Macy's California, San Francisco, California

Anne Evers Hitz has followed up on her excellent book
on The Emporium with this new one - that chronicles
the history of San Francisco's other stores.

Macy's predecessor in San Francisco was the well-
established store of O'Connor, Moffatt & Co., that
announced in 1927 that it would build a new, eight-
story edifice at  O'Farrell and Stockton streets.

The beautiful store was clad in cream-colored terra-cotta
that incorporated Neo-Gothic details, especially at the top
of its facades.  The new O'Connor, Moffatt &  Co.
store opened to the public in March of 1929.

Immediately after finalizing the purchase of the O'Connor, Moffatt & Co.
business - Macy's announced an expansion program that would double
the size of its new store by expanding along O'Farrell Street to the east.
The new addition, opened in September of 1949,
matched the façades of the older store, except at
the parapet, where the florid Gothic detail was not
replicated.  A polished-granite first floor united
both new and old parts of the store.

Concurrent with the acquisition of the older store, Macy's purchased
the six-story Brickell Building on Geary Street facing Union Square.
A corridor gave Macy's access to Union Square until the whole
buillding was refurbished in 1955, when Macy's customers could
enter the store through Blum's confectionery.

In 1967, Macy's acquired the Union Square
premises of the bankrupt Dohrmann's home
furnishings store and used it to extend the
Macy store and give it further presence on
Union Square. The new front incorported
a clock tower worked into the façade design.

Eventually the Brickell Building received a new storefront
that matched the 1968 addition on Union Square.

The floor elevation of the 1968 addition did not
align with the store's O'Farrell Street building,
so a series of escalators at the street floor
connected down to the main floor and up to the
second floor of the older portion of the store.

On the interior, the 1949 remodeling kept the square fluted columns
that were a feature of the 1929 O'Connor, Moffatt & Co. store, but
a drop ceiling and "modern" lighting obscured the elaborate gothic
tracery of the older store's street-floor ceiling.

R. H. Macy & Co. (Macys) (1866/1929/48)
170 O’Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA

SUtter 1-1800

The Cellar

Gourmet Foods • Gourmet Gifts • Candies • Fine Wines • Fine Liquors • Bakery • Mama's Italian Restaurant • Plant Shop • Books • Housewares • Cookware • Gourmet Cookware • Festive Pleasures • Tabletop Housewares • Small Electrics

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Costume Jewelry • Real Jewelry • Fashion Accessories • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Gloves • Hosiery • Hat Bar • Toiletries • Fragrances • Cosmetics • Street Floor Lingerie • Street Floor Blouses • Sweaters • Street Floor Sportswear • Young Miss Macy • Notions • Stationery • Adult Games • Calculators/Electronics • Cameras • "San Francisco Center" • Lunch Counter • O'Farrell Street Gallery
Macys Men's Store Men's Furnishings • Men's Nightwear • Men's Robes • Dress Shirts • Men's Ties • Men's Gifts • Men's Toiletries • Shaver Center • Men's Sportswear • Sport Shirts • Tiger Shop • Designer Menwsear

Second Floor
Bras and Bodyshapers • Lingerie •Sleepwear • Robes • Leisure Clothes • Maternity Shop • Uniforms • Hat Bar • Shoe Salon • Casual Shoes • Misses' Dresses • Daytime Dresses • Misses' Coats • Misses' Suits • Optometrist
Macys Men's Store Men's Clothing • Men's Outerwear • Men's Shoes • Men's Hats

Third Floor
Better Sportswear • Better Blouses • Better Dresses • Evening Dresses • Women's World • Better Coats • All-Weather Coats • Better Suits • Fur Salon • Millinery Salon • Young Collector • Miss Macy Shop • Clubhouse • Town and Country Shop • Little Shop • Bridal Salon • Beauty Salon
Junior World Junior Dresses • Junior Sportswear • Junior Coats • Hi-Set Shop • Junior Accessories

Fourth Floor
Girls' Shop • Girls' Accessories • Imprints • Girls' lingerie • Jr. High Gallery • Boys' Shop • Toddlers' Shop • Infants' Shop • Cherub Corner • Children's Furniture •Young Peoples' Shoes • Toys • Hobbies • Adult Games • Sporting Goods • Ski Shop • Patio Furniture

Fifth Floor
China • Rosenthal China Gallery • Silver • Silver Gifts • Buccellati Collection • Glassware • Crystal •'Harry's Bar' • Gifts • Import Gift Boutique • Decorative Gifts • Linens • Bedding • Domestics • Sheets •Blankets • Bedspreads • Pillows • Bath Shop • Yarns • Fashion Fabrics • Sewing Machines

Sixth Floor
Broadloom • Rugs • Lamps • Pictures-Mirrors • Draperies • Decorative Pillows • Curtains • Entertainment Center • Luggage • Studio 6 • Hardware • Garden Supplies • Auto Center

Seventh Floor
Furniture • Sleep Shop • Chair Shop • The Corner Shop
(678,000 s.f.)

San Rafael
Fourth & Court Streets 
November 1, 1952
95,000 sq. ft.
Richmond (1952)
Macdonald Avenue
November 1, 1952
El Camino Real at Hillsdale Blvd., San Mateo
November 19, 1954
219,000 s.f.
Garden Dining Room - Cloud Room Cocktail Lounge
Coffee Shop - Green Room
Valley Fair
Stevens Creek Road, San Jose
August 10, 1956
236,000 s.f.
Bay Fair
East 14th St. at Hesperian Blvd., San Leandro
August 8, 1957
210,000 s.f.
Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto
October 12, 1961
200,000 s.f.
November 4,1963
350,000 s.f.
Lyons Restaurant - Coffee Shop
Lyons Den Cocktail Lounge
Sherwood Manor
August 5, 1965
167,000 s.f.
Sunvalley Center
August 17, 1967
200,000 s.f.
Del Monte Center
September 14, 1967
160,000 s.f.
Serramonte Center
Daly City
October 3, 1968
225,000 s.f.
San Jose
October 3, 1971
188,000 s.f.
Hilltop Mall
August 25, 1976
198,000 s.f.
Oakridge (1978)
San Jose
166,000 s.f.
Reno (1978)
169,000 s.f.
Sunnyvale (1979)
178,000 s.f.
NewPark Mall (1980)
188,000 s.f.


  1. The San Francisco Macy's was originally O'Connor, Moffat & Company, which Macy's bought in 1945 and renamed it Macy's two years later. The Stockton store opened in 1965, Concord and Monterey in 1967, Birdcage Walk (Citrus Heights) in 1979, Stoneridge Mall (Pleasanton) in 1980, Santa Rosa Plaza and Modesto in 1981, Fresno in 1983, and Fairfield and Corte Madera in 1985.

    Also, the Northgate store in San Rafael was actually The Emporium. Are you adding "The Big E" soon? The mall in Concord is spelled "Sunvalley" and in Newark "NewPark".

    I hope you add more Macy's California picture soon.

  2. I remember Mama's cafe in the cellar in 1976. When I visited SF last fall, I went back to the cellar and it looks like it's still there, but as Frontera Fresco Cafe. Can anyone verify if this was the same spot as Mama's?

    1. Macys has undergone a massive architectural change since 1976. Mama's was next to the original basement escalators on the O'Farrell Street side. The current food court is in a new building that faces Geary Street. Mama's was a great family-owned restaurant. I believe they are still on Washington Square (Stockton Street side).

  3. When did Macy's Union Square in SF absorb the I Magnin buildings and become part of Federated Inc.? When did Macy's become just a cog in the corporate behemoth?

  4. R.H. Macy & Co. acquired the Union Square I. Magnin (and the others) when they bought the Southern California Bulllock's, Bullocks Wilshire and I. Magnin stores from Campeau after they took over Federated in early 1988. The R.H. Macy & Co. (including Bullock's and I. Magnin) was then acquired by Federated Department Stores in December 1994 after bankruptcies and reorganizations.

  5. Worked at I Magnin 1983 until 1987 and was the best job ever. I helped in many departments as needed. I wanted cosmetics and a few months later a position open. It was like playing dress up with makeup. I use to get a kick out of making up only half of the clients face. That way the could see the difference immediately, where as if I did the entire face the results wouldn't be as noticeable,
    Carol Seres was store manage and a good one.I really miss the store, co-workers and clients.
    I miss working their, getting fragrance samples and having pleasant ride from Carmel to Monterey area. It is on my bucket list and and I won't give up trying to get to S.F.. I was in S.F. maybe 10 times. 9 for seminaries once with my mother who lived in Alabama ( now resides in Heaven ). Thank you for reminding me how beautiful it is there!!

  6. It is really incredible what the bull artist from Canada wrought upon the American retail scene. Wall Street lined up to throw billion$ his way, taken in by his line of baloney. Where is he now? in a padded room somewhere but probably dead. Leslie Wexner was no angel either in that department. I was amazed that Ed Finklestein purchased the Federated divisions that he did. Macys Union Square was giving Magnins a run for the money and many of the Bullocks stores had not been renovated since they opened. The Bullocks in Torrance,CA at the Del Amo center was a total wreck and Macys did a fantastic renovation. The Century City and Beverly Center Bullocks were too,too small. horrible. Remember when Bullocks created its Bullocks Northern California Division? what a disaster. I realize that Finklestein and Co. looked on it as real estate but because of their LBO and the creation of its Aeropostale,Fantasies and Charter Club specialty stores, the debt was unsustainable. I remember being in Macys Herald Square in January 1992 and there was so little merchandise. It was only a day or two later that they went into chapter 11. Today, Macys is morphing an apparel specialty store. The Herald Square flagship is like a flea market with its plethora of leased departments, and there are Starbucks everywhere. It looks as if they copied everything directly from Selfridges in London. One needs sunglasses to navigate the main floor. I first visted Macys San Francisco in 1980 and was not impressed at all. However, two years later, after the expansion through the purchase of the Liberty House store on Stockton Street, I was very impressed. It had a broad range of merchandise and it was really great. My grandfather purchased stock in Macys after having installed the Otis elevators in the new Bambergers flagship in New Jersey which Macys acquired in 1929. It was a great company. I realized that they had to phase out many product lines in which they were no longer able to compete, but I don't like it now compared to when I was growing up in the 1960's.

  7. I have a silver plate awarded to my great aunt in 1946 for 25 years of service at OConnor Moffatt & Co

    1. Have you got any pictures from your Dear Aunty regarding O'Connor Mofatt & Co ?

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  9. The Macy's in DT Sacramento had a Mark Morris Tire Center in the basement parking lot.

  10. I worked at Macy's Union Square from 1973 until 1996. There were around 3,000 employees and it was like a small town. Macy's employed their own carpenters, painters,laborers,elevator mechanics and even a nurse. They had their own print shop and an excellent display department who created displays in their shop on the 9th floor (roof) The employee cafeteria was located on the 8th floor with windows overlooking Union Square. At one time it was Mama's who cooked for us employees. During the Christmas season the furniture department on the 7th floor gave way to Bayberry Row, a whole Christmas town with many separate shops. Robert Appleby was the store manager I remember most, he was a good person. All of the trades were union members belonging to different locals. I worked in payroll and then merchandise handling and belonged to Local 1100. In 1984 we were on strike for 6 weeks. Macy's California had an executive training program for kids right out of college and many came and went through that store. Many great memories of the job and the people.


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