The Marston Co., San Diego, California

Founded in 1878, Marston's outgrew
earlier locations and advertised a new
building to be opened in 1912.

Marston's familiar Neo-Renaissance building
was a landmark in downtown San Diego for
many years and a popular and elegant
shopping venue.

Marston's occupied space in adja-
cent buildings along 5th street,
but demolished these in order to
build a new addition as indicated
by the faint white dotted line.

In 1954, Marston's expanded into a new,
6-story addition on 5th street.

Marston's expanded its home-furnishings
selection in 1960 by occupying space
in the former Parmelee-Dohrmann building
at 7th and C streets.

The Marston Co.
5th, 6th, and C Streets
San Diego, California

Belmont 3-8061

Lower Street Floor
Boys' Shop • Student's Shop • Luggage • Cameras • Books • Sporting Goods • Toys • Picnic Shop • Barbecue Shop • Trim-A-Home Shop
Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Costume Jewelry • Handbags • Personal Leather Goods • Gloves • Hosiery • Cosmetics • Accessories • Neckwear • Hat Bar • Blouses • Sweaters • Cosmetics • Notions • Stationery • Candy • Delicacy Shop
Store for Men Men's Furnishings • Men;s Shoes • Boys' Shoes • Men's Sportswear • Men's Clothing • University Shop
Second Floor
Fabrics • Art Needlework • Bedding and Towels • Curtains and Draperies • Gift Shop • Credit Office • Cashier • Place Pigalle Coffee Shop • Beauty Salon • Infants' Shop • Nursery Furniture • Toddlers' Shop • Girls' Shop • 7-14 Girls' World • Sub-Teens Shop • Children's Shoes
Third Floor
Sportswear • Junior Sportswear • Smart Shop Dresses • Smart Shop Millinery • Smart Shop Coats and Suits • Smart Shop Custom Sizes • Women's Sport Shop • Casual Dresses • Discovery Shop • Career Corner • Lingerie • Robes • Foundations • Maternity Shop • Uniforms • Swim Shop
Fourth Floor
Moderately Priced Dresses • Knit Center • Coats • Suits • Millinery • Young San Diegan Shop • Modernaire Shop • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon
Fashion Circle Dresses • Coats and Suits • Oval Room
Fifth Floor
Major Appliances • Fifth Floor Lounge • Personnel Office
Sixth Floor
Tea Room • Galleria

Carpet Store, 6th Street
First Floor
Floor Coverings • Rugs

Marston's 7th and C
Lower Main Floor
Housewares • Sleep Shop • Furniture
Main Floor
China • Glassware • Silver • Linens • Clocks
Second Floor
Lamps • Pictures • Mirrors

La Mesa

November, 1961
151,000 s.f.
The Orange Tree Dining Room

Coffee Shop

Chula Vista

150,000 s.f.
The Orange Tree Dining Room

Coffee shop


  1. I just purchased a vintage pair of ladies leather shoes, which are in excellent condition and they have Made Expressly for Marston's San Diego inside. I googled the store and found this great site that gave me the history of Marston's. Thank you!

  2. My dad designed display cases for Marston's store back in the 1950s. He loved doing this sort of work and was very proud of his woodworking in the downtown store. I wish I could find inside shots of these display cases.

    1. Inside the coffee house that now occupies the ground floor of the building there are vintage photographs on the walls of the interior. They might show some of your dad's work.


  3. I just found out that my grandmother was a model for some of the Marston's catalogues. Would anyone know where I could possibly locate some of the old catalogues?

  4. After moving and opening untold boxes, I came across a Marston's box with the brand name:
    El Camino Vellum with a gold engraved square plate inside. There isn't anything I can find on line. Would anyone out there remember such an item?

  5. Just bought a beautiful vintage black velvet evening jacket with Marston Company San Diego label in it. Glad I found this site.

    1. I have original marston hat box with some hats. And some fir items

  6. You can still ride the open-cage brass elevator. Enter the little coffee shop through the entrance on C Street. March a few feet deeper and enter the elevator. Press 4 to go to the top.

  7. Ah, so that's what the coffee shop building used to be. Awesome. Going through old opera programs and found an ad for Marston's Tea Room, which brought me here.

  8. I just purchased a mink coat with the Marsten's San Diego tag in it. Very beautiful!

  9. Back 30ish years ago I purchased a pair of bronze-iron chandeliers from a very nice fellow downsizing, to move he & his wife to Rancho Bernardo to their final retirement home. He was telling me that he had been the in-house electrician for the Marston Department Store for many, many years and that at the time of the final closing was told that if there was something he would like,(as a valued employee), to please help himself. The 2 chandeliers were his long time momentos. These two pieces are mediteranean in style and fairly large. I've been trying to find some photos and or reference for along time. Would love to see how they were used.

  10. My mother worked at Goldwater's in Phoenix when she was still in high school, so when she moved away to San Diego in the late 1940s, Marston's hired her right away. She was in charge of the mail-order shipping. People called-in or sent telegrams from all over the country. She said there were wealthy customers on the east coast that wanted items you could only get in California. Mr. Marston used to have social events at his home to which the employees were invited.

    1. MeDon, your mother had the privilege of attending social events at the Marston home? It's a fabulous place! Fortunately it's open to the public now:

  11. George Marston was involved with establishing Balboa Park, the San Diego Public Library System, and San Diego Presidio Park. His contributions to San Diego earned him the affectionate title of "San Diego's First Citizen." And Marston served as chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee for the 1915 Panama–California Exposition in Balboa Park. The Exposition established an infrastructure of museums and attractions for the park that still exists today.

    Per the information and pictures here, the Marston's store in downtown San Diego was massive! It's quite impressive, realizing what an innovation that store was at the time.

    Bak, when you have the chance to add the history text, I'll look forward to reading it!

    Thank you.

    1. NOTE: The George Marston house belongs to the San Diego History Center and is open for tours, etc. It's located at the north end of Balboa Park.

  12. I have just purchased a beautiful fur stole from eBay and inside has the label Marstons San Diego. It also has the monogram Evelyn March. I was wondering if anyone knows who this lady was or can help me find out. Very interesting.

  13. I recently purchased a beautiful fur stole from eBay and the label inside said Marstons San Diego. It also has a fabulous monogram with the name Evelyn March. I was just wondering if anyone knows who this lady was or how I can find out.

    1. Evelyn March was a friend of my mother's, who was a buyer at Marston's in "Better Coats and Suits" as they were called then. Sorry I cannot tell you anything about her, but I recognized her name immediately.

  14. My mother and father were in the Orchestra and I ended up with two Marston's of San Diego Cashmere coats! One solid black and one butter, as they used to call it. They are 3/4 sleeves and mid calf! They're gorgeous. Would love to know they're worth. Anyone? TJ

  15. Do you have any photos of the Marston's Christmas windows?

  16. Hi found a Old Marston Top hat Mint Condition in a hand crafted leather box anyone have any ideas on how to find a value has the Marston logo inside of top hat beautiful piece .

  17. I wish I could find inside shots of these display cases.

  18. My grandmother work for the Marston family from 1939 to 1945 as head of household Affairs and cook my mother also live there with my grandmother in 1975 my family and I were in San Diego for vacation and we stop by the Marston Mansion so my mother could show us where she had live being curious to know who was living there she knocked on the door and one of them are sand daughters answered and remembered my mother and we were invited in for refreshments and a tour of the mansion and grounds it was a wonderful day I understand now that the Mansion belongs to the city of San Diego and is a museum.

  19. I just found my Mother's wedding gown, purchased on Feb. 1, 1937, from The Marston Company, the receipt was for $5 plus tax. It's in the original box, sent to will call. I loved finding such a treasure.

  20. Years ago I found an old pink Marston hat box, in great condition, with the name printed in gold letters and a gold colored cord handle. Good memories. Thanks for this fun and informative site.

  21. My grandmother was a seamstress for them when she first came to this country from Hungary. My mother told me stories of how elegant the store was and the beautiful fresh flowers. It's ironic that in high school I worked for the Broadway here in Orange County which was the store that later purchased them.

  22. My mother loved lilacs. They were always the first sign of Spring in the Marston store so during Spring (Easter) vacation mother, my sister and I would make a day of visiting the Marston store. We enjoyed the fresh flowers, shopped for spring clothes and eating lunch in the tea room. Very special memories.

  23. I thought the 1960s would put an end to the entrenched issues of class that had plagued my family all of their lives. I thought it would make the country better for those of us who had suffered for centuries. Instead, it only brought chaos and the Immigration Act of 1965. And now, Chinese and Indian "immigrants" buying $3 million dollar "rental properties all over the West Coast. I want my country back.


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