Neiman-Marcus Expands — 1927
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
In 1927, construction began on Neiman-Marcus’ first expansion. The addition was adjacent to the famed department store, which had occupied its spot at Main and Ervay since its construction in 1914. (This was the company’s second location – their original store, which opened in 1907 at Elm and Murphy, was destroyed by fire in 1913.) The store had outgrown its old building, and expansion was deemed necessary. The new addition was designed by the Herbert M. Greene architectural firm, led by George L. Dahl. While the new building was going up, the old building was being renovated and updated.
The photo above shows the construction of the addition, which extended the store’s footprint from Main all the way to Commerce. One of the interesting features of this construction was the look of the site itself.
One of the features of the Neiman-Marcus project is the ornamental barricade, containing window boxes and fashionable silhouettes, which has been put up around the new construction. (Dallas Morning News, May 8, 1927)
It’s the nicest-looking hard-hat area I’ve ever seen!
The new building (which was four floors, but was designed so that sixteen additional stories could be added if needed) opened in October, 1927. Less than a month after the formal opening of this new building, another addition was announced — it opened the following year. With that “third unit” opening in 1928, Neiman-Marcus had increased its size by 50%, and its sales were the highest in the company’s history. Also, notable at this time was the fact that a full 40% of the store’s sales were to people who lived “in other cities of the Southwest.”
Below, some photos (some rather dark and muddy, unfortunately) and clippings surrounding this 1927-1928 expansion (there would be further buildings built later). (Click to see larger images.)
The beautiful finished building, days before its formal opening on October 3, 1927.
A view of the first floor looking toward the Main street entrance; at left in the foreground is the underwear department; just beyond is the perfumery department.
The Empire Room on the second floor, “an elegantly furnished room, in which patrons of the store may examine merchandise undisturbed and make their selections in comfort and at their leisure.”
“Looking across the dress salon on the second floor toward the Empire Room. Merchandise is kept in the cases of inlaid woods on either side.”
Second floor, the “sports wear department.”
Third floor foyer, looking toward the misses’ department, “as seen on emerging from the elevators.” (This series of photos from the Oct. 2, 1927 edition of The Dallas Morning News.)
The formal opening on Oct. 3, 1927, which attracted a crowd estimated at more than 25,000 people. Invited guests wore gowns and tuxedoes.
Top photo was posted in the Facebook group Pioneers of Dallas County; it is from the collection of Dallas historian Frances James.
All photos and articles dated October 2, 1927 are from a special section of The Dallas Morning News which coincided with the opening of the expanded store.
Read more about the history of the Neiman Marcus building on Wikipedia, here.
Click images to make them bigger. A couple of them are crazy-big.
Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.