The J. L. Hudson Co., Detroit, Michigan

The J.L. Hudson Co. dominated the retail scene in Detroit
in much the same way its massive, red-brick store
dominated Woodward Avenue, the city's main artery.
The John R street side of the store reveals how Hudson's
 was built up, one addition at a time to become one of the
largest department stores in the world.

Though on the site of one of Hudson's oldest components,
the Farmer Street side of the store was one of
the building's later additions.

The J.L. Hudson Co. Tower, emblazoned with the name
outlined in red neon was a landmark visible from
miles away, and separated the Farmer Street
and Grand River Avenue buildings.

In December of 1958, LIFE magazine showed a cut-away
view of Hudson's, showing the vast array of activity in
the store at the height of its glory.
The J.L. Hudson Co. (1881)
1206 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan

CApitol 3-5100

Ground floor plan of Hudson's, prior to 1946.
(The so-called Sallan Corner is not shown,
and housed Hudson's Fine Jewelry Salon 
when the 1946 additon was completed, there-
by filling the whole block for the first time.)
Second Basement           
Hudson’s Budget Store
Woodward Avenue Bedding (E)
Grand River Avenue Curtains (F) • Linens & Domestics (F) • Fabrics (F)  Home Furnishings (A)
Farmer Street Drugs and Toiletries (B) • Candy (B) • Customer Service (B)  Records (B)  Stationery (B) • Breadstick in the Basement (B)

First Basement
Hudson's Budget Store
Woodward Avenue Shoes (D) • Dresses (D) • Accessories (E)  Sportswear (E)  Coats (E)  Juniors (E)
Grand River Avenue Children's Wear (A) • Girls 7-14 (A) • Lingerie (F)  Portrait Studio (A)
Farmer Street Men's Wear (C) • Boys' Wear (B)  Luggage (B)

First Floor
Woodward Avenue Jewelry (D) • Fashion Watches (D) • Leather Goods (E) • Gloves E)  • Handbags (D) • Scarves (E) • Belts (E) • Hosiery (A, B) • Aisles of Beauty (E,F) • Toiletries (E)  Millinery Outpost (E) • Watches (D) • Blouses (E) • Fine Jewelry (D) • Miss Detroiter Sportswear (E) • Sweaters (E)
Grand River Avenue Men’s Furnishings (A) • Men’s Accessories (F) • Dress Shirts (F) • Ties (F) • Pajamas (A) • Shirts (A) • Hosiery (A) • The Sportsman (A)  Smoke Shop (F)
Farmer Street Hudson’s Bakery (B) • Candy (B) Pantry Shop (B) • The Wine Cellar (B) • Candy Shop (B) • Miss Detroiter Lingerie  Notions (B)  

Woodward Avenue Health and Beauty Aids (D) • Gift Wrapping (D)  Pharmacy (D) • Hudson’s Optical (D)  Hearing Aid Center (D) • Clock Shop (E)  "Ask Mr. Foster" Travel Service (E) • Adult Games (F) • Luggage (E)  Stationery (F) • Personal Engraving (F) Commercial Stationery (F) • Greeting Cards (E,F)
Grand River Avenue Book Shop (A) • Luggage
Farmer Street Piccadilly Circus Cafeteria (B) • Coins & Stamps (B,C)

Second Floor
Woodward Avenue Men’s Suits (E,F) • Men’s Coats (E,F) • Contemporary Man • New Directions (E) • Men’s Shoes (D) • Boys' Shoes (D) • That Guy (B) • Casino Shop (F) • University Shop (B) • The Threadmill (B)
Grand River Avenue Sporting Goods (A) • Ski Shop (A) • Golf Shop (A) • Cameras and Supplies (A)  Pet Shop (A)  O’Connor Portrait Studio (A)
Farmer Street Men’s Will Call • Boys 4-7 (C) • Boys 8-20 (C) • Boy Scout Supplies (C)

Third Floor
Woodward Avenue  Art Needlework (D) • Picture Shop (D) • Mirrors (D) • Custom Framing (D) • Silver Gallery (E) • Gift Shop (E) • Collector’s Gallery (E) • Table Linens (F)
Grand River Avenue Sheets (A) • Blankets (A) • Pillows (A) • Bath Shop (F)  Closet Shop (A)
Farmer Street Hudson’s Sewing Center Fabrics (B,C) • Notions • Patterns (So. Bridge)

Fourth Floor
Woodward Avenue Baby’s Own Shop (D) • Infant’s Layette (D) • Toddler’s Shop (E)  Children’s Shoes (E)
Grand River Avenue Girls 3-6x (A) • Girls 7-14 (A) • Little Miss Hudson (A) • Sub Teen Shop (F) • Young Accessories (F) • Girl Scout Supplies (F)
Farmer Street Post Office (C) • Writing Lounge (C) • Tourneur Salon (B) • Snack Bar (B) • Hudson's Dry Cleaning (B)  Gift Wrapping (B)  Repair Service Desk (B)

Fifth Floor
Woodward Avenue Pacemaker Shop (E) • Lingerie (E) • Sleepwear (D) • Loungewear (E) • Deb Shop (E)
Grand River Avenue Young Fashion Shoes (A)  A Nice Girl Like You... (A, F) • Nice Girl Lingerie (F)  High School Shop (F)
Farmer Street Uniforms (C) • Home and Town Dresses (C) • Equestrienne Shop (B) • Foundations (B) • Fresh Flower Shop (So. Bridge)

Sixth Floor
Woodward Avenue Social Occasion (F) • Miss Detroiter Shoes (D)
Grand River Avenue Contemporary Collections (F) • St. Clair Sportswear (A)
Farmer Street Fur Salon (B) • Suit Shop (B) • Maternity Shop (C) • Shoe Repair (C)

Seventh Floor
Woodward Avenue

The Woodward Shops Bridal Salon (D) • Green Room (D) • Better Coats (E) • Miss Hudson (D) • Town & Country (D) • French Room Millinery (E)

Grand River Avenue Alterations (A) • Millinery (A) • Wigs (A)  Shoe Salon (F) • The Individualist (F) • The Crystal Room (F)
Farmer Street J. L. Hudson Gallery (B) • Old Print Shop (B)  Fashion Shoes (C)  Leisure Shoes (C)

Eighth Floor
Woodward Avenue Studio of Interior Decoration (E) • Furniture Galleries (D)  Gallery Boutique (E)
Grand River Avenue Curtains (A) • Draperies (F)  Custom Upholstery (A)
Farmer Street Floor Coverings • Rugs • Oriental Rug Gallery • Home Planning Bureau • 

Ninth Floor
Woodward Avenue Bed Room Furniture (D) • Dining Room Furniture (E) • Colonial Furniture (E)
Grand River Avenue Model Rooms (A, F)  Light Fixtures (F)
Farmer Street Floor Coverings (B,C)  Mattresses (B)

Tenth Floor
Woodward Avenue China (E) • Glassware (F) • Bride’s Registry • Gift Wrap • Home Improvement Center (D)  Appliances (D)  Gift Wrapping (E)
Grand River Avenue Small Electrical Appliances (A) • Housewares (A, F)  Kitchen Clocks (A) • Cutlery (A)  Fireplace Shop (A)  Indoor Gardens (A)  Culinary Corner (F) • Barbecue Shop (A) • Gifts (F)
Farmer Street Cleaning Materials (B)  Floor Care (B) • Unfinished Furniture (B)  Kitchen  Furniture (B)  Hardware (C) • Tools (C) • Paint Center (So. Bridge) • Sewing Machines (So. Bridge)  Kitchen Planning Service (C)

Eleventh Floor
Woodward Avenue Lamps (D) • Piano Salon (D) • Stereos (D) • Televisions (D)  Radio & TV Reapir (E)
Grand River Avenue Cash Office (A) • Credit Office (F)
Farmer Street Executive Offices (B) • Organ Salon (C)

Twelfth Floor
Woodward Avenue Auditorium (E) • Little Auditorium (E) • Garden Shop (D) • Music Store (D) • Records (D)
Grand River Avenue Christmas Trim Shop (A,F)
Farmer Street Toytown (B, C) • Artists' Supplies (So. Bridge) • Christmas Trim Shop

Thirteenth Floor
Grand River Avenue Business Gift Center (F)  Hudson's Contract Division
Farmer Street Riverview Room (B) • The Beef Emporium (Pine Room) (C) • Executive Dining Room

Fourteenth Floor
Grand River Avenue Personnel • Hudson’s Beauty Salon (F) • Wiggery (F) • Children’s Barber Shop (F)
Farmer Street Employees Cafeteria (B, C)

Fifteenth Floor
Grand River Avenue Receiving and Marking
Farmer Street Display Department

Sixteenth Floor
Grand River Avenue Buyers' Offices • Import Office • Carpenter Shop • Receiving and Marking

Seventeenth Floor
Grand River Avenue Fur Storage (E) • Paint Shop • Elevator Equipment

Eighteenth Floor
Grand River Avenue Paymaster • Auditing • Storage

Nineteenth Floor
Grand River Avenue Advertising • Public Relations • Training

Twentieth Floor
Grand River Avenue Order Board • Supplies • Telephone Equipment

Twenty-First Floor
Grand River Avenue Laundry • Sign And Print Shop

Twenty-Second Floor
Grand River Avenue Maintenance

Twenty-Third Floor
Grand River Avenue Equipment

Twenty-Fourth Floor
Hudson Tower Water Supply • Executive Exercise Room

Twenty-Fifth Floor
Hudson Tower Water Supply

(2,124,000 s.f.)

Greenfield Road & 8 Mile
March 22,1954
470,000 s.f.
The Northland Room
Kelly Road at 8 Mile
August 29,1957
432,000 s.f.
The Seaway Room-Anchor Room
Piccadilly Circus
Pontiac Mall
Pontiac, MI
Budget Store1962/July 25, 1967
285,000 sq. ft.
Wayne and Westland Roads
322,000 s.f.
The Terrace
Oakland Mall
14 Mile Road and John R Avenue
357,000 s.f.
The Terrace Room
Genesee Valley
November, 1970
265,000 s.f.
The Horseless Carriage Grille
272,000 s.f.
Franklin Park Mall
Toledo, OH
May, 1971
187,000 s.f.
The Pewter Pub
Briarwood, Ann Arbor
July 25, 1974
189,000 sq. ft.
The Rendezvous Restaurant
Woodland Mall
July, 1975
Grand Rapids
156,000 sq. ft.
Fashion Square
120,000 sq. ft.
Fairlane Town Center
239,000 sq. ft.
The Greenery Restaurant
Twelve Oaks
238,000 sq. ft.
The Greenery Restaurant
Lakeside Mall (1978)
Sterling Heights
200,000 sq. ft.
Greenery Restaurant

The J. L. Hudson company was the third-largest department store in the United States, after Macy’s in New York and Marshall Field & Company in Chicago.  Hudson’s dominated the Detroit retail market like no other store in any American city, and was the subject of phenomenal growth from a small men’s store into a merchandising powerhouse, owing to Detroit’s manufacturing expansion early in the 20th Century, and the city’s status as the “Arsenal of Democracy” during and after World War II which launched the store into a hey-day that lasted until the city itself became a stunning example of urban blight and decline bordering on a state of ruin.

At its greatest, Hudson’s was the arbiter of fashion and culture for the Motor City customers that flocked to the 25-story red-brick emporium (giving it the nickname of "tallest department store in the world), not just to shop but to be informed, entertained, and ultimately, satisfied.  It was said that Hudson’s carried practically anything a person could want, and this was largely true.  To sell its vast selection of wares, the store hosted demonstrations, shows, exhibits and when it advertised that “It’s Christmastime at Hudson’s,” it pulled out all the stops, including a giant Toyland, one of America’s great Thanksgiving Day parades, a Christmas fantasy-land in its auditorium, and custom-designed holiday decorations that changed yearly.

Large-scale civic events were a hallmark of Hudson’s in Detroit.  In 1924, Hudson’s initiated its annual Thanksgiving Day parade, which always ended with the mayor giving the key to Detroit to Santa Claus, who took residence in a whimsical castle built on the store’s Woodward Avenue marquis.  On Armistice Day of 1923, Hudson’s unfurled a great flag on its façade, an event that became an annual tradition.  An updated, 104-foot high by 235-foot wide flag was debuted in 1950. In 1959, Hudson’s inaugurated the Freedom Festival fireworks display on the Detroit river, which also became a beloved local tradition.

Retail promotions like the early 1960s “Good Old Summertime” and later “Downtown Detroit Days” were integral parts of the Hudson experience in Detroit, as were more day-to-day events such as going downtown to shop and catch a matinée at one of the city’s grand movie palaces.  More often than not, a lunch in one of Hudson’s fine restaurants was a de rigeur component of shopping downtown, even after Hudson’s re-configured its 13th floor dining rooms into the stunning Riverview Room with its panorama of Detroit and its namesake river.

The story of this iconic department store began across the Atlantic ocean, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, where Joseph Lowthian Hudson was born, on October 17, 1846, to Richard Hudson and his wife Elizabeth (née Lowthian).  The elder Hudson owned a tea and coffee business at the time, but within a dozen or so years, left for Hamilton, Ontario where he sought better opportunity for himself and family.  Within a year, Elizabeth and their children followed them.  A further move to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1860 again proved fruitless, and the Hudson family settled near Detroit in Pontiac, Michigan, where Joseph L. Hudson met successful merchant Christopher R. Mabley, and went to work in his men’s clothing store.  Eventually, Mabley bankrolled Richard Hudson in a similar venture in Ionia, Michigan.
With Joseph as manager, Richard Hudson, Clothier, became very successful, and Mabley was in due course bought out.  However, the worldwide panic and depression of 1873 brought on a downturn from which it was impossible for the store to recover.  Owing to the death of his father, Joseph L. Hudson operated the business until 1876, when he could not hold out against bankruptcy any longer.  At this time, Hudson was able to settle with all of his creditors for 60 cents on the dollar.  Without any prospects in the small  Michigan town, Hudson moved his family back to Detroit and went to work once again for Mabley.

Troubled by Christoper Mabley’s drinking (Hudson, a devout Methodist Christian, was a noted tee-totaller) and the older merchant’s troublesome wife, (who willfully meddled in the business) Hudson left his employer in 1881, and, taking a lot of Mabley’s best employees with him, established Joseph L. Hudson, Clothier.  The store was located on the ground floor of the Detroit Opera House building on Campus Martius, a space that was recently vacated by the Newcomb-Endicott Co., Detroit’s oldest department store.  Newcomb’s had just secured space in a new 5-story building near the corner of Woodward Avenue (the city’s main thoroughfare) and Grand River.

After vigorous competition with the Mabley store, which frankly left the older retailer in the dust (the store foundered and closed after Mabley’s death in 1887) Hudson formed a partnership with house-furnishing retailer Campbell Symington, and ultimately moved the business to the West side of Woodward Avenue in 1884, and further enlarged the premises in 1887.  Hudson stores were established in Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio, Buffalo, New York, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Missouri and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Hudson may have been just another big-city merchant, yet his moral foundation and care for the other man led him, in prosperity to do something which would gain the respect of those who had not yet had the chance to meet or work with this quiet and dignified man.  He repaid every single debt, plus interest, stemming from the 1876 failure of his Ionia store.  This magnanimous act led bankers and city officials to recognize that Hudson’s word was every bit as good as money.  A bachelor throughout his life, Hudson had a reputation of working hard and taking on civic causes that further taxed his time and energy.  Yet, he became the family patriarch and was beloved of his nieces and nephews, whom treated as if they were his own children.

Outgrowing these older buildings, the merchant build what became to be known as Hudson’s “Big Store” east of Woodward on Farmer Street north of Gratiot. The red brick and terra cotta structure’s eight floors housed not only Hudson’s clothing and textile business and Symington’s furniture, but its basement housed new crockery and gift departments that rounded out the selection in the store.  However grand the “Big Store” might have been, Hudson was plunged into financial uncertainty with the panic and depression of 1893, and was forced to ask his creditors for an extension in payments.  This time, however, with his reputation as an honest businessman firmly in place, his store withstood the financial difficulties and he was soon making money again.

When he died on a trip to visit his boyhood home (in Brighton, England – he never made it back to Newcastle) in 1912, (an event that the Detroit Free Press called a “civic disaster,” describing Hudson as “Detroit’s most genuinely public-spirited citizen, her sanest philanthroper.”) he left no natural-born children to carry on his business.  However, he took his nephews, Richard Hudson Webber (1870-1967), Oscar Webber (1889-1967), and twins James Benson Webber (1886-1960) and Joseph Lowthian Webber (1886-1970) into his employ at an early age, and trained them well, so that they could follow in his footsteps.
The next phase of Hudson’s history is the story of how these four remarkable merchant brothers built up the Hudson business as the city of Detroit became a powerhouse of industry and commerce.  In essence, they took an existing business, and applied structure and order to it (sprinkled with hard work and enthusiasm), so that it could face growth and prosper during changes in the market.  The brothers were, like their uncle, quiet and unassuming, but generous of spirit and truly focused on the well-being of the business and its home town.

Although the founder was alive at the first moment Hudson’s began to expand back to Woodward Avenue, it was the Webbers (though Hudson himself expanded the “Big Store” itself one bay up Farmer Street in 1907) who presided over the store’s expansion, eventually filling the block bounded by Woodward, Gratiot, Farmer, and Grand River.  The first to come was a 10-story, 2-bay extension in 1911, that crossed the alley and moved Hudson’s Store for Men onto Detroit’s main street. By 1914, four bays had been added to this structure, and three years later, the store poked through to Woodward again with another 2-bay addition across the alley that was separated from the earlier buildings by the existing Himelhoch Brothers’ store. In 1923, a continuous Woodward Avenue presence was achieved through the demolition of the old Himelhoch building and construction of 12-story infill.

The brothers then turned their sights on the Farmer Street building, building (in two phases) a colossal, 15-story structure that completely replaced J.L. Hudson’s former “big store.” What happened next was indeed epic in the annals of Detroit retail.  The J.L. Hudson company purchased the Newcomb-Endicott Company, one of its major competitors, that sat on the same block to the north in a collection of buildings of varying heights and ages. The Webber brothers then sold of Newcomb’s stock, demolished the building, and constructed a mammoth extension that was known (at the time) as “The Greater Hudson Store.”  This edifice included a thoroughly up-to-date 15-story building, matching the 1925 Farmer Street addition, with a 25-story tower over the alleyway that once separated Hudson’s from the former Newcomb-Endicott store.

The great “Hudson Tower” as it was known stood as an advertising beacon for the store, with illuminated “HUDSON’S” signs on each of its four sides.  During these expansions, it was decided to increase the height of the store as well by building on top of the existing and new structures.  In old photos, the distinctive shape of the roof of Hudson’s 12th floor auditorium can be recognized, especially in aerial views.

These massive buildings, whose construction paralleled the great economic and artistic growth of the city of Detroit and brought Hudson’s into the realm of the world’s largest mercantile buildings, though enormous in themselves, were beautifully detailed in red brick and terra cotta.  The extravagant historicist detailing, combined with the sheer bulk of the store, gave it a fortress-like appearance which was obvious especially when seen from afar. The effect was softened somewhat by the bronze and stone detailing at the store’s lower floors, as well as the deep marquis that extended around the building’s perimeter to protect shoppers and shade the store’s multitudinous display windows.

Only a small parcel of land remained on the block for Hudson’s to conquer, but it had to wait until victory in World War II (an event Hudson’s supported with numerous war-bond drives, exhibitions, rallies, and programs) was secured that the so-called “Sallan Corner” was acquired and filled-in in the style of the 1925 and 1928 additions, to give the building a highly-unified appearance that would be familiar to anyone growing up in the era.
Hudson’s was a juggernaut, not just in appearance, but in its reputation, status and cachet.  Whatever was new, Hudson’s had it first.  It ensured its place in fashion leadership, not just through frequent fashion shows and events, but by re-doing its seventh floor as the high-end “Woodward Shops” in 1948, and commissioning noted industrial designer Raymond Loewy to re-do the floor in 1961 in a luxurious style appropriate to the aspirations of confident Detroiters at the dawn of the 1960s.  Local competitors Kern’s and Crowley’s did their best to prosper in the shadow of “Detroit’s World-Famous Department Store.”

It was in 1950, as Detroit was in the throes of postwar growth, that the Webbers proposed a large suburban shopping center, to be known as Eastland, on Detroit’s outer city limits.  Designed by Austrian architect Victor Gruen, and featuring a large circular Hudson store (with a tower) surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped ring of shops and infill parking, Eastland was delayed by local opposition and wartime shortages. Hudson’s expansion had to wait until 1954, when the store’s Northland shopping center opened.  By this time, shopping center design favored a more conventional layout from that proposed in 1950; by 1957 Eastland finally came on board as the second of Hudson’s large, new branches, in a vastly re-styled design reflecting lessons learned at Northland.

These stores were phenomenally popular, and led to the construction of free-standing budget stores in Lincoln Park, Dearborn, Pontiac, and Madison Heights, and by 1965 Westland, an enclosed shopping center with a large Hudson branch at its core, joined the Hudson family, as did a full-line Pontiac store on the site of the former budget store operation.  It was not initially meant for these stores to take away either business, or the centrality and domination of the downtown Hudson store, but societal changes in the 1960s caused Detroit to deteriorate and begin the slide that led the city to eventual bankruptcy in 2013.

In 1969, Hudson’s was purchased by Dayton’s of Minneapolis.  While the company lavished money and innovation on its popular and famous store on Minneapolis’ Nicollet Mall, (and in nearby St. Paul) the situation differed in the Motor City.  Reeling from the effect of riots and economic retraction, Hudson’s began to contract the selling space in the downtown store by 1974, when it had also opened new branches in Taylor at Southland, Oakland Mall, Flint, Toledo, and Ann Arbor. Eventually the store expanded to many communities in Michigan and even into neighboring Indiana with more generic, soft-goods only branches, which, while they carried the vaunted Hudson name, had none of the tradition and élan that the store once had in abundance.

Violent crime within the downtown store, and its subsequent publicity diminished residents’ desire to shop downtown.  The Woodward Avenue store held out until 1983 when it closed after the Christmas holiday season.  Later, Dayton-Hudson (as the parent company was known) acquired Chicago’s Marshall Field & Company.  As Dayton-Hudson sought to develop its Target brand of discount stores, it desired to shed itself of its department store business, and sold its remaining properties (all re-branded by then as simply “Marshall Field’s”) to the May Company, which in turn was absorbed by Federated Department stores, who renamed them as Macy’s stores in 2006.  Hudson’s by then was just a memory to generations of Detroiters that loved, trusted, and patronized the old store.

Hudson's Employee Newsletter: The Hudsonian

A 1946 Promotional Booklet: Welcome to Detroit and Hudson's

Click HERE to see inside
Graciously provided by Maura Cady-Rye
The World's Largest Flag:

Click to See the Flag Unfurl


The Hudson Creed:


  1. My mother, Marilyn Hutchings Rowe, worked at the downtown Detroit J.L. Hudson's in the late 1940's...I'm not sure what department (notions? lamps?), unfortunately she's been gone over 30 years. I worked in the Toy Dept. and the Rainbow Store at Hudson's Westland in the 1970s. Loved Hudson's- you could always find exactly what you were looking for at Hudson's. I moved to Florida in 1994 and Dillard's and Macy's are where I shop now.

    The market Place had the best food especially the Maurice Salads- they were the best!

  2. I just came into the possession of the Commercial Art Work of Miss Helen Widger. She worked for Hudson's, but I don't know what years. She was born in 1907 and died in 2003. Her work was beautiful. I kept the pieces I liked most.

  3. Michele (Abromaitis) Hood26 September, 2010 12:36

    Oh, I love this site! I grew up shopping at the Northland Hudson's - I loved their food store (the annex?) and eating in their original restaurant (I wish I could find a set of the nursery rhyme children's china they used). Seeing the original JLH logo brings back memories! I also remember shopping in B'ham at Crowley's, Jacobsons ("Jake's") and Siegel's. We Detroiters were so good at nicknaming our department stores - remember "Monkey Wards?"

  4. I grew up in Hudsons downtown....we lived in Highland Park until 1964, taking the Woodward DSR bus every Wednesday to Hudsons, rain or shine, cold or hot. The atmosphere when you walked into the store was electric, a true "GRAND EMPORIUM". I went to work for Hudsons in 1977 at Twelve Oaks in Novi, and was selected to be in the Parade 3 years in a row. I now live in Atlanta, a former Macys executive, (Macys moved me to Kansas City, then Toledo, then Atlanta. I will tell you all that there was no place like Hudsons. We have Macys, Dillards, and Belk here but they cannot hold a candle to my beloved Hudsons. I left the Department store industry after being a store manager for Mervyns, and have gone on to home improvement retail.....I love working for Lowes!!!!!! The current department store industry is not and will never match working for JL Hudson.

  5. Thsi is a great site. Am in the UK and we have lost many of our old stores as well including my "childhood memories" stores Kendal Milne (Kendals) and Lewis's in Manchester. One is now a bland chin department store - it used to be the "Harrods" of north England (in fact is was owned by and called "Harrods" for a while early in the 20th century) and teh other is now an office building and discount store. Both were great in their heyday. But Hudsons looks truly something else - teh zenith of department stores. I cant believe the scale of the place. To demolish that building was criminal. The people involved should be ashamed. Anyone have more pics of teh interior or exterior from 1940s onwards?

  6. I have some 1964 smoked crystal glass ware from JL Hudsons and was wondering if any of their crystal ever had insignia or some sort of "proof" it came from them...

    please respond to

  7. Josephine Rothrock06 November, 2010 12:55

    We miss Hudson's and display items from its past years at the local public libraries for all to enjoy.

    We are always adding J.L. Hudson's items to the traveling historical display...

    If you have something of interest from Hudson's past please call us in Michigan at 586-212-5268

  8. My mother loved shopping at Hudson's dating back to WWII. She would tell me stories about walking downtown at night and looking in the windows of Hudson's.
    I have very fond memories of shopping at the Hudson's store at Christmas. My mother would take me on the train downtown. Hudson's would have a Christmas wonderland for children on one of the floors along with a gift shop where children could do their shopping without their parents.
    I remember the smell of warm chestnuts being sold on the street corner in front of the store.
    Then there were the memories of the horses children would sit on to have their hair cut in the barber shop as well as the elevator operators that ran them.
    The last time I shopped there was in 1979 when I was working at First Federal Saving across the street.
    I loved that store.

  9. My first store job was at Eastland Mall, tho not at Hudson's. Every dinner break, I'd head to H's basement lunch counter. They had a conveyor to bring the food out to the various stations. A light beam would stop the food at each server's place according to the height of the cover put on by the kitchen. I was wild for their vinegar and oil cole slaw--can anyone tell me how to make it?

  10. I have been remiss in responding to comments on this site. However, growing up on Detroit's east side, I was familiar with Eastland. That lunch counter was in the basement service court (was it called "Piccadilly Circus" like the one on the mezzanine downtown?), though I do not recall the automated system you mention. Our next door neighbor made salads there for a while, before my mom got her a job at a factory. Sanders, the famous Detroit confectionery, also had a large basement cafeteria in Eastland with a conveyor belt system along the walls that took trays back to the kitchen for washing. Regarding Hudson's coleslaw, I remember, and still make, something called "Harlequin Coleslaw" which was of the creamy type, made colorful with bits of red bell pepper. It was sold in the delicatessen of Hudson's Gourmet Shop, located on the fourth floor of the Eastland store. My very funny bilingual family used to joke that "coleslaw" should be pronounced like the Polish name "Boleslaw" (bo-LESS-slav)!!!

  11. I am 61 and have so many good memories of Hudson's.

    When I was 10 every Friday I had to go downtown to see the eye doctor and my mother and I would go to Hudson's. I was allowed to choose one of the three restaurants to eat in. Of course I chose a different one each time.

    I can still hear the wooden floors squeek. The entire store was amazing at Christmas! From the displays in the windows to the wonderland and Santa in the toy department. Kids eyes were all aglow.

    I remember my stomach turning when I rode the elevators and I remember the operators.

    The best memory were the sales in the basement. Women would grab and even an occasional fight would occur. You had to be careful down there.

    Hudson's was the best and nothing has ever replaced it. I cried when I watched it being torn down.

  12. I found this site after purchasing a vintage fur coat from the 1940's with a JL Hudson label in.

    I live in Brighton England so fascinated as to how this coat arrived here in the UK

  13. My Grandmother, Celine Van Goethem, worked downtown in the health food department for 20+ years, turned 65 they made her retire...only to be called back because nobody knew the stock or the clients as well as she did...she worked till 72. She has been gone now for 30 years.

  14. My mother took us to the downtown Hudson's every week during the 1960's. The place was a magical kingdom - especially during Christmas. Since the building was completed in phases during the first part of the 20th century there were always mysterious corners to explore, endless floors, odd step-ups, strange lighting and so forth. I remember the banks of 10-15 elevators that stretched along each floor with brass clanging gates and elevator operators. There were weird lights that indicated up/down with white as up and red as down. We used to say it was heaven and hell. Some of the elevators were 2 deep like a sandwich. I would look through the glass doors to the corresponding doors on the same floor as well as the doors on the floors below me along the bank. You could see down 4 or five floors. And then of course an elevator would rush past in front of you and you would jump back.

    Besides the glorious Christmas displays, toyland, Santaland and the ornaments for sale, I remember that at the top of each escalator was a different Christmas tree decorated with lights and ornaments. The whole place exuded restrained elegance. Ladies dressed-up to go shopping, the restaurants were first-class and the service was terrific.

    I could go on for hours about how much we loved Hudson's. Can you tell that I miss the place greatly? We will never see anything like it again. I'm glad I got to experience that marvelous old store.

    By the way, prints a calendar with pictures if you are interested.

  15. Dear L. Zellin:

    I have practically the same memories. The store's layout was quite unique, with those banks of elevators on each side of the L-shaped alley forming a concourse on each floor, with the departments off to the side.

    Years ago, in school, I found a first floor plan of the place in an old architecture magazine. I should have to try and find it again so it could be posted for all who remember the store to see. Being an architect, I see a lot when I view a plan, maybe others less so. When I did find it the first time, however, it brought back memories like yours.

    My mom spent most of her time in the basements. Whe I was old enough to go off on my own, I remember seeing that the toy department had a "science" room with microscopes, and anything anyone interested in biology could want - - - including huge locusts in formeldahyde for dissection. You would not find that in a department store today!


  16. I worked at Hudson's Crossroads Mall in Kalamazoo, MI. I was in the china/tabletop department. I absolutely loved working there and still have my name badge. At Christmas one holiday I was approached by the visual department and was asked to help decorate the store!! Which I did, so glad to do it! The wonderful memories of Hudson's from childhood is sorely missed.

  17. H U D S O N ' S

    That's how the name was always written on the buildings and the logo on receipts. Most of my visits were to Eastland Mall in Detroit then Lakeside Mall Sterling Heights as a teenager. Hudson's was all class, all service, and all Detroit. Miss it!

  18. My very first "real job" was at Hudson's Northland. The senior staff took the time and patience to tutor each one of us. That was in the days when retail was a respected profession. Things have changed. Customer service is a four letter word, these days. I spent a lot of my childhood at the Hudson's downtown and cried when it was imploded. It was the end of an era.

  19. What was the "Pantry Shop" at Hudson's? It seems to me like it might've been some sort of grocery store of some sort.

    I know a lot of old department stores had bakeries (long before my time, of course, being born not long after the Campeau bankruptcy) but did any have butchers or fish counters?

  20. The Pantry was Hudson's gourmet foods department. Downtown, I believe it was on the first floor of the Farmer Street building, for most of the store's life. At Eastland, near where I grew up, it occupied the 4th floor along with a beauty salon and the store's "Seaway Room" restaurant. It was a pretty large department with a deli counter. The Bakery was on the first floor.

    (Hudson's restaurants were famous for their "Maurice Salad." At the Eastland bakery, they sold the dressing and rolls so customers could enjoy their own Maurice at home. My mom bought both and we tried making the salad one day . . . but I got quite ill afterwards and never, ever ate one again. We found out later that the rolls were not fully baked, and were meant to be served hot, just like in the store. I vow to go to the restaurant at Lakeside and try a Maurice again, after a 40-year hiatus!)

    Some stores did have large grocery operations; Wieboldt's had groceries at its suburban stores; Sibley's in Rochester, New york had a full-line grocery, as did many Eaton's in Canada and Woodward's in Vancouver, BC.

    Macy's in New York had a "Fancy Grocery" on the eighth floor, and a butcher shop on the main floor, along with liquor. A part of Bloomingdale's fame in the 1970s was the lavish "Delicacies" shop in it's Lexington Street Arcade. Neiman Marcus even specialized in foods; it seems that good taste was really important to the great department stores of the past.


  21. What was his name? He was a V.P. of Window trim dept at Hudson's downtown store and retired in about 1956 and moved with his wife to St. Pete area of Florida. He had a pencil thin mustache and white hair and was slight of build. He smoked cigars. Can you help?

  22. DuMouchelle's has 2 windows in their March 2011 catalog up for auction. They have them labeled as JL Hudson windows, but I never remember Hudson's logo looking like those on the windows. Can someone please take a look and let me know if you recognize this logo? Just go to: and type in 0051 in the search box. thanks from

  23. Hudson's opened a store in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in about 1980, anchoring the new expansion of Glenbrook Square mall and becoming the mall's 4th anchor (along with L.S. Ayres, Sears and Penney's. Although much smaller than Ayres, it held it's own fashion-wise. My first pair of designer jeans (Jordache) came from the Hudson's in Glenbrook, and I still own the Pierre Cardin winter gloves my mother bought me there for a Christmas present.

    In the 1990's, all Dayton's and Hudson's stores took on the Marshall Field's name. The Glenbrook Marshall Field's was closed when May Department Stores (who by then owned L.S. Ayres) acquired Marshall FIeld's from Target Corp. The former Hudson's store has been vacant ever since, and has dragged the once high-end "new" part of the mall down with it.

  24. gfcomm:

    This is inded an older logo from The J. L. Hudson Co. It was used prominently on the store, on frosted exterior windows. Pictures from the recent Arcadia Publishing books show the logo, I believe, on these windows. The store also had similar logo, which used flamboyant script lettering, very similar to the Marshall Field & Company MF&Co. logo displayed at the top of that exhibit. I can recall the logo being engraved into oval door handles at the Eastland and Northland stores, I believe, on silverware in the restaurants, and on printed matter, though not in much advertising in my lifetime. Hudson's use of the "Lone Star" font logo (like Rich's, Burdines, etc.) was the most memorable identifier of "Detroit' World-Famous Department Store" for me as a lifetime resident of Michigan.

    The Museum really concentrates on these stores prior to 1980, and by this time, many of them, including Hudson's, were in a severe state of decline, becoming more and more like the "cookie cutter" stores that they became. That they eventually lost their names, their style, their market share, and wound up closing, is no surprise. To illustrate, there was a time when Hudson's didn't pick up phones on Sundays, they started charging for (flimsier) gift boxes, they curtailed delivery, etc. Obviously, they were cutting costs, but also not endaering their customers or seeking to expand their share of the market.


  25. GFCOMM:
    That window is the genuine article. The logo matches the one on my grandmother's charge key from Hudson's.

  26. Does anybody remember anything about "La Cookie"? It was a cookie store that was part of Hudson's - at least at Oakland Mall Thanks!

  27. At the former Woodland Mall location in Grand Rapids, you can see the Hudson's labelscar on the entrance to the mall as clear as day.



  30. I remember one Christmas going with my Mother to Hudsons downtown. I remember the old elevators and the "For Children Only" shop. I remember watching to parade in front of the store at Thanksgiving. It was magical. I am now 56 and live in Texas. I also remember shopping as a teenager at Eastland. That was before they had enclosed mall. You had to go outside from store to store. I used to meet my friend Michele there and we would eat at the Stoffers Restaurant at the mall. Thanks for the wonderful memories.

  31. I remember that, as a child, my mother and I would dress in our Sunday best(including hats and white gloves) to shop in Hudson's big store. Later I tried on wedding dresses in the bridal salon. When my oldest daughter was 13, she entered a contest sponsored by Hudson's and won a wonderful English 13 speed bike. We had to drive downtown to pick it up. What a thrill for her. She is now in her mid forties.

  32. Hello all! I am not sure where to post this so I will try here since there are some obvious Hudson's history buffs on this site. I recently went to a garage sale where an elderly lady was having a sale and she had many, many books for sale. I picked up a book that has on the cover NORMAN ROCKWELL ILLUSTRATOR...By: Arthur L. Guptill. The book reads on the inside that it is a 1st Edition Print from 1946. In the back of the book on the last page is a small sticker that has a picture of a candle followed by the words: HUDSON'S BOOK SHOP DETROIT. There is a faint, small #44 in pencil printed above this sticker. Now for the cool part....on the first page....inside the most beautiful signature of NORMAN ROCKWELL I have ever seen!! I went on Ebay and there are no copies of this book anywhere....and the signature matches up to all of the autographs on Ebay that are authenticated PSA/DNA and list between $3000 and $10,000!! Any idea where I would begin to sell something like this to a collector who would value it much more than I? The book is in great condition with just a few dents in the outer cover....all pages are intact and the book is in amazing shape! Help!

  33. Hudson's was a great store. It seems to have been a living creature that welcomed your senses when you walked into the store. My Family lived off Woodward Ave., in Pleasant Ridge on Ridge Road. I recall my Father loading up the Family and taking us all to Hudson's to shop and spend the day down there. That was the best, a ride in a brand new 1953 red Buick Road Master convertible and going to Hudson's on Woodward Ave. On the way home, we would stop at a place to eat called the North Wood Inn, on Woodward just in Royal Oak area. Both places are gone now, and the Buick has long vanished, my Father passed away in the year 2001, but the memories are still there. Thank you for having this website. I enjoy reading so very much what everyone has posted.
    Daniel S., Native Michigander.

  34. My family grew up in Dearborn in the 1950's. My Grandparent [ and sometimes parents ] used to take us to the Downtown Detroit store. Had to deal with my rotund polish grandmother taking us to the budget basement to shop for bras and girdles. One of my best memories were some boys shoes that my brother and I got, either from Downtown or Northland. They were black dress shoes with a sliding clip that you would lift up to open them. Would love to find a picture of these.

    A sad day when 13 floors of memories came crashing down..

  35. It was a sad day indeed!

    I also got dragged around while my mom shopped for "bras and girdles." I joke with my wife and ask her when was the last time she bought a "girdle."

    Perhaps someone remembers those shoes and can point you towards a photo.


  37. Dear BAK,
    The archival photographs of Van Gruen's Northland Shopping Center on your blog are very interesting. I was wondering where you sourced these, or are these perhaps from your own collection? I'm a Picture Researcher at Phaidon Press currently working on a large scale book - The Phaidon Atlas of 20th Century World Architecture - that will feature Victor Gruen's Northland Shopping Center. We are looking to source good quality interior and exterior photographs of this building for reproduction in our book. I would be very grateful if you could advise on the availability of the photographs on your blog. I look forward to hearing from you, with kind regards, Zofia

  38. Dear Zofia:

    Can you please leave me an e-mail address to contact you?


  39. The Saint Clair Shores Public Library has a marvelous Display of J L Hudson Store artifacts for publis viewing through August 30th, 2011
    We were just there....We loved it!!!!

  40. Thanks! I will be there, no doubt about it!


  41. Hi i recently inherited an original gone with the wind hardcover printed in June 1936 first edition and on back inside cover is an original sticker from Hudson's Book Shop Detroit. it is dark brown with ivory lettering and has a candle picture in the corner. I currently have a few offers but ran across this site and thought you may be interested in purchasing.Please contact me @prinnann@yahoo

  42. I remember shopping at the Hudson's at Franklin Park in Toledo in the early 1990's, as a student at the University of Toledo. It was a great store!! Does anyone have any photos of "The Pewter Pub" restaurant at the Toledo Hudson's?

  43. I was young and it was a very long time ago. The memory is nebulous, but vivid. We got on a train/streetcar in the area of Oakland Blvd. and rode into the basement of Hudson's. Me carrying my mother's purse makes this memory vivid for a young boy. Fact or fiction?

  44. dhill2400@yahoo.com29 October, 2011 14:34

    I used to work at Hudson's as a 2nd job during the holiday season year after year. Eventually I decided to apply for a position in the Hearing Aid Dept. and was soon promoted as a asst. mgr. working btw. Oakland Mall & Summit Place. I really enjoyed all of the customers as well as the employees.
    Hudson's was my first charge card at 21 yrs. old. How times have changed.

  45. Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant on the 3rd floor of Hudson's at Southland Mall?

  46. The Pontiac Mall branch apparently started as a Budget Store (later, apparently, as the store expanded to full line, the Budget Store moved to the basement). Did the branch stores have all the departments as the main store, and when did Hudson's really start to jettison departments?

  47. That is correct. Hudson's had budget stores on the lower level of most of its stores, and a number free-standing ones as well. I remember budget stores in Dearborn (Michigan at Telegraph) and Madison Heights (12 Mile and John R).

    Hudson's had a huge range of merchandise. I once wandered into a room in the downtown store with various creatures (a giant locust, for example) in formaldehyde for dissection; Their book shop was the best and most comprehensive in the whole area, including the suburban branches. While my mom shopped, I browsed the books; finding an album of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright was clearly the moment I decided to study architecture.

    Up until the 1970s, Hudson's still had paint, hardware, sporting goods, health and beauty aids, etc. As the 80s approached, these departments shrunk to the degree that they became meaningless. The store began to focus on (mostly) apparel, and lost its status, in my opinion, as a place which could be counted on to have "the best of everything."

    You can see, from the size of the branches, that they were large and carried much of the same merchandise as the downtown store, but as the years rolled on, and the stores became smaller, they were less comprehensive.

    Strangely, at Lakeside, where one Hudson's store carried all of this merchandise, there are now Macy's stores that carry clothing and a very limited selection of home furnishings merchandise, comprising the original Hudson's and the former Crowley's location.


  48. Hello what Kind of Piano's where sold at Hudson's

  49. Reminded of the Hudson's here in Toledo at Franklin Park right now. I miss what a department store use to be personally looking back on all that.

  50. I think we all miss it, Christopher . . . there's just nothing like the traditional department store any longer. It seems especially so during Christmas time.


  51. I was 17 when my family moved from Detroit to California, way back in 1947. I have nostalgic memories of Hudson's. It was the nicest department store in all of Michigan. My father wanted to buy a fur coat for my Mom as a Christmas present. Prices and his budget didn't allow him to purchase one on the upper floor. We were gently guided to "perhaps you would like to shop in the basement part of the store?" Well, she did not want a fur coat after all. That is, unless Dad could afford a nicer quality one. We then moved to California and she ended up not needing one after all.

    But.....I shopped at Hudson's at least once a month during those teen years. So sorry that it has been torned down. What were the city fathers thinking off? Shame, shame! It was such a beautiful building.

  52. My grandmother worked as a buyer for J.L. Hudson's back in the 1940's. We think my grandfather might have worked at Hudson's as well. (He passed away when my dad was a little boy, so we don't have much information about him). Do you know if there is a way to get old employee history? My father is 90 years old and has very little if any recollection of his dad. Any information you can provide would be much appreciated. Thank you.....we too have fond memories of shopping "downtown"! Downtown was Hudson's.

  53. You may want to check with Macy's midwest. The State Street store has a museum and archive which may have some information, since Hudson's became first a part of Dayton Hudson Corp.; later a part of The May Co. and finally Federated Department stores, or Macy's. The Macy's in Minneapolis may also be a place where records for Hudson's are held. Also, the Detroit Historical Museum, or even - tax or social security records may shed light on your grandfather's history.

    Good luck!

    1. Wow! Fantastic site. Not sure how I even stumbled on to it. Fate. I too have very faint, but wonderful memories of my mom taking me to Hudson's downtown when I was about 4, not only to shop, but to have those yummy chicken pot pies from the cafeteria on the mezzanine. There was also a store about a block away from Hudson's that would make fresh Caramel popcorn. It smelled and tasted terrific. Thanks for the delicious memories. -- missin michigan

  54. Thank you for helpful information.

  55. Kewl. I remember Detroit's Downtown Hudson's from when I was a little tot. My Grandmother shopped there alot in the 1950's & 1960's. The elevators were classic with that old time design & old light fixtures not unlike the Macys in the 1947 Christmas film "34th Street".

  56. When is this directory from? Also, do you have one from the early 1980s, when the departments started to really shrink and consolidate?


  57. Hello, Pseudo3D!

    The directory is put together from memory, newspaper advertising, and various sources. Even before the consolidations, things moved around a bit, so no one directory is 100% accurate over the life of this marvelous store.

    The way it was butchered toward the end is something I'd rather not remember . . .


  58. PS...

    I just got back from Lakeside Mall and had the Maurice Salad I was talking about earlier. After a 40-some year hiatus, it looks like it it will stay down this time!

    It was quite good, and I have to say that the restaurant at Lakeside which is a vestige of the great hospitality of The J. L. Hudson Company is as good a place as any to capture the sense of the classic department store restaurant!


  59. Did any of the Hudson's branches have auto centers? It looks like the Pontiac Mall/Summit Place Mall one may have it had one at some point (later converted to outside-facing stores, apparently)

  60. Jill Morgan Banchoff22 December, 2011 11:55

    Hudson's has many fond memories for me throughout my life. As a child living in Detroit, I used to go downtown with my mom on the bus. Always a wonderful adventure.
    After high school I began working at the Pontiac Mall. In the woman's accessory department and fine and costume jewelry departments. I began working during the holiday as a trainee manager. This was all during the time that we went from being a family owned company, to being part of Dayton's.

    In 1976 I moved to Saginaw, to open the Fashion Square Mall Store. I managed the Children's Departments. This is where the biggest change in my life came, when I met my husband who was an inventory control auditor.
    In 1979 he became a traveling auditor with an office downtown. I transferred to Twelve Oaks and was a manager of Rainbow Women's departments.
    Pete was an auditor for the Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Westland, South Bend, Lansing, Fort Wayne and Kalamazoo stores. I would often travel with him on his visits to see the new stores and visit with many of my old friends. My favorite and Best Boss ever was Dennis Toffolo was always a treat to see.

    Pete was one of the last people out of the Downtown store when it locked up for the last time. Truly a sad day in our lives.

    Pete left the company in 1985 and that was the end of almost 2 decades of our lives in the Hudson's family. We will both be Hudsodians at heart forever.

  61. Dear Jill:

    Thanks for your comments . . . I for one am glad that you remain a Hudsonian!

    Knowing how the store formed a part of my family's life, I can only imagine the attachment you have to its memory as such a loyal employee; it is truly bound up in your history.

    I have such vivid memories of shopping in the Downtown and Eastland stores; it causes me not to enjoy shopping so much anymore, knowing what Hudson's was like in the "glory days." There always seemed to be something new and exciting around every corner.

    I will soon be writing a capsule history to accompany this post, so please visit often.



  62. Jill Morgan Banchoff22 December, 2011 17:41

    FYI- Woodland opened in 1975 and Saginaw in 1976.

  63. I have the bronze plaque that was mounted to the building. Wonder what it would be worth if anything. It weighs about 50 pounds

    1. I have been looking to purchase one of those bronze plaque's for quite sometime. Would you consider selling it? Please e-mail me at THANKS!

    2. I would be very interested also in purchasing the bronzed plaque are looking to seel email is

      Thank you,


  64. Dear Anonymous,

    I have been looking to purchase one of those bronze plaque's for quite sometime. Would you consider selling it? Please e-mail me at THANKS!

  65. You forgot to mention the Northland mall Branch. I think it was one of oldest branches .We lived very close to it just off 9 mile road. Some times on Sunday afternoons my brothers and sisters and I would ride our bikes around the mall,back then they were closed on Sundays.
    Mostly everyone I knew worked at Hudson's at one time in their life including myself I worked there for about 10 years at Northland of course.

  66. I have some old J. L. Hudson & Co, vinyl record storage books. Where would I go to find out if they are worth anything. Thank you.

  67. I recently found this early 1900's WWI style naval cap made of black velvet from the Thompson Hudson Company of Toledo. This was a collaboration of JL hudson with another Toledo retail magnet. The store changed ownership in 1923 when JL hudson left the business. I believe this is an early part of Hudson history. Does anyone know anything more about it? Here's a link to the ebay listing where I am selling it.

  68. Does anyone remember what the name of the restaurant was on the 4th floor of Hudson's at Northland Mall?

  69. Does anyone know if there is a publication that has photos of all of the former elevator operators at the Hudson's in Downtown Detroit? I'm fairly certain my great grandmother told me years ago that she was one of the first and she showed me a photo of her with all of the original operators. Now that I am getting older, I realize that "old stuff" actually is interesting!

    1. I recently acquired a 1925 Buescher Bass saxophone finished in silver plate - very rare. The neck is engraved "J.L. Hudson Music Department". It was apparently purchased by the Hamtramck school system as their name is nicely engraved on the bell of the horn. The Arcadia book on Hudson's states that there was a piano and musical instrument department located on the 13th floor of the Detroit Headquarters. I'm putting together a video on the history and restoration of this instrument. Anyone have any information at all about the music department or instruments, or instrumental sales to local school districts? Thanks!

  70. Anyone have the recipe for their cookies?

  71. I'm looking for some wedding negatives from J L Hudsons wedding photographer from 1970. Can anyone help?

    Michael Anderson

  72. Wondering if anyone can direct me to photos or movies of the christmas trains on the 12th floor? Great memories!

  73. Anyone work at Oakland Mall store in the 1970s? I worked there from 1973-1979 and my Dad was COO of Hudsons when he retired in 1979. J.L. Hudson IV (Foury) also worked at Oakland one summer while attending U of M.

  74. My husband has two oil paintings his father bought for Hudson'd. They are dated 1966 and numbered but we see no sign of the artist. The brown paper still covers the back but we don't want to remove it to take the photos out of the frames. I need suggestions on where a can take them to be appraised.

  75. My great grandfather, Walker T. Wright was head of operations at Hudson's on Woodward for over 30 years. I am going through my mother's personal affects and am finding numerous historical pieces that highlight Mr. Wright's dedication and service to Hudson's. Mrs. Wright, my Nana lived until 1987 and my childhood was surrounded by Hudson's. I am searching for anyone that collects memorabilia of this nature. I can be reached at

  76. This is a gorgeous site, I became fascinated with regional department stores about 30 years ago, and especially with J.L.Hudson's, when the Detroit Historical Site had several hundred interior photos taken in what was either the late 1940s through the early '50s. They're not online anymore, and I'm so hoping they show back up again! I'm going to spend the better part of my evening on this site!

  77. I started to work as a stock boy on the third floor in bed and bath departments in 1967. Three months later the buyer for those departments promoted me to be his assistant with an office in their new warehouse in Dearborn. Hudons was the most amazing store that anyone could imagine. The store had the largest switchboard in the world after the Pentagon and had a hospital with three doctors and 50 beds.

  78. As a child in the late 1970s and 1980's, I had the pleasure of my mother always taking me to Hudson's downtown store. I can agree with those who share my joy of memories that it was truly an experience that one cannot fully describe in English for those too young to have experienced this great cultural icon. Being whisked on the express elevators to the 12th floor to see Santa was like being n a fairy tale in the city. I didn't know until years after it closed how unique this particular flagship department store building actually was. It was THE WORLDS TALLEST DEPARTMENT STORE BUILDINGS!!!! It boggles my mind. Today, I affectionately visit the Macy's State Street midwest flagship store in Chicago (formerly Marshall Field's flagship----ironically Hudson's corporate twin) to futilely attempt to relive Hudson's. Thankfully, Chicago has made great effort to keep these buildings alive so that a fraction of the old grandeur is preserved. There will never be anger Hudson's. While I have visited other grand department store buildings across the US and Canada, none are as tall or unusual as Detroit tall "grand dame". Thank you for this website. Shame on you Detroit for destroying Hudson's and Crowley's!!!!!!! Bless you Chicago for doing your best to keep your "Hudson's" preserved!!

  79. I remember Hudson's very well.
    The wonderful Thanksgiving Parade and the beautiful
    window displays.
    Hudsons was all Class with their 20 plus floors of beautiful merchandise. As a child I remember taking the street car down Gratiot spend the day at
    Hudson's shopping the sales. We shopped mostly in the basement, which we could afford
    It was fun to ride the elevator and go look at all the expensive clothing on the upper floors and the rich folks that could afford them. My mother worked on the telephone order board (TOB)and had knowledge of all great bargains. We really had nice linens and clothing from the sales she was privy to. I am sure she spent what ever she made at Hudson's buying things for the house and clothing for us five kids.
    When I became a young adult and a nurse working at
    Detroit General Hospital. I would shop there for my
    party clothes at the "A Nice Girl Shop".
    I swear they used a photo of me on their bag to promote their stylish 70s clothing and I was HOT.
    My sister sent me a piece of brick from Detroit General and Hudson's Department store.
    I still have fond memories of Detroit when the neighborhood where I grew up was clean and safe.
    Its a shame I cant go back to visit the old neighbor hood. All those beautiful homes and well kept yards are a thing of the past. A long ago memory. Its all been destroyed. What a shame.

  80. My mother worked at Hudson's for a short time in the '30s. I still have the china that she bought her parents, and just gave the dining set she bought them to a furniture restorer. I still have her silverware in the original Hudson's divider.
    I too remember trips to Hudson's as a child, wearing my white gloves and best clothes. One time my brother, about 4 years old, wandered off and there was an announcement about a little lost boy. My mother was so embarrassed! My favorite lunch item was the pot pie--no comparison! Mom loved the Maurice salad.
    Thanks for all of the memories! Mom and I watched the demolition with tears in our eyes.

  81. Yes, wonderful memories of a place that once was very representative of the best that Detroit had to offer.

    I may have mentioned it above, but I cringed on the day they imploded it, and the then-mayor cheered and applauded!

    I personally was in St. Petersburg, Russia, on that day, browsing Gostinniy Dvor, a department store built in the 18th century and still going strong, beautifully renovated and crowded with people.



  83. I worked for Hudson's from 10/71 to 4/85. Started at Oakland as a stock boy in the lamp/picture department and then the bedding department while attending college at Wayne State University. I then transferred to Lakeside and worked in the bedding department there. After college graduation I accepted a management trainee position as an assistant buyer in the Downtown store in the Men's sweater and knits department. I then was offered a transfer to the Novi store as men's sportswear department manager and later bedding/draperies department manager. I was then promoted to Divisional Manager at the Woodland Mall store.
    I cannot begin to tell you what an impact working for Hudson's had on my life. And the many people who influenced and shaped my career.
    But the one man who stands out and really championed my success was John Marakas. He was our Group Vice President at the time and really was a integral part of my career (although I didn't realize this at the time :-) ). Just alot of great memories working there. I'll just share one story.
    I was working as an assistant buyer in Downtown during DDD days and all of the assistants had to sort through all of the clearance merchandise that was stored in the upper floors (boxes and boxes of marked down merchandise). we would run the old service elevators to get the merchandise to the main floor to price and mark for the Downtown Detroit Days Sales events. what a job! My office was in the northwest corner of the mezzanine behind the record department (this was 1979).
    Anyway, just wanted to share some memories

  84. I grew up in Detroit and every Saturday we took the Gratiot bus to downtown and visit many stores. My favorite was J.L Hudsons during the holidays. They had a special area for little ones to go shopping without their parents or older sibling's. Hudson's had a little sitting area for the adults and the kids went into the area to shop. It was great! I also remember the operators for the elevators, they were so nice.

  85. Ah - those were the days! I remember eating on the 13th floor and looking out over the city -so elegant a place! It was the chicken pot pie that was my favorite and the shrimp salad sandwich that you could get on a snack bar on the mezzanine. It was right near the escalator and it had cheese bread toasted.

    Hudson's was the place - but we always met under the Kern's clock and then headed over to Hudson's - sorry Kern's!

  86. And by the way - I think the Dearborn Hudson's budget store was at Greenfield and Michigan - not Telegraph.

  87. You are right about that . . .

  88. Oh, the marvelous memories! My mother worked at Hudson's downtown, then later at Eastland. she worked in wrapping, china, lingerie. She met a lady there who became a lifelong friend. i remember getting dressed up to go shopping, and free alterations for clothing--how I hated standing on that little podium while the seamstress pinned up my clothing!

    Christmas time was special at Hudson's, the window displays, the Children's Only shop, Santa, etc. I remember my Grandfather buying me my first Barbie doll in the toy dept, I still have her--a bridal doll!

    Oh, yes, the green delivery trucks. You knew you were getting something special when the green truck stopped in front of your house. Well, I just have to tell this story---I was about 14, and was too embarassed to buy tampons. So, I pinched my mother's cc, called Hudson's and had a box of tampons delivered. It just happened the box was delivered on her birthday. Up pulls the Hudson's truck a small package, oh, she was so thrilled. What could it be--jewelry, china, a hat? She waited until we all came home that night to open her "present" Imagine her reaction---we never forgot that! Oh, yes, Hudson's was part of our lives!

  89. Goodness gracious! That is a hilarious story! You, like me must have grown up on Detroit's once-lovely East Side. All that you mention lives on in the memories of so many. Times change and it is hard to put into words things like how familiar those olive-green delivery trucks were.

    Thank you for sharing the memories.


  90. Oh, yes, I grew up on the East Side, the mack-charlevoix_Chalmers area. It was such a lovely area back then. We used to take the bus downtown, such a thrill. I also remember Woolworth's, we waited there for the return bus, we always got a snack of waffles and hot chocolate.

    Its a shame the old Detroit died, there will never be another place like it!

  91. The green trucks delivered to the west side as well! I grew up in southwest Detroit and remember my mom calling the "personal shopper" on Monday for stuff that was on sale in Sunday's news. Then Tuesday the truck pulled up and the green bag was full.

    I remember the lounge on the (I think) 4th floor where you could put your packages in a locker, have a coke or something and then go back and shop some more. There were a few ladies who hung out there and we called them theh "bag ladies". Wonder if they were?

  92. I became interested, because I have a beautiful black sable full length coat. I got it in a small mid-west second hand store. It is still in perfect condition. The stitching and design inside and out are beautiful!

  93. Interested in selling a signed "Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator hardcover," may be Time Life Edition, printed 1970. It has 328 pages, with slide outs as well as 614 prints within. It is in excellent condition, and dedicated to a "Marjorie Wilmott," signed "cordially, Norman Rockwell... his actual signature and penmanship. Please let me know what is the best approach to get it into the hands of reputable collector's, my email is: thanks so much.

  94. I was a former J.L. Hudson's employee at the Franklin Park Mall in Toledo, Ohio from 1974-1978...loved that store... they had the best merchandise... had a great job there as part time sales clerk and PBX operator while going to the University of Toledo... great the way got my degree in Marketing and am now living in the Florida Keys where life is great...JL you started it all for me!!!!!!!

  95. Hello,
    What a wonderful walk down memory lane! I am wondering if anyone remembers the cheese cake loaf sold at the bakery? We frequented Genesee Valley growing up in the 70's but also traveled to Detroit for the 'special' visits. If you remember the cheesecake loaf, does anyone have a recipe or recall some ingredients? it was very dense and did not have a crust.

  96. As an Executive Trainee in the early 60s, I was asked once for what I was training. Without hesitation, I said "President".
    Would love the recipe for the pot pie.
    Also, the Maurice Salad was originally from the Netherland Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati. Maurice was the chef there. Hudson's made some changes to the dressing. It was a staple at the counter on the Mezzanine. Both were wonderful. Have the original recipe.

  97. I worked for Hudson's loss prevention and am looking to buy a Hudson's security badge. Please email

  98. I have a pearl neckless that was my grandmothers from Hudson department store and wanted to a Little more about it who could i go to too ask more aboug them they r in the orangal box

  99. Who was the last CEO of Hudson's before Dayton's? I consulted for Tom Paup at the warehouse on Warren Ave and Hubbel. Tom worked directly for the CEO. Tom became CFO for Montgomery Ward.
    There was also a store in Traverse City in the new mall.

  100. I worked at the downtown store during my late teens, 1968-1772.
    Wrapping dept and stock. There were 4 basements, 2 under the 2nd basement retail. They were stock staging and maintenance areas. We would take the "Package Pick-UP"elevator to the roof and throw paper airplanes, that's all I'll admit to. I got to work all over the store,usually toys at Christmas.
    There was nothing like it, Detroit in its heyday, like NYC today.

  101. I was just given a fur coat with "The J.L. Hudson Co. Detroit" tag in it. Also another tag from "A Lesley Creation a symbol of fine pelts". I'm curious as to when Hudson's may have sold this line as to the coat's age and would like to verify the type of pelt it may be. Can anyone help me? It has a brown silk lining with blue and pink or tan print on it, and initials imprinted on tags sewn into the lining. HELP??

  102. I think you mean before Dayton's and Hudson's merged? I was in the downtown store in "69 in the Interior Design Studio (before the merger) so J. L. Huson , the nephew of the Webers, was the CEO. His office was on the 12th floor and was quite intimitating and elegant.

  103. I have in my inventory the Marvel or Granit Planters Rings from one of the Hudson Stores Fronts . I would make trust the historical value to a new owner.

  104. I was part of the team that dismantled Hudson's downtown and I am selling off several pieces of the building that I saved. If anyone is interested in purchasing some of these pieces, please feel free to contact me at I can send you photos and prices. Thanks in advance for any interest.

  105. It would take a small book to recount my history with J.L.Hudson Co. In 1963 I was a college student attending The Detroit Institute of Technology in downtown Detroit. In October of that year I became a contingent - on call - employee at JL Hudson. It was my first work experience. When I graduated in 1966, I was promoted to Hudson's Executive Training program which was designed to bolster the store's buying staff. As part of that program I was promoted to Department Manager of the children's department at the new Pontiac Mall store. Being a manager of a department within the Hudson organization was tantamount to being the owner of an entrprenurial venture; In 1968 I was promoted to assistant buyer of children's accessories and returned to the main store. In the ensuing years I have held many positions; most recently CEO of a 42 yr old Detroit non-profit (recently retired). I can truthfully say that my experience with the JL Hudson Co. laid a strong foundation for all of the successes I have had in my long career.

  106. I just happened on this site because I needed the address or the J.L. Hudson store on Woodward. I was asked to give my complete employment history and I was not sure it was 1206 or 1200 Woodward Ave. I've read all the posts and thought I would add my own. My experience at Hudson's was awesome. I was fortunate to become an assistant buyer through the Executive Training Program right after graduation the business school at MSU in 1967. My first job was that of assistant buyer in furniture. I learned from the best. The executive Vice President of the home furnishings division, George Scala, was one of my mentors. I was promoted to assistant buyer of large home appliances and was flown all over the country in private jets by GE, Westinghouse, etc visiting their facilities. Wow what an experience. My favorite memory was walking to the employee garage with Mr. J.L. Hudson, Jr. dressed in my black hat, overcoat and umbrella. We talked about business at the store and other general topics. I was in awe of this man as he was the head of the company and he would always speak to and ask how things were going. Another individual I will never forget was the Vice President of the Home Furnishings Division, Mr. George Scala. This was Mr. Executive! He took me under his wing and we became business friends throughout my carrier at Hudson's. He was a great man. After all I was in my early twenties and these we big, important people in the retail industry. They taught me honest and sound business practices that I have now instilled in my sound who is President of the furniture company O founded in 1973. I will never forget the education I got from working at the greatest department store in Detroit.

  107. I would like to purchase one of the bronze store name plaques that were mounted to the building. I would like to display it for young and old. Name your price.

  108. Need to add to locations was a 2 story store at University Park Mall in South Bend, IN. This was completed in the late 1970's. Unfortunately through buyouts and bankruptcies, this store succumed like the rest and was demolished leaving 3 dept stores in the mall.

  109. Being a child of northern New Jersey I never experienced JL Hudson's but as an avid automobile lover knew the name well. How many JL Hudson shoppers know that in 1909 JL Hudson provided the capital for Roy D. Chapin to establish the Hudson Motor Car Company?

  110. Or that the Hudson Motorcar Company was merged in the 1950s with Nash, forming American Motors, whose Rambler car was a success, promoted by Mitt Romney's father, George Romney, who later also became a well-appreciated governor of Michigan.

    How history comes full circle!

  111. I purchased a China cabinet in 2001 from an estate sale. It has "part "of a store lable stapled to the back L. Hudson Company, Detroit Mi "Jamestown". Trying to find info on how old this piece might be.

  112. My mother has an old leather and fur coat from Hudson's Leather Shop, J L Hudson has nothing about what its made from...I wanna say bear..but not sure...Would u have any clue as to how I might find out and how much its worth etc? Thanks so much Thomas

  113. I have wonderful memories of Hudson's in the 40's and 50's. I lived in NW Detroit and Mom and I would ride the Fenkell bus downtown. I loved the Mezzanine and, of course, the 12th floor. We would usually have lunch on the 13th floor where my favorite meal was chicken pot pie. Sometimes we ate at Greenfield's Cafeteria. I still remember the exotic scents of the perfume department and the aroma of leather in the coat department. I still have an oval-shaped coin of my mother's that was used to charge items long before plastic. Packages were nearly always sent home and arrived in the Hudson's truck the next of charge. Downtown Detroit was amazing and holds a special place in my heart.

  114. Bruce:

    I really enjoy your website and learning about the various department stores across the US. I am from Dayton and knew Rikes and Elder-Beerman very well and also went on downtown shopping expeditions to Pogues, McAlpins and Shillitos in Cincinnati as well as to Lazarus in Columbus. All were a bit different from each other and had their own special character.

    After reading the comments your site visitors have made, it has become quite obvious that with retailing, things have not moved forward, but have slipped in terms of good quality, service, and the wonderful experiences of the flagship downtown department stores. (Even some of the suburban store seem so much nicer than a typical Macy's today)

    I think you should write a book on the Detroit Department stores- Hudsons, Crowley's and Kerns. I am sure they were all unique and had their own personalities. I have the Remebering Hudson's book from Arcadia Press- a lot of great photos and captions, but there needs to be more about the "experince" of shopping there, like what has been captured in several of the comments posted on your blog.

    Thank you for all your work in preserving department store history.


  115. My Mom just died at age 97; she and Dad purchased a Robert Wood painting in 1963 for $350 and it is of mountains. What a memory Hudsons is for us.

  116. I remember riding the bus downtown with my beloved Grandmother in the early 1960's. She didn't drive and most grandmas did not back then. It was my special time with her. I remember getting to pull the cord above our bus seat to let the bus driver know we wanted off at the next stop. One of the funniest stories - well, funny now but not so funny back then - was when my uncle, who is only two years older then me, got lost and we left the store without him. My grandfather came home from work (at Ford Motor Company) and said "where is my son"? Well, my grandmother tearfully said I couldn't find him and I had to come home to start dinner. My grandfather returned to the store where his 8-year-old son was still having a grand ole time riding the escalators or elevators, can't remember which. We still laugh about it!

  117. Wow! What a fantastic site! I'm now 60, but I can remember going downtown with my mom on days off from my Catholic school, the day after Thanksgiving - so I could tell the "real" Santa Claus what I wanted for Christmas - (other places just had men dressing up as Santa) and in the summer too. It was always such a treat to go to Hudson's. Hudson's prices were above my dad's factory income, so we didn't buy a lot from there. But I remember the shopping area specifically for kids at Christmas time to buy for their parents. I remember my mom buying sewing patterns and material at downtown Hudson's too. I also recall crossing over a "street" going through revolving doors and I believe that was going into the Farmer side store.
    In the early 80s, I worked downtown and used to go over to Hudson's on my lunch hour to shop, but I think now, in hindsight, to just "suck in" the memories of what once was. There will never ever be another place like it.
    I also have memories of Eastland as an open mall and the lion with the mouse. My mom and dad bought me a lot of Nancy Drew books from Eastland Hudson's. We often went there after dinner on Friday nights, shopped a little bit, then went to my aunt and uncle's in East Detroit so my parents could play poker with them and others.
    Lakeside's Hudson's/Marshall Fields/Macy's is nothing today compared to what once was - downtown Detroit Hudson's. Oh, the memories!
    BAK - you seem to have just a wealth of knowledge about Hudson's. Do you have an email? Michele B.

  118. Hello, Michele!

    You and I share many memories of that incredible place. I worked downtown, too in the late 1970s-1980s and spent many lunch-hours at Hudson's. Eastland was our "neighborhood store" and Lakeside is the nearest "remnant" of Hudson's to my home.

    You can e-mail me at


  119. My Mother was a childrens fashion illustrator for Hudsons in the 1960-mid 1970's. Any tips on how I could track down some of her Art work??? My mothers name is Beverley Vredenburg-Gunther my email is

  120. Regarding Josephine Rothrock, Nov 6, 2010. I have some boxes that Hudson's would give customers when they purchased items like coats or suits. Would you be interested in purchasing?
    They are green-colored with the logo and in excellent condition.

  121. My grandfather began working for Hudson's in the restaurant in 1939 as a busboy, he went away to WWII and came back to become a furniture delivery driver for years. He retired sometime in the 70's after a refrigerator slipped and he hurt his back. He loved Hudson's so much and told everyone about his life working for Hudson's all those years. My mother got her wedding dress there as well in 1979. I was looking for more information on the Hudson's restaurant in the downtown location. My grandfather was Donald Nelson, his friends sometimes called him Lord Nelson. If anyone remembers him or anything about the restaurant please email me:

  122. Hudson's used to do a Cinderella promotion once a year. They had a glass slipper and you sat down and tried to get your foot in it. Don't know if it ever fit anyone! As a consolation prize you were given a doll in a clear case. Does anyone have any pictures of this event or know of where I can get one?

  123. I especially miss Hudson's at Christmas. We always took the kids to see Santa and shop the Childrens only shop. We stil have some of the gifts they selected for family. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch at the Gas Company's Top Of The Flame. Great memories. Nothing can compare to Hudson's.

  124. This summer we acquired a vintage Santa, 7 1/2 foot tall. We were told he came from the Hudson store downtown Detroit. Wondering if anyone had an idea if this is fact? My husband and I are thinking he's from the 30's 40's or 50's just not sure. I can send pictures for review. He is just magnificent, the detail on him is real craftmenship, from the carving details of the toys in his sack to the wrinkles in his pants. He has glass eyes that you could swear are twinkleing at you. I had once heard that the Hudson stores destroyed all decorations after each season, so if he is infact from the Hudson store, his survival in incredible.Would appreciate any insight you may have. contact at

  125. My grandmother would take to Hudson's downtown in he new 1950 Ford, I was 7. It was always a special shopping trip. She would dress in her Sunday best with hat and white cloves. Every purchases was made with her charge coin and of course delivered. In my early teens I would take the bus from Garden City down town to spend Saturdays at Hudson's. When I got a car I would go shopping at Northland. In the l960's my mother work at Hudson's budget store in Lincoln Park on Fort Street. She was a store detective. I have an old smoking jacket it is wool, label is in script was a crest in the upper left side. I have had it for 50 years, and it was quite old when I acquired it. I have many wonderful memories of the J L Hudson Co. and Detroit.

  126. Thanks for this. It is wonderful!

  127. We lived in the Thumb - Mom & Dad were "Detroit fans" and would take us to Hudson's maybe 4-5 times a year. Dad had to have a Maurice salad, I would buy a book from the Mezzanine bookstore, then play one of pianos or organs on the 13th floor. So very special...

  128. I just picked up a rose blanket with the J.L Hudson's Detroit label on it from the thrift store..I lived down the road from there in the 70' s and 80' s.We could never afford to shop there much but my mom would manage to buy pussy willows from the flower shop every so often. It was by far my fondest memory of my childhood down there...

  129. J L Hudsons was a magical place at Christmas time. In the 1950's I visited Santa every year in J L Hudsons and strolled through a whole floor of toys of Hop A Long Cassidy, Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers cap gun outfits, of Lionel trains with whistles and crossing guards. I remember the big police officer on Woodward Avenue with the leather leggings directing the throngs of traffic safely into J L Hudsons.

    Oh who can forget those highly polished brass water fountains. Yes Detroit was the capital of the world and J L Hudsons was the palace.

    But as misfortune would have it J L Hudsons became Hudsons which became Marshall Fields which became Macy's.


    Oh yeah, buy your girl a gift from J L Hudsons & you had to display that box to the world as you delivered it to the girl of your dreams.

    Maybe someday another Joseph L. Hudson will open a majestic 1st class store with all the opulence, grandeur and mystique of J L HUDSONS.

  130. Hello,
    I love reading all these memories! I'm a writer working on a novel that takes place in a department store like Hudson's (in fact based on Hudson's) in the early 1960s. I have questions for anyone who knows: was the 50 bed hospital for the city or for staff? Was the switchboard just for within the building? I love how it sounds like a city within itself. Any comments welcome--any details! You can email me at

  131. I have in possession one of the first credit cards from J. L. Hudsons It is a bronze key fob with the credit card number engraved in it. Does anyone know if it worth anything? It was my grandmothers.

  132. Can someone show me a picture of the original J.L.Hudson shopping bags and the changes to the bags over the years?

  133. My father worked at J.L.Hudson's for most of my life. He was transferred to He brought to the company their first IBM computer...and it took up an entire room! Oh it was so much fun playing with the confetti left over from the key punch cards! Do you remember the sound of the creaking wood floors...and the clanking sound of the elevator gates? I have more memories from inside that store than I do from inside my home at the time. Ha!

  134. My email address is if anyone can forward me pictures of the shopping bags. My daughter gave me an old paper bag she found with the J.L.Hudson logo on it...and it doesn't seem to look like the original bag. I am trying to remember the original. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  135. What a treasure this site is! I looked up Hudsons Book S hop and this is where I got to. I have a 1919 copy of "Fighting The Flying Circus". The author is Capt. Edward V. Rickenbacker. It is, I assume, first edition. It has the Hudson's Book Shop label in the back. The book is in wonderful condition. If anyone is interested in this book please email me at Frances

  136. I have one of the pink Buntikins by Walter J. Munro. It was purchased at the Baby's Own Shop of the JL Hudson Co in Detroit in late 1959. It was mine as a baby.

  137. One of my favorite stories about my grandfather's time at Hudson's was when he and others would be sent to set up the Christmas trees at the homes of some of the more influential people of the Detroit area such as Henry Ford or the Dodge's. It seems Mrs. Dodge had new ornaments brought for her trees yearly and she would take them from the box and inspect each one carefully. If it made inspection, it went up on the tree. If it did not it was smashed. After the trees were taken down the ornaments went back to Hudson's and were either available to the Display staff to buy or take home. I have some beautiful leaded glass balls from Germany which weigh a ton, but do not shatter if dropped, and from France 2 white frosted bells. They sit prominently in my china cabinet, as they are the last of three dozen which succumbed to the years. I also have two brass bells with Prince Matchabelli engraved upon them. I believe at one time they were the display cover for one of the perfumes sold by that company at Hudson's. I remember watching the Giant flag be unfurled over the side of the building. It was once the largest in the world. Going to see the Christmas parade was the highlight of a well spent year. And going through Santa's workshop to get to sit on Santa's lap was so much fun. It sometimes seemed neverending all the elves making toys and preparing the reindeer for Christmas Eve. My grandmother retired from Hudson's in about 1975 when I was 17. We didn't get to go back there very often after that, and by then the 68 riot etc had made downtown Detroit sometimes an awkward place to be. There will never be a store like that again. The movie "Miracle on 34th Stree" comes closest to me reliving my childhood within the store. About 15 years ago my mom heard that one of the Hudson men was wanting to look at anything anyone had of Hudson's. She lent him our book "A Testimonial to Joseph Belcher Mills" and showed him the service pins my grandfather had earned working for the company. I have those items in my possession today. I think perhaps I will try to find someone who would want a piece of Detroit history as my husband and children have no idea about that time or era in Detroit. Thanks again for a wonderful look back at my childhood, hope others enjoy my recollections.

  138. Well, I certainly did!

    They are great memories, windows into a world that has been lost. Hudson's truly was something; there are a few great books about it, but unless you really experienced it, as you did, it is hard to describe.

    I thought the endless rows of elevators parallel to Woodward and Grand River in the L-shaped building were a unique feature, and, for such an elegant building, traipsing across that gloomy, dark alley to Farmer Street was an experience in itself.

    Last year, after giving a lecture, one of the volunteers told me how much she loved eating at the Piccadilly Circus on the mezzanine, "watching all of those shoppers below." You just don't get a good mezzanine anymore, I like to joke. Hudson's was incredible, with the most extensive book store (source of my book-a-holism, I'm afraid) and lots of other unique things, which, like the store itself, added up to one amazing experience.

    Thanks again for your insights!


  139. K. K. Rose, New Mexico31 January, 2013 09:49

    I remember working at a "Nice Girl Like you" Clothing store in Birmingham, Michigan. When it opened all of us were so proud to be part of the Hudson's family. I still keep in touch with some of the women I worked with. We have lasting friendships.
    I remember as a child, we would always go to Hudson's for school clothes.

  140. Purchased a woman's hat at an antique center in Atlanta, Georgia about 5 years ago. The label reads "The J. L. Hudson Co. Detroit. It is teal colored and has two large,red tea roses attached on the right hand side. I would appreciate any information anyone might have as to age, cost, etc. Sign me Janessa

  141. I loved riding the bus to Eastland with my girlfriends....we would catch the Jefferson bus in St. Clair Shores... We would always go to Hudson's first for their "Hudson's Special Sandwich" and then over to Sanders for a Hot Fudge Creme Puff.... We loved walking the outdoor mall....

  142. did they have a millinery dept..i just acquired lots of little sewing pearls, sequins, etc;

  143. Hi, I'm trying to find a toy factory where my mother worked in Detroit in 1943. Anybody have any information?

  144. I was told they did not have scotch tape to wrap gifts at j l hudson what did they use.


  145. I grew up in Windsor, Ontario, in the 1950s, and a trip to Detroit to visit Hudson's was always a treat. By the time I was 10 I could be left on my own for an hour to explore the store while my parents went shopping. Windsor had two small department stores, Smith's and Bartlett and Gow, but Hudson's was massive by comparison. The store had wonderful old elevators and the operators wore white gloves. When my aunts came to visit from Toronto there was always a trip to Detroit to get the latest fashions, and then smuggle them back to Windsor on the Tunnel Bus. This site is really classy - it even includes the exchange name telephone numbers. Our number back then was WHitehall 5-9998.

  146. Those are great memories, Angus!

    Fifty years ago, my home phone number (a black rotary-dial unit on the kitchen wall)was LAkeview 1-6283.

    Funny how we remember things like that!


  147. I grew up in the 60's - 70's, near Detroit. My Grandmother would take me on the Bus to Downtown. I think about JL Hudson's especially around Christmas. It seemed as though a different Theme was used every Christmas Season in the Auditorium on the 12th floor. I remember a Peter Pan theme, an Alice in Wonderland theme, and the last one I went to that had a recreation of the Star Trek Movie's Bridge. And I'm pretty sure Bones was there for all the Trekkies!

    I remember a restaurant the looked like a Victorian Library, with a pool table converted to a Salad Bar. They served a nice Corned Beef. I also liked the restaurant on the Mezzanine because you could use a plastic tray to put your plates on a slide along while you debated which Jello to get. I think there was a book section very near there that smelled wonderful.

    I loved the elevators, loved the Express Elevators to the 12th floor at Christmas. There was even a Merry go round there sometimes! Loved the Fudge - Choc without nuts. I always thought the Song Downtown"

  148. Oops ran out of room there.
    The song Downtown was I felt, about Detroit specifically. I was on to the multiple Santa thing by age 7, but I didn't want to offend my Parents so I played along. And still asked for a Horse every year. I was keen on the train display, which was sometimes on the stage area on the 12th floor. I think I remember that the Ladies Restrooms required 10c to use? We got our first Color Tv, zenith at Hudson's and I remember picking it up at the Warehouse which is now part of Ford Field.
    BTW, does anyone remember why there were escalators for some floors but not others?

    I remember Northland Hudson's and when it used to be an open style mall, too. By the late 60's, Northland Hudson's seemed more hip with fashion shows and Mowgli Sculptures

  149. What a nice site!
    Hudson’s was everything to me in the 50s & 60s … grew up on the east side … rode the Gratiot bus downtown with my grannie to Hudson’s from as early as I can remember. I started playing piano at age 4 so we always went to the music floor so I could try out sheet music on the piano they had for that purpose. The salespeople were so nice and customers always stopped to watch the little girl playing. The book floor was my special treat: bought the Bobbsey Twins and eventually Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames and all those girl mysteries, one at a time. The Ladies Lounge: so glamorous with the huge mirrors and giant hassocks. Big milestone: at age 12, I got my very first haircut in the 14th floor beauty salon, documented by The Free Press. Then came Eastland where I went to Hudson’s 17 Magazine Charm School at age 13 and eventually did a little modeling in a few shows. Something nice: every fashion show you worked, they gave you new lingerie! When I got engaged, of course I registered at Hudson’s … 40 years later, still use quite a number of the wedding gifts. Growing up and until they were no more, I was proud to be pretty much a Hudson’s product. Hudson’s taught me the importance of good quality and good service because that’s what I saw from every person who worked there, every time I went in. Is it any wonder all of us miss Hudson’s so much?

  150. OUr memories are so similar but I am your mirror image, as I took the bus down Grand River Avenue.
    Bobbsey Twins and the stamp and coin department on the Mezzanine took most of my attention, then elevator up to the art and music departments. But I really remember the Ladies Lounge (fifth floor?)that had a great white marble arch opening. Stalls were cleaned after each use and people would leave dimes for tips to the housekeeper. Around 1960 I started going to a Miss America fashion show every year where fabric and pattern trends were modeled. then we chatted with Miss America. Northland was my closer store, and my mom worked for Hudson's there. A really classy place that cannot be compared. The closest is the former Marshall Fields in Chicago. Life will never be like that again. too bad the retail world is all about cheapness instead of quality.

  151. I have a photo of a gentleman named William F. Pike in a stiff card folder which is embossed on the front with: 40 YEARS/H/THE J. L. HUDSON COMPANY. Looks to be from the 1950's or 1960's. Does anyone know of him?

  152. I came into a beautiful cabinet Pattern #725. Piece c On the label on the back it also states Landstrom Furniture Corporation Back(i believe) for Ill.Can you give me some insight to what I have and what it is worth as Its in mint conditon.Made of mahogany

  153. I worked for Hudson's from 1979-1987 in several stores. I started at the Oakland Mall as the Electronics department manager and was promoted to Manager of the Furniture department. From there, I was promoted to customer service manager of Electronics, Clocks Lamps and Mirrors, Floorcovering and Furniture at the Northland Mall. I also managed the Men's department, Young Men's and Ladies' Cosmetics...that was a blast! Just me and 110 women! From there, I went to the Fairlane Mall and managed Electronics again.

    I still remember the day when Retail Union organizers were visiting our stores. Two weeks later, we were told Dayton's was attempting a hostile takeover of the company. Needless to say, it was all downhill from there.

    Regardless, I'll never forget the Champagne parties for achieving sales goals for the managers, the deep discounts and how good it felt to be part of the J.L. Hudson's team.

    I still have a lot of mementos, including my old business cards.

    I miss them to this day.

    -David Block

  154. Looking for information on Edward Charles Wesch DOB 3/7/1920 - he worked at JL Hudson most of his life wokring primarily as a buyer in women's and children's wear. Please contact me at should you have information. thank you

  155. I'll always be a "Hudsonian", and proud to be one! What a pleasure it has been to be a part of that grand establishment! It may be Macy's now, but in my heart, it will always be Hudson's. Pretty soon, I'll have worked half my life there! I remember the jingles, the radio and TV commercials..."Hudson's is your Christmas Store-Ding Dong! and The warehouse sale is really worth the wait...

  156. I am now past seventy. My mother went to Hudson's at least once a week. I always had my hair cut sitting on one of the many animals in the children's barber shop. The large room had windows all around that housed miniature villages with Lionel trains traveling this great route. Outside the sidewalks were heated so that you never had to walk in snow to get to the doors. The windows, especially at Christmas were works of art.

    When I moved to California my roommate worked for Victor Gruen Architects and when I walked into their office I was greeted with a huge aerial view of Northland. They had designed it and I was told it was the first mall shopping center in the world.

    Once the Hudson delivery truck stopped at our house by mistake. He used to come so often he thought it was one of his regular stops!

  157. Does anyone recognize the last name of Ratajczak? I bought a piece of art at an estate sale. The son said his father was a window/ department decorator for the JL Hudson's downtown?
    The sale was located in St. Clair Shores.

  158. Hello, Anonymous,

    I worked with him later at the main office of Crowley, Miler, and Company. Didn't know him well, but we did have a few conversations.

  159. We have discovered the warehouse where the serving dishes from the pewter pub have been stored. Pewter dishes, mugs, salad plates,etc. anyone with interest in acquiring some of these legendary pieces can contact us at
    These came from the Toledo, Ohio Franklin park mall.

  160. So many memories! As a child going downtown to the parade and to see Santa Claus. As an 18 year old, my first charge card (boyfriend said that Hudson's shuld send me a thank you letter!). Then in the 80's I could have sworn I kept downtown Hudson's in business myself. When they were about to close, I took my son, who was about 3, to see Santa there so he at least got there one time. Poor baby was sick but I will always remember that day and the picture he took. Then, when they tore it down my brother and I came down to watch. Giant clouds of dust and debris filled the streets of downtown. Everyone in Sinbad's that day was covered with gray dust. We all knew we had been to the demolition.

  161. Shelley Holden10 June, 2013 03:07

    I had my picture taken at Hudsons downtown in 1972 and it hung there until it was torn down, I wonder if anyone knows what they done with them? I would give anything to have it.

  162. I was 16 when I worked at Hudson's downtown store as a stockboy i also had my first charge plate ( remember) that's what they used to call them from Hudson's it had a maximum limit of 25.00 dollars and i returned in 2000 just before it became that other store but I was fortunate to buy two store fixtures from the downtown store before I left to become a supervisor at MGM GRANd I still have the lighting fixtures which i just put on ebay ....

    I have so many wonderful memories from Hudson's especially the windows at Christmas and the 12th and 13th floor.......

  163. recently purchased a Nun doll that is boxed in a Hudson's Christmas box... any clue as to how to track down the maker of the's about 14 inches...or even which year it was sold there?

    reply to hilly77 at Comcast dot net


  164. I remember the early 60's when we would go downtown to visit my uncle's diamond jewelry store 'Cavanaugh's'. We would as well visit Hudson's where it was a complete treasure and fairytale to visit Santa. I remember the Sander's crème puff also. My grandmother somehow got the recipe for their excellent frosting, and it was a family bonus when she or mom made you a birthday cake with that crème frosting! I have inheirited their J.L.Hudson's furniture diningroom set that is mahogany or cherry wood and as beautiful as ever. The table pulls out at both ends, nothing like it! She embroidered the seats- it's beautiful. My grandparents lived at 6mile and Gratiot and I have so many wonderful memories of Detroit as a child. My grandfather started with Chrysler in 1913 or close, and developed the idea to export cars to other countries, I still have the newspaper article about him. My aunt worked for Hudsons in her 20's and was in the parade each year she worked there, the parade we watched faithfully every year on Tv, of course after we got one- I was 7-8 then. My parents bought a house in Fraser. I can just remember the elevator bellmen Hudson's used to have- yes, memories just like hat you see in "Miracle on 34th street." I also remember visiting Cavanaughs and Hudsons and their would be Hare Krisna people on one side of the road and Black panthers on the other - protesting the war and handing out books. Oh, I could go on......... remember Kresge's and their Coke Floats served in a stainless steel malt cup, at their soda bar? It stinks that I have thought of selling some of that furniture! until I write again- love this site! Lori Ryan

  165. I loved Hudson's. I shopped at the Northland Mall location just about every Saturday. Does anyone have the recipe for Seafood Louis? It is my favorite. Thanks!

  166. I live in Kentucky now but grew up in the 1970 and had good memories, of Christmas at Hudson's on that 12 floor. there is never been nothing like it ever to compare to it no store I've ever seen has had a magical Christmas floor like that. and we to shop in the kids shopping while are parents waited. and I remember every year my mom would pick a day and we would go downtown Detroit to see santa and shop and eat at Hudson's also go over to cobo hall for the Christmas carnival it was are special day and that day we could have anything we wanted. my mom would save to take us out that day road the bus downtown stand in line to the first in the door at Hudson's and go to the twelve floor and see the magic every year better one year it was all the different santa around the world how they look and my favorite was that talking Christmas tree in the magic tunnel and how the tree new who you were lots of memories. Thank You JL Hudson's for giving me some good childhood Memories. I wish my kids could have seen it, and my mom just past away a year ago, and I live for those memories she gave us. every year we never missed a year. thanks to you mom too for loving us and giving us a childhood memories. wish there was places like that to take my grandkids too. if there were they would tear it down.

  167. David@15Apr13

    Some corporate history clarification: during your tenure ('79-'87) there was not a 'hostile takeover' of JLH by Dayton's. The two firms merged a decade before you started (1969). By the early 80s, the consolidation of operations into the Dayton-Hudson HQ in Minneapolis was in full swing. While this re-organizatin may have been perceived as a painful or unwise strategy, that's not the same as a hostile takeover.

  168. I collect vintage magazines, including Vogue. Noticed a Hudson's ad for women's shoes, dated 1959. White, grained leather stilettos, with matching hand bag. The photo itself just exudes glamour. They are available in the Woodward Shops we are told. The slender, high heel, and very pointed toe tells us this item is for a lady that leads a charmed life.

  169. I started working at hudsons in 1978 in the carpenter shop until they put all the carpenters and painters on the road to paint and repair all of the stores. Was a great crew and my boss was Frank Malik, was one of the greatest people I ever worked for. The big boss was Russ Tabor and he had about forty years with the company. When I joined the company in the maintenance dept. Chuck Clark was the director of maint. In 1990 I was promoted to Maint. Mngr.and sent to Chicago with Marshall Field's. They had 27 stores and the state street store was just like Huduson's in Detroit. I was there for 9 years and came back to run the Hudson stores with Gary Lindsley. I retired in 1999.

  170. Eastland opened in 1957 not 1975

  171. I came across a shadow box with a painted macaroni fish made by a child Melanie on or about 2/13/71. It has the Hudson's label on it. Must have been a kid program they did at that time. Just wondered about it, does anyone know?

  172. Any one remember when the down town store was robbed by guys dressed like Brinks guys? It was about 1968 and Hudsons didn't want the News or Free Press to write about it.Don't think they were ever caught.

  173. There was also a male elevator starter who would stand outside the elevator that was on the main floor and as soon as it was loaded and started to go up would walk to the next available elevator. Elevator operators were all female were all uniformed as were the male elevator starters. I once bought a Johnson Outboard Motor from J.L. Hudson downtown store. They even had special kid meals in the dining rooms. Desert was a "clown sundae" where the ice cream in the dish was topped with a sugar ice cream cone that sort of looked like a clown's hat. Had a child's barbershop, a men's barbershop and a women's beauty salon. Kids shoe department when I was small still had a fluoroscope to see where the kids toes were inside the shoes. Later those were outliawed for too much radiation exposure - especially to the employees who operated them.The saying was you could take a bum from skid row to J.L. Hudson's get him cleaned up, his hair cut and him shaved, and dress him from the skin out and turn him out dressed like a gentleman. I went to Cass Tech High School and caught a bus home at Hudsons. I always stopped and went to the book shop at Hudsons before catching the bus. At Christmas time, I had my trumpet with me and I'd help the Salvation Army brass players playing Christmas Carols by giving one of them a chance to go inside and get warm while I played his part. I loved Hudsons. Bought clothes there, bought books there, sporting goods there, Lionel Trains there, Art and drafting supples. Never shopped in the music store - there were half a dozen stores downtown that were strictly music stores so I didn't deal with Hudsons for that. I did buy almost everything else there. After College I worked for Ford Motor Company and discovered that Hudson's contract division sold Steelcase Desks and File Cabinets to Ford. We also got softball balls, bats, etc for the Ford sponsored softball leagues. Hudson's also had warehouses nearby to downtown. They sometimes had sales at the warehouses. One of them is now part of Ford Field - the home of the NFL Detroit Lions.

  174. I am trying to add to my family tree file and I need more information on my Dad. Mom has passed away and I need help finding info on Dad, William Mitchell who was a shoe salesman on the 6th floor of the downtown Hudson's in the '60s. I think he has some family members in Garden City, MI but he was born near Toronto Canada I believe. Does any one remember him or is there a way to get an employee list from the 60's. I was born in 1963 and any help would be is not helping. Thanks --Candace

  175. Wow! What great memories these are. The parade was the highlight of the year for many of us that went rain, sleet or snow every year.The big "Doodle Bug" and the clown that took my mitten when I was about 4. He didn't mean to, and he did come back to find whose it was, seemed like hours back then, but I am sure he only took a couple steps before he realized he had it. Loved those big scary heads after that year.

    I remember the eating the Maurice salad and the clown sundaes, but I couldn't tell you what was in the salad. Just remember the name, and I know I used to order them.

    When my sister and I got a little older "tweens" my Mom would give us the option of having a "Shopping Spree" for our birthday instead of getting what she bought. My Birthday is in early February so I always opted for the "Spree", because it was at the same time as "Downtown Detroit Days" I cleaned up !! Starting at Hudson's, on to Crowley's, then Demrey's... I don't remember what the dollar amount was for this spree, but I know I always started in the basement at Hudson's.

    Haven't lived in Detroit since '80. Luckily my memories of Detroit are all great memories during her hey-day. When American cars ruled and we were the richest city in the country. The '68 Tigers are still one of the best teams EVER !!

    Thanks for the memories.

  176. I love ready all the memories of the downtown Hudson's !! My Grandmother worked in the sewing department as a seamstress, from 1950 - 1980's. Her name was Kathryn, so if anyone knows or remembers her, I would love to hear from you.
    My Uncle also worked at the down town Hudson's. He started out in the shoe department and worked his way up the "corporate ladder". Everyone knew him as "Pete", his wife (my Aunt) also worked at the downtown Hudson's and I had another Aunt who worked at the downtown Hudson's who's name was Alice.

  177. I was a teen model thru the Connie Finn Modeling agency from 1962-64. We did some of the big shows in the fall and spring that they held in the big auditorium. Then we modeled in the dept on the weekend. Fun time.

  178. I thoroughly enjoyed finding this site.. my family grew up in Michigan but we moved to Calif when I was three. I've heard so much about Hudson's over the years but never really understood how impactful it was. My mother, who is 85, still talks about it and how grand it was. In fact, my grandmother was a buyer for them and went by boat to Europe for her buys. One year, she was commissioned to make the Christmas Ornaments for their tree. She handcrafted them. We still have a few and they are GORGEOUS. I recently found boxes of her china with the JL Hudson's insignia. They are beautiful but never used.

  179. Hello Candy
    Try Family Search and Detroit Memories Newsletter.


  181. Thanks! My memories are brightened! Treasured visits catching the adventurous bus ride downtown to Hudson`s and just smiling the whole day! B-)

  182. My grandmother, Leona Karson, worked in the silver department through the 50s and early 60s. My mother and I would take the bus every week to have lunch with grandma and I thought the Maurice Salad was the most elegant thing I had ever seen. My own special was the Mickey Mouse ice cream 'sundae'! Do I remember ladies fashion shows in the dining room during lunch hour? Of course, back then we always dressed to go downtown, I remember trying to keep my little gloves white. My uncle, Bill Klein, worked in Men's Fine Suits so we got to see him too!

  183. We have a few of the old collectible menus with the wildflowers on them, from my wife's grandmother. I think we have 6-8 of them, but would have to dig out the box in the basement to check. Any idea if these are worth anything? They're in very good condition.

  184. Karen M. Spencer Franz05 May, 2014 10:53

    In the 1960's I bought my wedding dress and ordered my wedding cake (traditional Fruit Cake) from Hudson's. When we cut the cake it was so fresh and easy. It was like cutting a regular cake!
    Every time I went to Hudson's it felt so elegant.

  185. Our Aunt worked in the millinery department making hats for the likes of the Dodge's....the Ford's.the Chrysler's and the rich & famous in the Detroit area. She would tell us how she would make a hat for the lady to wear to an event then a few days later- bring it back in to have it "redone"..they would not think of wearing the same hat 2x's!!!
    She sometimes would bring our Mother hats that she had bought and the the most wonderful thing was the Hudson hat box it was it- they were beautiful.She told how she & her friend who worked with her would go down after Christmas when the sales were on & buy a luxury item....they were so excited. When her department was closed due to declining hat sales....she worked in the bridal department making garters and one of a kind bridal veils- she would show us pictures of them- they were gorgeous.
    She loved working at Hudson's and we so enjoyed going downtown Detroit to visit that wonderful store- so sad when it closed................

  186. Carnaby Street! Hudsons did a special boutique on all things Mod and British and my friend Laura and I, total Beatlmaniacs at the time, loved it. We took the bus from Farmington Township to Northland and then transfered to go downtown. We were 12 at the time and our parents saw nothing unsafe in letting us go. Imagine. Of course that all changed in '67. How sad.
    Cannot think of the downtown Hudsons without thinking of the rope operated elevators.

  187. Original Maurice Salad recipe from Marshall's fields cook book ,
    To prepare the dressing, combine vinegar, lea on juice, onion juice( look for onion juice in the spice section of supermarkets or grate a onion and square pulp through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer), sugar. Dijon and dry mustard in a bowl n whisk well to dissolve the sugar, whisk in the mayo, parsley, egg n season with salt and pepper to taste.

    In a large bowl combine ham, turkey, cheese and pickles and toss lightly. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently fold together. Arrange a bed of lettuce on each plate. Top with the meat and cheese mixture and garnish with 2 olives.

  188. Maurice dressing
    2tsp distiller white vinegar, 11/2 tsp,of each, fresh squeezed lemon juice, onion juice,sugar,Dijon mustard, 1 cup mayonnaise, 2tbl chopped fresh parsley, 1hard boiled egg. Salt n Pepper to taste. 1lb of ham, julienned, 1lb cooked turkey Brest julienned, 1lb of Swiss cheese julienned, 1/2 cup of gherkin pickles, 1head of iceberg lettuce, shredded. 8 to 12 pimiento-stuffed green olives for garnish.

  189. From my first suit to visiting SantaLand at Christmas time, Hudson's Downtown was always a part of my life growing up. As a teenager, my parents ran a small east-side grocery so, when they were busy on Saturdays running the store, I'd take the bus downtown and see a movie in one of the grand old theaters (Michigan, Fox, Adams, Grand Circus, Madison, Music Hall, Palms), roam around Husdon's for hours on end, and then catch the bus back home. One Saturday, when I was around 15 or 16 (but didn't have a driver's license just yet), my mother had me drive downtown and buy myself new shoes. I parked on the Farmer's Street side at a meter right next to the Library; when I came out, I was terrified because the car was gone. Thinking it had been stolen, I couldn't go the the police (since I was driving illegally) so I called my mom who had me go back outside and look at the signs.....sure enough, it was just past the "No Parking" time and it had been towed. Later in life, when the downtown store was already on its last legs, I worked as a Manager for, what was then, half of the fourth floor (Boys 8-20, children's shoes, Boy Scouts Shop and Toys, which had been relocated the [the upper floors were already closed by now]). Words can't adequately express what a truly amazing place Downtown Hudson's was; it had everything from stamp collectors and rare coins to shoe repair, a ski/sports shop, barbers and hairdressers, multiple restaurants, fabric and threads for sewing, paint and hardware for home repairs, furniture, rugs, musical instruments, records and sheet music and all the toys a kid could imagine. I am glad to have been fortunate enough to experience it on so many levels (pun intended) as the era of these great old departments stores has escaped us and left us nothing but drab cookie-cutter Macy's all over the country.

  190. Downtown Husdon's was a truly amazing and wonderful place. If you never experienced it you've missed something truly unique and it'll never be back again.

  191. Oh such wonderful memories! I lived in Plymouth in the '60's and loved to take the train with my four young children, to Hudson's in downtown Detroit. Oh, what wonderful memories I have and so do my grown up kids!

  192. Saw several posts about the bronze signs. Remember them well. Did any sell? How much would they be worth I wonder

  193. My Great Grandmother in her 70s and 80s would take the bus every Wednesday downtown. She would get dressed to the hilt with white gloves and have high tea up in the tearoom.
    Also, I have photos for an advertisement of women's clothing that my Grandmother was in. I think they are from the late 20's/early 30's. She worked there and was asked to model. According to my Mother they were never paid extra for modeling.

  194. Oh, how I love to remember working at the JL Hudson Co!! After shopping there my entire childhood, my Mother even had her own parking space! We used to drive up to the back door where the valet would park her car for her. I then became a fashion model with Hudson's for many years in the 1960s. The wonderful and very professional, Madelyn Coe Cumisnky. Detroit's "First Lady of Fashion" was my boss as Hudson's Fashion Director for Merchandising and Marketing. My first job at Hudson's was as a fabric and pattern model in the fabric department where the patterns were custom made for me by Hudson's seamstresses. I was subsequently promoted 'upstairs' to the Fashion Department, as I recall, on the 19th floor, I worked as a floor model in all the women's departments and treasure the memories of having been in all the "big" runway shows for Jr. League, Miss America, the Symphony,etc. In those days original designer clothing was flown in from New York, in locked steel cabinets, for our fittings and shows.It was a wonderful job...oh, the silly, naughty things we did..pretended to be fake still mannequins in the displays, then would slowly move to see the surprised expressions of the customers! All the girls in the Downtown Fashion Department were great friends, often having lunch together after the shows and attending one another s weddings, etc.. We sometimes had 'stage door Johnnies" and even a peeping Tom or two during fittings. The store always gave us our new nylons for each show and the pay was very good..I think it averaged about $15.00 and hour. There never was, nor ever will be a finer store in America... how grateful I am to have been a small part of it.

  195. My father and grandfather both retired from JL Hudson. I am fortunate enough to have some very cool artifacts from the downtown (and Eastland) store. These were aquired at the end of the downtown store.


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