Macy's

Not anymore. The new "World's Largest" is Shinsegae in South Korea

Not anymore. The new "World's Largest" is Shinsegae in South Korea

QUESTION:  In what Massachusetts community was the first Macy's Department Store established?
A). Haverhill
B). Worcester
C). Sturbridge
D). Boston
ANSWER BELOW

There comes a time when all blogs need to recognize when they might have a problem, and today is the American Treasure Tour blog's turn. We can't seem to stop our exploration of department store stories. We will try. But today, we turn to one of the most visible department stores in the country today:  Macy's.  We've all been to one, perhaps looking for that perfect blouse or a new vacuum cleaner. Perhaps you needed a comfy blanket or that new fragrance? Check out the options at Macy's. But really, how much do you know about Macy's?  Did you know it started operation in Massachusetts? That it was founded by a guy named ... Macy?  Rowland Hussy Macy opened his first dry goods store in 1841, not long after the industrial revolution reached the shores of the United States. He targeted mill workers in corporate towns and opened four stores by 1855.  Every one of them failed.  But, was R.H. Macy deterred? Maybe, but not in the long run, because he moved to New York City and tried again. In 1858, he opened his fifth dry goods store at 13th Street and Fifth Avenue, far from any competition (New York was still mostly below 13th Street at that time. It would slowly creep up Manhattan and soon enough 13th was considered downtown.) R.H. Macy ran the store until he passed away in 1895, at which point ownership was taken over by the Straus brothers - Isidor and Nathan.

R.H. Macy

R.H. Macy

The New York City Macy's flourished. Using techniques such as window decorations, Christmas festivities and other gimmicks, business was extremely well through the 19th century, such that they moved to their now-landmark location at 34th Street and Broadway - Herald Square - in 1902. It was still far enough out of downtown that Macy's provided a steam wagonette for patrons to travel from the old location to the new. Ten years later, Isidor died while traversing the Atlantic Ocean on the Titanic - a famous ship of the era rarely in the news today. We will tell you about it sometime.  Macy's continued to grow, expanding beyond its iconic New York home (the Herald Square store remained the largest in the world until 2009), until it expanded just a little bit too far towards the end of the twentieth century. Bankruptcy was followed by merger and long story condensed, Federated Department Stores took on the more-famous Macy's name, and now there are over 850 stores run by Macy's (including Bloomingdale's and other chains) in forty-five states and more territories of the United States.

Isidor Straus

Isidor Straus

ANSWER:  A). Haverhill