The Lion Store, Toledo, Ohio



Read about The Lion Store in the
new book by Bruce Allen Kopytek


The Lion Store's physical plant, shown here from
the corner of Adams and St. Clair Sts., consisted
of a number of connected buildings on Summit,
Adams, and St. Clair Streets.


The oldest portion of The Lion Store was known
as the "annex" and fronted on Summit Street.

Around the corner, On Adams St.,
The Lion Store's eastern-most
component was a three-story
structure.


Just to the west along Adams St. was a
lower, older structure which turned the
corner around to St. Clair St.

The fa├žade of the corner building was the same on both
streets.



Continuing north on St. Clair St. was this
3-story portion, similar in design to
the one around the corner on Adams St.



The next section of the store was a two
story storefront without an entrance.


A more modern two-story section next
to the previous one also had no entrance.




The final component of the store on St.
Clair St. was a 5-story commercial
structure of four bays.




In later years, the whole ensemble was
painted white in order to unify the various
buildings into one, but the cobbled-
together nature of the store remained.


The Lion Dry Goods Co. (The Lion Store) (1857)
St. Clair, Adams and Summit Streets
Toledo, Ohio



Lower Floor
China • Silverware • Gifts • Housewares • Small Appliances • Clocks • Toys
The Lion Thrift Basement

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Jewelry • Watch Repair • Hosiery • Slipper Bar • Wig Bar • Hat Bar • Neckwear • Accessories • Umbrellas • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Gloves • Popular Sportswear • Budget Lingerie • Cosmetics • Notions • Drugs • Stationery • Books • Records • Candy • Gourmet Shop • Trim the Tree Shop • The Copper Kettle Restuarant • Men's Furnishings • Men's Dress Shirts • Men's Sport Shirts • Men's Sportswear • Men's Clothing • Young Men's 11th Hour Shop • Rivets Shop • Men's Shoes • Men's Hats
Street Floor Annex B • Linens • Bath Shop
Street Floor Annex C Luggage • Art Needlework • Art Goods • Sewing Machines • Fashion Fabrics
Summit Street Annex Appliance Center

Second Floor
Dresses • Sportswear • Formal Shop • Suits • Fashion Coats • Women's World • Better Dresses • Designer Dresses • "77 " Shop • Sophisticate Shop • Ottawa Room • Fur Salon • Millinery • Bridal Shop • "Tempo" Shop • Junior Dresses • Junior Sportswear • Junior Fashion Coats • Young Juniors • Women's Shoes
Children's World Infants' Shop • Kindergarten • Infants' Furniture • Jr. Girls' Shop • Girls' Shop • Jr. Teens' Shop • Boys' Shop • Jr. Boys' Shop • Children's Shoes • Beauty Salon
Second Floor Mezzanine Casual Dresses • Casual Sportswear • Popular Dresses

Third Floor
Draperies • Floor Coverings • Mirrors • Pictures • Lamps • Furniture



Bowling Green
145 N. Main Street
May, 1944

Fremont
217-219 South Front Street
November, 1950

Westgate
Central at Secor
August, 1957
100,000 s.f.


Southwyck
August, 1972
Reynolds at Ryan Roads

North Towne
August, 1980
Alexis Road at 1-75

Coming in Due Course


27 comments:

  1. I went a couple of times to the Lion Store in Fremont, but it was closed by 1970. I went more often to the store in Westgate. It was near my great-aunt's home there, and she would take us there as a real treat. I remember it well as it was my first escalator ride. It was still there when my daughter was a toddler and I took her to see TV favorites Patches and Pockets. Lion turned it into a home store when they took over an empty building (Lamsons?) at the Franklin Park Mall in the 1980s. The Westgate building remained open after Dillard's bought the chain and it closed in the late 1990s. Westgate was torn down in the 2000s, but rebuilt and has a Costco and some smaller stores. The Southwyck store was closed and demolished also in the 2000s. Northtown closed in the 1990s, although the building is there no stores are open.

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  2. They took over Lamson's space at Southwyck, not Franklin Park. That space was Jacobson's. Bowling Green was gone by the 70s.

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  3. My Grandfather was AJ Pete, career-long employee [ahhhh for those days again!] and later President of the Lion Store from about 1934-1959 [?] He believed in the expansion of Toledo to the west/northwest after WW2 and committed Lion to anchor the new development at Westgate.

    Quite a man. I wish often that I had the opportunity to have known him more deeply!

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  4. there was a location in downtown toledo that featured 2 lions at the enterance of the store.There was a picture of my mom sitting on one of those lions to keep the contractor from removing them.that had to be back in the late 60's

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  5. The original flagpole from the downtown location flew over the gold lions (above post). When the store closed, that flagpole was turned into our family lamppost.

    Marvin Yaffe was the men's clothing buyer and met our mother, Zandra while she was working in the shoe department.

    That flag/ lamppost adorned our driveway till it rusted in half, 20 years after our parents had passed away.

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  6. Actually, Franklin Park Mall (now Westfield) built a fourth "wing" in the early 90's and the Lion Store was its anchor department store. Dillard's now is in the space. Jacobson's was demolished in the early 2000's and replaced with a movie theater, food court and Dick's Sporting Goods.

    My grandmother used to take me by bus to the Downtown Lion Store in the 70's. I remember she always bought a bottle of lavender bubble bath that I think was made with the Lion Store name on it.

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  7. Sharon Gunn Troutman15 September, 2012 13:34

    My Grandmother, Bertha Gunn, worked as a saleslady at Lion downtown in the Better Dresses Department! She always corrected people who mentioned she worked in dresses that no it was "better dresses"! My brother and I would take the bus from The Colony area to visit my Grandma. She would take us to lunch at the Woolworth lunch counter and we thought that was so cool! I remember walking over the grates in the sidewalks and being concerned about falling in!

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  8. I remember getting up early and walking to the great Southwyck Mall, to go to work for the Lion furniture department. I had 27 years in this department of selling great lines of furniture and bedding. Most often being the top salesman and being rewarded by mention from top management of the store. Unfortunately today where the Lion store once stood is nothing but a open field with weeds knee high, and no one seems to care of the area anymore.

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    Replies
    1. My dad sold carpet at lion store for years Larry brooks is his name

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  9. One of the great joys of going to the Lion Store with my mother in the 1920’s & 1930’s was seeing and sometimes sitting astride the life-sized stone lions that stood on the sidewalk outside the entrance. As mentioned in a memory shown above that is dated 11 Nov 2011, there were two of them. Whether they were carved out of solid stone or molded out of some kind of concrete-like substance, I don’t know, but they were brown and beautifully polished and always exciting to see.

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  10. One of the funny traditions in our family at Christmas is who is going to get the one Lion's box we still have.

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  11. Wasn't there a Lions at Westgate shopping center in the 60's?

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  12. Yes, please look more closely at the exhibit.

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  13. My grand mother, Ida Fox, was the Lion Store Notions buyer downtown (1940s-early 60s). I worked a a stock boy downtown in 1964 and 1965.

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  14. My grandmother worked at The Lion Store for 20+ years. I can't remember which location, but I remember visiting all of them as a child. She actually retired from a department store (unheard of today). I'm sad to hear that Southwyck was torn down. I remember that "old town" section of the mall and getting scared to death at a Halloween House. I also remember North Point being a "newer" and "nicer" mall. So weird to remember after 30+ years!

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  15. My best friend's mom worked at the Westgate location in the 1960's. She took Linda and I to work with her a few times. I remember thinking how big the store was. We always had such a good time.Thank you Mrs. M. Frost for the beautiful memories. And the privilege of knowing you and your family.
    Debbie G.

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  16. Worked for Lion Westgate 1967-77. Not only a great place to work, but their appreciation for their employees could not be matched. Have had many jobs since, but the warmest memories are of all the customers and fellow employees I met during my years at Lion. Wish it were possible to Christmas shop their one last time. Joani F

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  17. I loved the Lion Store. I never got the chance to visit the downtown store though. My bedroom furniture was purchased from the Southwyck Home Store in 2002 when I bought my house. I loved the free giftwrapping they would give you with a VIP charge account if you charged at least $1,500 a year on their store credit card.

    What I really miss are the moonlight madness sales. Great deals and it was fun being able to go to the mall and seeing all the other stores also open late. I also miss the hours of the lion store. I think their regular hours were better than Dillard's holiday hours are. I remember the Lion Store use to be open until 10 every weeknight.

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  18. For some time in the early '60s every Saturday saw a live radio broadcast from Lion Westgate, usually with Larry O'Brien of WTOD. Lion provided two (younger) female employees for the show to promote the latest in fashion for young women. What ever happened to Nancy Chambers and Diane Pasch?

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  19. I worked for Lion Store at Westgate from 1980-88. I met and worked with a lot of great people through those years. I have a lot of fond memories working for Lion Store. I remember shopping the downtown Lion Store with my mother. She past away 20 years ago. I still remember the sites and sounds of the downtown store and having lunch on the second floor.

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  20. Hey just found a pot or kettle that say the lion store toledo Ohio was really just wondering what it was used for is there any pictures of such things

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  21. Found a pot or kettle with the lion Store Toledo Ohio was wondering what it was used for is there any pictures available to view and see

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  22. My mother, Mary Pennington, worked at the downtown store in ladies alterations! I visited her often and loved visiting the other employees at the store. My brother Marty Pennington and sister in law Peg worked there also. When Northtowne opened, my mom worked there and also subed at Southwyck and Westgate when they needed her too. I also worked inventory at the Northtowne store many times while growing up. Loved the Lion Store so much so that when Dilliards took over I never shopped there.

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  23. With that kind of experience behind you, you'd probably love my book, "Toledo's Three Ls."

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  24. Very fascinating; I only remember the later years of the store but I'll always remember going to pick up stuff from what I believe was the catalog section of Lion at Westgate (it was behind the northwestern side of the building, where Friendly's also was). They eventually turned that into a Lion Home store toward the end of the chain's life.

    One note, though: The North Towne location was actually at Alexis Road between Telegraph Road and Detroit Avenue (the main doors of Lion faced the Alexis/Detroit intersection). Alexis and I-75 is about two miles east of where the location was. The mall was torn down last year. :)

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  25. My husband & I were recently going through his collection of Hopalong Cassidy books, and one of them, dated 1931, has stamped in several places ""Lion Store Circulating Library." I've never heard of the store having a library (of course, this would have been before my time), and if this WAS from Toledo's store. BTW - My copy of "Toledo's Three Ls" just arrived today, and I'm already getting sentimental just looking at the pictures. Any help on the library part would be greatly appreciated.

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  26. Hi Judy!

    You must have heard my interview Monday on WSPD. I do hope you enjoy the book. Many stores had lending libraries, where one could (for a fee) take out books. I have not seen an ad for this type of operation in the Lion Store, but I will search the Blade to see if I can find one. I think these departments were superseded by book shops in most department stores by World War II.
    If you are interested, you can look for an upcoming article about the stores in the Toledo Free Press, in conjunction with Michael Miller's interview on WSPD.

    Many thanks for buying my book!

    Bruce

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