TOLEDO’S THREE Ls
LAMSON’S, THE LION STORE, & LASALLE’S
Remember the days when shopping meant white gloves, suits for men and leisurely lunches in tearooms? Toledo, an industrial powerhouse and Ohio’s third-largest city, once had it all, and Lamson’s, the Lion Store and Lasalle’s were where it all happened. Reminisce with author Bruce Allen Kopytek about a time when these three great department stores dominated Toledo’s retail scene and offered their customers anything they could want.
Revisit their downtown competitors like Tiedtke’s, B.R. Baker, Milner’s and Stein’s, which also added their own touch to Toledo’s life. Through written history, photographs and personal recollections a whole lost era comes to light—an era when business was personal and local, shopping was more of a cherished event rather than a chore.
Pride of Place
To understand our Three Ls, we must place them in a setting. For the same reason that a person doesn’t carry precious gems in his pocket or hidden in a purse, these department stores are best understood in the context of their place in Toledo’s downtown, where they were meant to be seen. The Three Ls didn’t exist on isolated blocks, apart from the teeming
life that could be found in the downtown of their heyday. They formed one element of a variety of ingredients, which together brought to life the center of town and made it an attractive place to do business.
Downtown Toledo was not only a retail district. Nor was it just an area in which business offices and churches were located in isolation. It was not just a governmental center, or solely the place where people could find a hotel for the night. It was all of these things, and all of them simultaneously. It housed Toledo’s best stores, its most prestigious office buildings, its finest theaters and its greatest hotels within its boundaries or on its fringes, and it housed them cheek by jowl in an area that was easily accessed by the city’s population. It was where everything happened, and it was the place to be when Toledoans needed to shop, sought entertainment or desired civic participation, not to mention
that an enormous daytime population came there to work as well.
The combination worked so beautifully that, until postwar suburbanization began to alter the central business district’s status, no one could conceive of shopping, going to the theater or transacting most types of business without thinking of downtown. As such, it was central to not just city but also the lives of most Toledoans.
Overview & Preview
182 Pages – 6″ X 9″ X 3/8″
PUBLISHED BY THE HISTORY PRESS
Foreward, by Bruce Allen Kopytek
Introduction: A Tale of Two Cities
Chapter 1 Pride of Place
Chapter 2 Toledo Born—Toledo Owned—
Chapter 3 The New Lamson Store
Chapter 4 Toledo’s Own Store
Chapter 5 What’s in a Name
Chapter 6 There’s No Place Like home
Chapter 7 Lion Tales
Chapter 8 Toledo’s Greatest Store
Chapter 9 More than a Store,
a Community Institution
Chapter 10 The Larger Lasalle & Koch store
Chapter 11 Branches in the Great Black Swamp
Chapter 12 I’ve Got a Store in Kalamazoo
Chapter 13 Nothing Good Lasts Forever
About the Author
"From the time I was young, I loved movies. And I loved department stores, ever since I was a child."
"When I was a boy, we’d go downtown in my grandmother’s Cadillac Sixty Special limousine, which would pull up to the canopied entrance on Jefferson Avenue, where a uniformed doorman would open the door and escort us into the store. Once inside, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the elegant plasterwork on the ceilings, and if the shopping trip included lunch in the tearoom, that was very elegant, too."
"If the lions could only talk…we’ve thought many times. Then an idea was born. The lions cannot talk…but the people who know them and love them can."
The Lion Store
Signed by the Author