Sunday, January 18, 2009

Department Store Building of the Week, Vol. 23


William Laubach & Sons was the large department store in Easton, Pa., and for a long-lived department store it had a very placid life. Founded in 1860, it remained in the 300 block of Northampton Street for nearly its entire life, and remained in the hands of the Laubach family until 1947, when it was sold to Allied Stores. Allied operated it as a separate division up until the early 1960s, when it was merged into the Pomeroy's chain Allied operated throughout Eastern Pennsylvania.

A fuller biography of the Laubach store is here. Laubach's was the sort of successful community institution no one ever thought would just go away -- five or six generations shopped there.

Similarly, its building is representative of 19th-century commercial structures. The one oddity to note is the four-story tower at the back of the building -- was it warehousing, or does it date from the time when department stores made their own ready-to-wear clothing in house?

2 comments:

Steven Swain said...

Based on the history of the store you linked to the post, I would guess the taller portion was a warehouse. William Laubach & Sons apparently did not do any manufacturing.

Davisull said...

Well, true, but a number of department stores had some area devoted to taking fabrics and making dresses from them. This would have been 100 years ago and might not have been mentioned, as most stores had stopped doing it by living memory.