Chicago's "12th Street Store"

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Invitation for Employee Anniversary Party
12th Street Store, Chicago, IL
Circa 1955

The 12th Street Store was a large department store in Chicago, located on Roosevelt Road (south 12th street) and Halsted. Along Halsted St. were numerous little shops and of course the famous open stands full of everything from fruit to clothing. I'm not sure when the store opened or when it finally closed, but my aunt worked there in the 50's, and until recently, I thought "12th Street Store" was a nickname or just a location that some people used to describe a chain store on 12th street (like "Walmart on 18th street").

"Roosevelt Road had the wholesalers, Halsted was basically one price with two big department stores, L. Klein and the 12th Street Store, and Maxwell Street was the pushcart, open stand bargaining bazaar but it also had a few small, but very busy department stores such as Gabel's, Robinson's, and Mackevich's." - Maxwell Street Foundation web page.

Here's a copy of an invoice sent to someone for their purchases. I don't know what was purchased, but the prices are unbelievable- $1.62 for infant clothing!

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12th Street Store
Chicago, IL 1953

Something to notice on the envelope is the zip code. Until the mid 70s, addresses would only have the last one or two numbers of the zip code, presumable because everyone knew the Chicago IL prefix. So, here it's just marked "Chicago 7" instead of 60607.

That was true with telephone numbers too. Note the invoice that reads, "Telephone, Haymarket 1100" That means: HA1-1100, or 421-1100 in today's terms. Click here to see a document that lists all of the Chicago telephone prefix words and their numeric meanings.

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Invoice Envelope
12th Street Store


Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a recipe for the waffles and ice cream on the first floor? Uncle Tony!

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather was the shoemaker at the 12th street store during the 1950's

Anonymous said...

I was born on 14th & Halsted and lived there with my family until I was 12. There was nothing like the ice cream sandwiches sold at the 12th St store for 5 cents. L. Klein was catty corner from our cold water flat (1930's) The hot dogs and hamburgers of Maxwell street were the best!

Anonymous said...

My mother was a young immigrant from Germany in the 1920's and worked as a maid for the owners of the 12th St. Store.

Anonymous said...

I'm refinishing my Grandmother's walnut dresser and the mirror is stamped Oct 22, 1922, 12th Street Store.

Tom Gill said...

Wow, that's really interesting about the stamp on the dresser. I would bet that any dresser purchased today at Ikea or most other stores will not be around for refinishing 90 years later!

Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested in the 12th Street Store, I have posted a set of 83 12th street Store trading Stamps on eBay today 11/16/2015..interesting piece of Chicago history

JustForFun said...

Thanks for posting this information. I was wondering if you have any pictures of the store? I am interested because my great grandfather, Henry Isaacs is the one who founded the 12th Street Store in 1909. I am doing research on the Isaacs family. At the time this was the second largest deal in Chicago. The largest was the purchase of Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co property on State and Madison.