Herpolsheimer Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan




The new, ultramodern Herpolsheimer store casued a stir
when it was announced after World War II.  The store
was to replace their older 10-story building on Monroe Avenue,
which was purchased and reopened by Wurzburg's in 1951.


The building, as constructed, reflected postwar optimism,
and if anything, made more of an impression than the architect's
renderings which forecast it, prior to its opening in 1949.

The dramatically-illuminated store, with its 3-story glass vestibule
entrance, was one of the most modern and attractive in the United
States.  A large American Flag was often hung on display.

Herpolsheimer Co. (1870)
1 Monroe
Grand Rapids, Michigan

GL 9-5119


DOWNTOWN STORE DIRECTORY (348,000 sq. ft.)

Basement
Fashion Basement

Louis Street Level
Toys • Sporting Goods • Paints • Garden Shop • Appliances • Electronics Center The Kent Room Restaurant • Records

Street Floor
Monroe Fine Jewelry • Jewelry • Leather Goods • Gloves • Accessories • Hat Bar • Cosmetics • Men's Furnishings • Men's Sportswear • Men's Clothing • Men's Shoes • The Sir Shop
Division World of Shoes • Forecast Sportswear • Hosiery
Motorstairs Esquire Smoke Shop • Candy • Blouses • Sweaters • Boys' Wear • Boys' Furnishings
Fulton Street Linens • Fabrics • Art Needlework • Notions • Stationery • Books • Optical Shop • Luncheonette

Second Floor
Monroe Lingerie • Corsetiere Shop • Housecoats • Sleepwear • Robes • Jr. Sportswear • Junior Dresses • Junior Coats • Seventeen Shop • Pin Money Dresses • Daytime Dresses • World of Dresses • Moderate Dresses • Suburban Shop
Division One Shop • Coats • Suits • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon
Motorstairs Blouses • Millinery • Wigs
Fulton Street The Kent Room Restaurant • Beauty Salon
Louis Street Sportswear • Shoe Salon • Infants' Wear • Infants' Furniture • Heaven to Seven Shop • Toddlers' Wear • Girls' Wear • Miss Kent Shop • Teen Shop • Photo Reflex Studio

Third Floor
Monroe Luggage • Furniture • Sleep Center
Division Draperies • Carpeting
Motorstairs
Fulton Street Lamps
Louis Street Gift Shop • Pictures and Mirrors • Housewares Center • China • Silver • Glassware • White-Elna Sewing Center



BRANCH STORES

Hardy Herpolsheimer Co.
Western Avenue
Muskegon, Michigan
















21 comments:

  1. Fun fact: After Herpolsheimer's closed, this building was remodeled into a mall in attempt to revive downtown shopping. After that failed, it was turned into a mall that targeted infants and young children. It's now a police station.

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  2. Was this the department store featured in the movie "The Polar Express"?

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  3. I remember the ride in the basement. It was on a track attached to the ceiling and you would sit in a little car and ride around the basement overlooking it. That's when I was a little guy of course.

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  4. Over the past year 2010–2011, the suspended monorail train which debuted in 1949 as "Santa Express" is being restored. It will one day be installed in the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Van Andel Center.

    http://www.grmuseum.org/collections/stories/train

    Great work BAK! How far back are you writing about these Grand Rapids Department Stores? There's some great photo resources I can point you in their direction.

    James Winslow (Powers Behind Grand Rapids)

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  5. I found a very old beautiful little dish belonging to my great aunt. On the bottom it reads, "Decorated Expressley for Herpolsheimer Co. It has a number on it as 11. I am trying to read the artist. Something like Hodis or Hoelie. Do you have any idea of the who the artist could be.
    Thank you. Kathy

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  6. I remember when I was little, and this was then the City Center mall, my grandma took me there and I rode the train! :-)

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  7. What an GREAT piece of post war modern architecture.

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  8. I loved this store when I was little. I remember I called it "Purplescheimers" because of the purple train. My favorite memories are of the fountain that shot up at different heights, the glass elevator, the food court, the cool train on the ceiling, and this really cool store called The Great Divide. Half of the store was U of M and the other half was MSU. Even the carpet was different on each side!

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  9. I worked at Herpolsheimers from 1963 to 1969. Starting pay was $1.25 an hour. I started in the Photo Studio, but eventually worked in most of the departments. It was a wonderful place to work.

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  10. Im seeking information and photos of the Wurzburgs store in downtown Grand Rapids. My grandmother was personnel director there early in the 60's

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  11. Herpolshiemer's also had it's first and only suburban store in the Southland Mall in Wyoming, MI purchased from Wurzburg's and opened in 1974 (see Wurzburg's Southland)

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  12. One holiday season I worked in the toy department of Herpolsheimers. what a joy filled time caring for the dolls in the Toy Department~!!!

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  13. Have come across a (Grand Rapids)Herpolsheimer's mink cape (black). It is in excellent condition... Just wondering how to get information about the item and maybe what it could be worth.

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  14. My mother bought her fine hosiery here and I can't remember the brand . . . do you know what it was? Or what brands they carried? It's been driving me crazy and my sisters can't remember either!

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  15. I don't know a lot about ladies' hosiery, but some brands sold by department stores at the time included Belle Sharmeer, Hanes, Berkshire, Christian Dior, and Triumph.

    BAK

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  16. Can you name some of the stores and restaurants that were in the old City Center Mall?

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  17. An old Hardy Hepolsheimer fur coat came into our thrift shop, I am wondering about value of the coat. Do you know anything about this, or do you have any references that I could maybe contact regarding the coat? Thanks!

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  18. Any pics of the Wyoming store??

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  19. The Wyoming store was acquired from Wurzburg's - and a picture can be found on that page. I am currently in early planning stages for a book about Grand Rapids department stores, which should come out in 2014 or 2015, and I am sure that will tell the whole story in detail.
    Bruce

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  20. While the train was pretty cool, my favorite memories are the huge blueberry muffins, they were the best I've ever eaten and the Christmas window displays. I remember so many walks along the outside of the building to look at those moving displays. I wish I could give those memories to my children and grandchildren. Those were such marvelous times.

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