Mabley & Carew, Cincinnati, Ohio

The 12-story 1962 Mabley & Carew store on Fountain Square.  Previously, the store occupied space in the Carew Tower from 1930 to 1962, and on Fountain Square from 1884-1930. 

Mabley & Carew (1877/1962)
Fifth and Vinee Streets
Cincinnati, Ohio

Do you remember 
The Plaza Room
at Mabley & Carew?

Click above to read about a new book
about Cincinnati's great department store
Tea Rooms . . . and contact the author
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Lower Level
Hostess Center • Ohio State Liquor Shop

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Costume Jewelry • Handbags • Gloves • Small Leather Goods • Accessories • Scarves • Umbrellas • Hosiery • Blouses • Sweaters • Fountain Square Sportswear • Cosmetics • Notions • Stationery • Candy • Gourmet Shop • Men's Furnishings • Men's Sportswear • Cameras

Men's Clothing • Young Men's Shop
Second Floor
The Junior Place Junior Sportswear • Junior Dresses • Junior Lingerie • Junior Coats • Junior Shoes • Thriftmode Shoes

Third Floor
Boulevard Dresses • Boulevard Sportswear • Better Dresses • Better Sportswear • Pacesetter • Town Shop • The Bride's Shop • Fur Salon • Shoe Salon • Millinery • Wigs • Lingerie • Foundations • Sleepwear • Loungewear

Fourth Floor
Infants' Wear • Infants' Furniture • Toddlers' Wear • Boys' Wear • Girls' Wear • Girls' Accessories • Children's Shoes • Teen Shop • Coats • Suits • Hide-Out • Thriftmode Dresses • Casual Dresses • Women's Dresses • Women's Sportswear

Fifth Floor
Furniture • Casual Furniture • Floor Coverings • Rugs • Mattresses

Sixth Floor
China • Silverware • Glassware • Gift Shop • TV Center • Stereos and Radios • Records • Housewares • Small Appliances • Lamps • Picture Gallery • Beauty Salon • Plaza Restaurant • Books

Seventh Floor
Domestics • Linens • Bath Shop • Curtains and Draperies • Fabrics • Art Needlework • Sewing Machines

Eighth Floor
Toys • Sporting Goods • Luggage • Garden Center • Hardware • Major Appliances • Vacuum Cleaners • Unfinished Furniture • Paint and Wallpaper

Ninth Floor
Credit Office • Cash Office • Executive Offices • Advertising • Auditorium

Tenth Floor
Display Workrooms

Eleventh Floor
Employee Dining Room • Nurse's Office

Twelfth Floor
Supply Room • Print Shop

BRANCH STORES (1954-1969)

Western Hills Plaza (1954)
41,000 sq. ft.

Swifton Shopping Center (1960)
150,000 sq. ft.

Hamilton (1964)
High Street and Journal Square

Beechmont Mall (1969)
117,000 sq. ft.


  1. M&C also had a store in Middletown once they purchased The John Ross Store. Their former location will soon be home to Pendleton Arts Center.

  2. I have some hats, i just got,and they say mabley&carew,it has a big pendant on it with a feather and a little vail. I have one that says modern miss,this one has little beaded flowers and studs,with a feather and vail also. and one that looks so old, it has all feathers no name on it,just a tage that says union ww 802102 made in the has little flower pendants on it,and its pink. I was just wondering if anyone might know what year these hats are,or if thare is a site i can go to,to see any information on them.

  3. there was also furniture on the eight floor

  4. on the additional floors ninth had exceutive offices credit and advertising as well as a large room used for fashion shows and meetings tenth floor held display eleventh floor was Associate cafe break area and Nurses office and tweleth floor was store room for supplies bags gift boxes and print shop

  5. Thank you, John, for the detailed information about the Mabley & Carew Fountain Square store. It helps keep things accurate.

    Now if I could just find illustrations of the branches!


  6. Is there any photos of the onside of the Western Hills store? Around 1956 or so, there was a picture of me taken with my winter coat on looking at a model in front of a mirror. It was in the newspaper but I can't find it among my mom's things. My name is Carolyn Ernst. Thank you so much, Carolyn

  7. There was also a Mabley and Carew location in Middletown, OH until 1974. It closed after the city started constructing a dreadful "city centre" concept mall of the time.

    Mabley and Carew was known for their high quality goods and especially for their lavish Christmas window displays every year in Cincinnati. Mabley and Carew was comparable to Bloomingdale's.

  8. When I think of Mabley & Carew I always remember the "air door" they had at the corner of 5th & Vine. Even in the dead of winter or the height of summer's heat, there was no door on the wide opening at the main entrance during the hours the store was open. Instead one was met by a blast of warm or cool air whichever was appropriate. It came blowing up from the floor at the threshold. Later it was replaced by 2 or 3 sets of traditional doors. Another peculiar feature was the unusual pattern one had to follow to get up the many floors by escalator. On some floors one did not just get off one escalator, make a 180-degree turn and go up or down the next one. It was necessary to follow arrows on the floor from one escalator to the next because several turnings were sometimes necessary. I guess this was required because the store was created by remodelling the old Rollman's Department Store and adding on what had been the old Havelin Hotel next door. That also resulted in some of the floors being on two different levels requiring one to go up or down a few steps because the floor levels in the two buildings did not sync up. These oddities would outrage environmentalists and advocates of handicap-access today, but that was how things were 50 years ago.

  9. Your fascinating comments bring up a good point - the department store of the past was not just unique and endearing, it was idiosyncratic as well. Yet, people flocked to them, for all of their quirks. Your comments about the past vs. today and how such oddities would be received, are also spot-on. As an architect, I have often been befuddled and perplexed by a morass of regulations and requirements that seem to change with the wind. Also, in today's environment it is difficult to get the general public to ascend past a second floor to do their shopping.

    My memories of these multi-floor emporiums include people circulating throughout them, creating healthy traffic for the store and the sale of its merchandise. Dare I use the word "lazy" when considering today's consumer?

  10. My best friend and I both tried out for the Mabley & Carew teen board in 1966. I remember walking a runway in front of a team of judges. My friend was selected but I wasn't. Oh well. It was still fun.

  11. Greetings from Down Under.

    I am across your web-page as I was searching for the origins of a colourful Cricket trade card by Mabley & Carew.

    I enjoyed the tour; thank you.

  12. My family moved to Cincinnati in the summer of 1976 as my father, J Edward Murray, had been appointed the president of Mabley & Carew or as he liked to say really "Managing Director" I wasn't aware of forgot about how big the store was although my family always shopped there. Dad loved Cincinnati and wanted to stay but Allied Stores Inc decided to sell Mabley's to Elder Beerman and Dad was transferred to Pomeroy's in Levittown, PA and I stayed until 1981 graduating from Xavier University after spending some of my senior year working for newly elected Councilman Arn Bortz.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


    P Edward Murray

  13. Thanks, Edward, for the kind memories for this site.

    Mabley & Carew is a store I wish I knew more of. I only visited it in the early 1980s, when it was clear that the Elder-Beerman experiment wasn't going to work. I have relatives from Cincinnati and they have fond memories of the store.

    I appreciate your memoir, and your father must have been a fine businessman.

    Best wishes!


  14. I grew up north of Cincinnati, and it was always a big occasion when we chose to go downtown and shop! My mother purchased a beautiful pastel blue "mother of the bride" dress at Mabley & Carew in 1973. I still have the dress - thanks for the memories and making me smile :)

  15. Thank you Bruce, actually I have relatives there as well and I wish you and your family the best:)

    Additionally I have left a note for Pomeroys and I will look and see if you have a listing for Mullers in Lake Charles:)

  16. I have an old leather jewelry box with the store imprint as well ad "swank" printed on the inside. It looks to be handmade and maybe held cuff links or a necklace at bracelet. I would like more information about it if anyone has any. Would like to know what was in it as well as how old it actually is. My email is please enter box in the subject line

  17. you did not mention the sub and sub sub basments of the downtonw builidng, the sub basement was the marking room where all the new merchandise was checked in and distributed with in the store or to the branchs. The sub sub basement was the engineer carpenter and painters work shop as well as the fur storage and one time the counting room there where actually tubs that the money would come down to the room then change was made and sent back by the tubs.

  18. Mabley's in Swifton Center was a favourite as a kid, my grandma used to take me to the soda fountain :)

  19. My father was the CEO and it is very cool to see this

  20. Chris, maybe you could respond to the author above at I know She was specifically looking for memories of Mabley & Carew to incorporate into the book.

  21. Would the museum be interested in clothing that came from Mabley and Carew in the 30's?

  22. I have a beautiful black coat with Mabley and Carew label made by Brook with logo of Scottie dog. It appears to be wool/silk blend with sheared lamb collar. It is slightly fitted and has eight gores, 3 buttons, one of which is missing. Would the museum be interested in a donation of this coat?

  23. Thank you very kindly for your offer. Unfortunately, I don't have the facilities to care for such a piece. I believe it is valuable - Please check with local museums to see if any of them have a vintage fashion collection, and might be interested. When I wrote the book about Jacobson's, the Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson Michigan had a huge collection of fashion stored in their vaults and on exhibit. Perhaps there is a museum near you that would value and protect the coat? Thanks again, good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving!

  24. Mabley & Carew was such a large, majestic store to me as a kid--of course, the times I went, I was between 4 - 6 y.o.! That's where we would go to have a yearly formal "kid portrait" taken of me. Back when they hand-tinted the photos! (I could tell, because the stripes on my dress were a different color in the picture than they were in real life!) Great memories. I miss proper department stores...