Lamson Brothers, Toledo, Ohio

Read about Lamson's in the new book
by Bruce Allen Kopytek

ON NOVEMBER 29th, 2014 FROM 11 am until 1 pm.

Lamson's 1928 store, reminiscent of an Italian Palazzo,
at the corner of Jefferson and Huron Streets in Toledo

An illustration, circa 1928, when the store opened,
portrayed the lofty main floor of the structure.

An exterior illustration details the store's
elaborate entrances, and hints at two of
the 12 circular, carved stone bosses on
the facade depicting the trade guilds
of Florence, Italy.

 Lamson's Erie Street Annex housed The Patio
restaurant among other store features.

The Jefferson Street Annex was home to
Lamson's Men's Store.

"Toledo Born - Toledo Owned - Toledo Operated"

Lamson Brothers Company (1885)
600 Jefferson Avenue
Toledo, Ohio

CHerry 2-6511

Housewares • Bath Shop • Notions • Toys • Lamson's Downstairs Budget Store
Main Floor
Fine Jewelry • Jewelry • Accessories • Handbags • Gloves • Small Leather Goods • Neckwear • Hat Bar • Hair Piece Center • Hosiery • Blouses • Midtown Lingerie • Midtown Sportswear • 'Be Somebody' Shop • Midtown Shoes • Collegeset Shoes • Toiletries • Cosmetics • Drugs • Candies • Stationery • Books • Photo Studio • Luggage • Men's Furnishings • Men's Sportswear
Jefferson Avenue Annex
Men's Clothing • Jefferson Shop • Men's and Boys' Shoes • Men's Hats • Boys' Wear
Erie Street Annex
Special Picture Gallery • Customer Service Desk • Chevalier Wine Cellar • Patio Room Restaurant

Erie Street Mezzanine
Personnel Office

Second Floor
Daytime Dresses • Midtown Dresses • Midtown Coats • Maternity Fashions • Lingerie • Foundations • Loungewear
Young World of Fashion Children's Wear • Infants' Wear • Infants' Furniture • Girls' Wear • Pre-Teen Wear • Hi-Shop • Children's Shoes

Fashion Third
Junior Sportswear • Junior Dresses • Junior Coats • Junior Pit • Canned Ego Salon • Young Ideas Shop • Moderate Dresses • 
Moderate Sportswear • Young Signature Shop  Better Sportswear • Better Dresses • Better Coats • Town and Country Coats • Miss Lamson Shop • The 101 Room • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon • Millinery Salon • Shoe Salon • Pappagallo Shop

Fourth Floor
Furniture • Sleep Shop • Summer Furniture • Lamps • Pictures and Mirrors • Carpeting • Rugs • Home Planning Center  Radios • TVs • Beauty Salon

Fifth Floor
Domestics • Linens • Bedding • Curtains • Draperies • Fabrics • Art Needlework • Yarns • Gift Shop • China • Glassware

318 Conant Street
May, 1943

2128-2136 West Central Avenue
November, 1951
20,000 sq. ft.

Parkway Plaza
Anthony Wayne Trail & Detroit Ave.
Maumee, Ohio

Frankilin Park Mall
Monroe at Talmadge
90,000 s.f.

Reynolds Rd.
August, 1972
80,000 s.f.

Coming in due course.


  1. As a native Toledoan and a former Lamson's employee, I thank you for this reminder of a bygone time. I always found the architecture of the main store set the tone for your experience as a shopper. It had the most elegant street presence with its arched doors and beautiful windows topped with gorgeous architectural detailing. And upon entering the main floor space, with its high ceiling, it felt like entering another world for this middle class kid. All testament to what good architecture can do enhance our lives.

  2. Thanks for comenting on the long-lost Lamson's. By the time I came to Toledo to shop, Lamson's only had one branch left, but I always wondered what theat beautiful building on Huron Street was like.

    We seem to have forgotten what you point out - how architecture can enhance our lives. Most people shop in environments completely different from what you describe, and it is a shame, in my opinion.


  3. I was at an auction recently and picked up a beautiful, heavy, off white quilt in an old Lamson's of Toledo box. I have been searching the internet to see what I can find out about this. Any ideas?

  4. I used to work in one of the buildings that housed the horse stables for Lampsons back in the late 1800's. This is what some old timers told me back in the 70's when I worked there. You can even see all the "small windows" which were feeding bays for the horses. This building is still standing and in rough shape. It is located at 2018 Adams St. I am helping the current family who owns it restore it to a functioning building again. Not sure as to exactly when Lampsons started but if it were that far back then maybe there is some truth to what I was told. I could post a picture of it if I could. Thanks ................. Tim

  5. Sandra Vinnedge30 May, 2013 07:11

    My daughter's great grandmother was Miriam Lamson Vinnedge whose father was the last Lamson to be president of the store and husband was the first Vinnedge to be president. Miriam gave me a chair her father purchased on a buying trip to France. He bought 2 chairs, one for Miriam and one for her sister (can't re-member her name) when they were girls. I got the one for her sister. It originally was covered in deep rose damask. When I received it the material was worn through. I had it restored the way it was originally made with horsehair stuffing and all except with a different final material. I love it for so many reasons.
    I was only in the downtown Lamson's store once. I was struck by the beautiful archi-tecture outside and in and amazed by the open-ness of the first floor. All of the store's items were of the highest quality and I was im-
    pressed. I was so sad when it became a dis- count store.
    I was married to Bill Vinnedge when Jules Vinnedge, then Lamson president, was taking the day's receipts to the bank and was murdered trying to protect the money during the robbery outside the bank. The couple got all the money and were later apprehended and convicted. Jules offered to take the money to the bank so the manager who usually took it could leave to celebrate his wedding anniversary. The murder devastated the family, especially his mother, Miriam.

  6. Sandra, can you please contact me at

    My book has gone to print. It covers the Vinnedge family's involvement with Lamson's and the tragic death of Jules Vinnedge; I have included a photo of little Jules helping his grandfather Julius Lamson break ground for their beautiful 1928 store.

    Wendy Towle, a Lamson relative, has held a file of clippings related to Jules' death. May he rest in peace!


  7. Dear Bruce~
    I just received your book as a gift and feel compelled to thank you and let you know that father was Jules Vinnedge. The store was a major part of our lives as was his loss. In an earlier post, Sandra mentioned my grandmother's sister. Her name was Elizabeth and to me she was "Aunt Bebe". It must be a family tradition to gift family furniture, I held on to Aunt Bebe's writing desk for many years!
    I look forward to finishing the book.

    1. Don’t know if you will ever see this Martha but we grew up together. I am a year younger than your brother and remember your family with fondness. Your brother and I used to do magic tricks together for the neighborhood kids in your basement. I didn’t live in the area when you lost your Dad, I am so sorry also to hear your brother is gone too. Would love to reconnect. Kathy Greene

  8. While I don't have any attachment to this place, I did come across a green gift box with Lamson's logos all over it I found discarded in a dumpster near my house. I was lucky to find it.

  9. OK here you go! It's on top of a Lion's box as well, Not sure when these two date exactly, but I can only assume the Lamson's was before the Franklin Park location. The Lion box probably sometime in the 70's as it lists Southwyck as one of it's locations.

  10. I found 3 Lamsongram newsletters to Lamson employees, dated December of 1970, 71 & 72.
    One has hand-written at top "Give to Gerry Zink."
    Any suggestions?

  11. Did Lamson's have wooden splint weaved baskets in their store? I have a one marked Lamson's on the handle.

  12. Do you have a copy of the Penny Post Card with the photograph of the Lincoln Car. An inset photo of Abraham Lincoln's head is next to the photograph of the Lincoln Car.The postcard was sponsored by Myron Lamson and his three sons who owned the Lamson Brothers Department Store, Toledo, OH. If so, may I have permission to include the photograph in a scholarly paper titled THE PRESERVATION HISTORY OF THE LINCOLN CAR, 1866-1911.
    Proper attribution will be given, in the paper, for the source of the postcard

  13. I do have a good scan of it, but you have left me no way to contact you. You can always e-mail me at

  14. What was the name of the original Lamson Brothers Store that opened in the mid-1880's? What can you suggest for a history of the Lamson Family and Businesses in Toledo ? Are there any remaining Lamson heirs in 2015?

  15. Yes, there are Lamson heirs in the area and retired in Arizona. I plied through the Blade and other sources for history for my book, which I believe at this time is a definitive history of the company. If you email me at I will share your address with those that I know.

    Lamson brothers was founded in 1885 as The Lamson Brothers Dry Goods. Co. Prior to the founding, the brothers (2 of them) worked for Cohen & Koch, a predecessor to the Lasalle & Koch Co.


  16. Can anybody tell me about Lamson charge plates that I have,e mail me at blackmoon929

  17. What is closure 1970's closure date for Lamson's Department store Company?

    William White

    Thank you.

  18. My information shows that Lamson's announced in April, 1976 that the last Lamson's store would close, though the Downtown store closed 2 years Earlier. A more thorough search of the Toledo Blade would perhaps pinpoint a date.

  19. Every week during the late 1960's our mother and her three children would make sure to stop and window shop or go in to shop in the downtown Toledo Lamson's store on Jefferson Street on our way to the "Bach Conservatory" of music. Just wanted to let the Lamson family know how we were enormously appreciated all the architecture and window displays and friendly staff that was there. We have many great memories of the fine shopping we were so grateful to have experienced. One time our mother had pointed out the young Mr. Lamson to us girls. Thankyou very much.

  20. That is really a nice comment - members of the Lamson family still live in the Toledo area, and if you want to read the whole story of Lamson's, get a hold of my book "The Three 'L's"
    - Bruce

  21. I worked at Lamson's downtown store in the Executive Offices as Secretary to the Vice President, Mr. Chovance. Jules was the President and a joy to be around. Prior to that position, I worked as a buyer assistant to the Jr. Sportswear Buyer. Lamsons was just the epitome of class and customer service. Although I live in California now, I would love a copy of your book. Could you email me so I may make arrangements to purchase? Thank you

  22. I am one of those 3 little girls that nearly every week we’d go to either the Parkway Plaza location or rhe downtown location even the Colony. I was put in a child’s beauty pageant and won the runner up. Lamsons inspired me, later years in my life I owned an antique store outside of Atlanta . Oh how I was Lamsons, Lasalles and Lion store west gate was still here,

    1. I totally agree! I miss actually "Shopping" in a nice department store. I don't believe I don't remember going to the downtown Lamsons. I do remember the Parkway Plaza Lamsons. My mother took me there for fancy slips. I called them "Itchy slips" because they had all that tulle under them to make my dress stand out. I can remember skipping to Woolworths and mom ordering the BLT. She would get a small plate for me and put a piece on my plate. I thought I was hot stuff eating a sandwich with a fancy toothpick. I do remember the Lion Store downtown. They used to have the Downtown Only sale. That is where I learned to fight over linens LOL. Mom would say "I have these sheets now you go dig through the bin and find me the pillow cases." There were several times I snatched them away from other ladies shopping. It is sad that the store had to deteriorate into a trash dump full of shoplifters and junk.

  23. In the fall of 1966, I was the first black salesman hired by John Gistalder (HR manager) to work on the main floor in the Lamson’s downtown Men’s shirts and sports wear dept. it was a great time to work part time downtown as a 16 year old Libbey High School student. During my time at Lamson’s, the rock and roll icon Jerry Lee Lewis was performing near by at the Peppermint Lounge. His flight misplaced his luggage and he hurriedly purchased a shirt and tie for the evening show that was about to start. I worked at Lamson’s until I entered college and for a time afterwards during summers and school breaks. It was a great experience which taught me how to professionally dress for success when I later entered the workforce as an IBM sales representative! -Oney Temple, Roswell, Georgia

  24. I recently inherited a beautiful fur coat that belonged to my grandmother. The label inside says it’s from Lamson’s Fashion Center in Toledo . Not sure when she may have purchased it, but she passed in 1993. Nice to know I have a piece of history!

  25. Hello, Please how do i contact the curator of this museum?


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