E. W. Edwards & Son, Syracuse




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

GRanite 4-4411


DOWNTOWN STORE DIRECTORY

Downstairs
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

Mezzanine
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

BRANCH STORES

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)
DeWitt
120,000 sq. ft.

30 comments:

  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)

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  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)

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  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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!

    BAK

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  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.

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

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  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

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

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  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.

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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  19. What year did the Syracuse store close?

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  20. Edwards closed in 1978 or 1979.

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  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?

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  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.

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  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

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  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!

    Bruce

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  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 !)

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  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.

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  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.

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

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  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.
    I LOVE SYRACUSE !!!!

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  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.

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