to admire this building through pictures...I wish I had a chance to see it in person before all this. Sadly, the condo craze is sweeping Downtown LA as well. It's always sad to see beautiful art deco architecture gutted in a seemingly heartless manner.
  • sophia said...
    12:21 AM
    I know this is a really old post but I was browsing through the archives and saw this. They did not knock down the building but are renovating and the upper floors are part of my college (SAIC) and the lover floors are offices I think that they are going to redo the lower floors and reopen I hear talks of a highscale grocery store.

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