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Lost Department Stores of San Francisco (Landmarks)


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In the late nineteenth century, San Francisco’s merchant princes built grand stores for a booming city, each with its own niche. For the eager clientele, a trip downtown meant dressing up–hats, gloves and stockings required–and going to Blum’s for Coffee Crunch cake or Townsend’s for creamed spinach. The I. Magnin empire catered to a selective upper-class clientele, while middle-class shoppers loved the Emporium department store with its Bargain Basement and Santa for the kids. Gump’s defined good taste, the City of Paris satisfied desires for anything French and edgy, youth-oriented Joseph Magnin ensnared the younger shoppers with the latest trends. Join author Anne Evers Hitz as she looks back at the colorful personalities that created six major stores and defined shopping in San Francisco.


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