Do you remember window shopping at the big downtown department stores? Freezing cold holiday shoppers all pressed up against the plate glass like moths to a porch light. Dreams of sugar plums and reindeer and presents under the tree were fueled by these sparkling menageries of the latest and greatest stuff. The displays themselves were an art form; and pulling people in off the street was the ultimate goal. In all but our largest metros, scenes like these have been lost as retailers gradually moved to suburban malls. This series of pictures from the Rochester Public Library documents some of the windows at Sibley, Lindsay and Curr Co. department store in downtown Rochester more than 70 years ago…
A Sibley’s Christmas time window display with the theme of English carolers in a village. “In Merrie England. The Christmas Carolers on Their Rounds Through the Village. The Spirit of Christmas in is in the air.” 1925.
A variety of wreaths and artificial trees. 1940. This window also features a copy of an oil painting by William L. Taylor based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Home Keeping Hearts are Happiest.”
Visit RochesterSubway.com again tomorrow and we’ll cross over to the other side of Main Street; to do some more window shopping at another local holiday favorite.
About Sibley, Lindsay & Curr Co.
The store was founded by partners Rufus Sibley, Alexander M. Lindsay and John Curr, who opened their first dry goods store in 1868 at 75 East Main Street in Rochester. This business was so successful that between 1877 and 1880 they bought properties at 69-73 Main and also the old Osborne House hotel and expanded. In 1893 they built the Granite Building and moved their store to that location, where they stayed until the disastrous Sibley Fire of 1904 destroyed the interior of the building. Within a month they had relocated to the old Empire Theater building, and in 1904 their new store opened on Main between Clinton and North. Sibley’s was a Rochester institution, and enjoyed great financial success. The store was modernized in the 1930’s by John R. Sibley, son of Rufus. In the 1950’s the company expanded into the suburbs. In July of 1986 the company was purchased by May Department Stores, which renamed the stores under the Kaufman’s name in 1990 and eventually closed the downtown Rochester landmark store.
Happy Holidays and Shop Local!
Tags: Alexander M. Lindsay, Christmas, downtown Rochester, Empire Theater, holiday windows, holidays, John Curr, Main Street, May Department Stores, old photos, old photos of Rochester, old photos of Rochester NY, Osburn House, Rochester history, Rochester NY, Rufus Sibley, Sibley Building, Sibley's, Sibley's Department Store, Sibly Lindsay & Curr Co., window shopping
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