It’s December 24, 1914, and two fashionably dressed little girls have Santa Claus cornered at the entrance to a downtown Rochester department store. And they are absolutely spellbound. Be sure to click on this image for a closer look. If this is not the definition of the holidays I don’t know what is. I like to imagine what the girls were saying at this moment; “Hey shouldn’t you be at the North Pole making our toys?! … Can we swing from your beard? … You know, you don’t look nearly as fat in real life, Santa.”
Yes, I am forever grateful to you, Mr. Photographer, for capturing this moment in time. A moment which would have otherwise been lost somewhere in the ether, has been wrapped up and handed to us with a great big bow. Yes, Virginia, Santa is real. Oh, and if you’re wondering where exactly this conversation with Santa took place…
That’s the main entrance to the Duffy-Powers Department Store at the corner of W. Main St. and Fitzhugh St. I might not have been able to identify the building if not for the huge column Santa has been backed up against. Here it is from Google Street View .
This building opened in March 1907 as the Duffy-McInnerney Company. It was the largest retail dry goods store between New York and Chicago. The name was changed to Duffy-Powers Company in 1911. By 1932 the store had gone bankrupt. After an eight year period of vacancy, the City acquired the property and reopened the building as the Civic Exhibits Building in 1940. Around 1943 the Kodak and the Navy used the building for a top secret war project [more about that here ]. After WWII it housed a variety of offices and manufacturing operations until Rochester Institute of Technology took over the property in 1961. Today it’s used for Monroe County offices.
When the Duffy-McInnerney Co. Building opened it had an 800 seat restaurant on the top floor. Looks to me like the perfect place to let your beard down and refuel after a long day of taking orders from demanding little girls.
Tags: downtown Rochester, Duffy-McInnerney Department Store, Duffy-Powers Department Store, Fitzhugh Street, Main Street, old photos, old photos of Rochester, old photos of Rochester NY, Rochester, Rochester history, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Rochester NY, Santa
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