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Carson's Shows Its Age

By Shannon in News on Nov 18, 2006 7:41PM

Ah, Carson Pirie Scott & Co. What a store. Or, at least, what a building. While we don't shop there that often, mostly for their propensity to take plus-size fashion tips from retired schoolteachers, we admire the hell out of the building. Built between 1898 and 1906, not only does everyone in Chicago know it and take vast pride in its beauty, logic stands that there must be a ton of history tied up in it.

carson's - intricaciesYep, we loves us some history ... so we were delighted beyond belief when we came across this: In the midst of cleaning house for their March closure, Carson's found a treasure trove of historic goodies. So far they've discovered old employee uniforms, a stunning '20s era wedding dress, newspaper clippings relating to the store, and ledgers from the 1800s. There's even a list of employee rules dating from 1856(!), before the building existed. According to that venerable database of wisdom, Wikipedia, Carson's has been in business since 1854, so that's plausible ... but to find a surviving document from way back then is astounding, especially in tear-it-down-ask-questions-later Chicago. To give an idea of how wonderfully old-timey these rules were, here's our favorite:

The employee, who is in the habit of smoking Spanish cigars, being shaved at the barber shop, going to dances and other places of amusement, will surely give his employer reason to be suspicious of his honesty and integrity.
Holy shit, the number of lawsuits to come from that little marvel is enough to make our heads spin.

The finds are going on display to the general public on Black Friday, in a final holiday window. They've also opened up a store exclusively for selling Carson's memorabilia. If you're worried about the fate of these antiquities, the Sun-Times reports some mementos will be taken in by a branch of the Pirie family. We'd love to know what will happen to the rest of them. After flipping that PS3, we've got some extra bank to throw around.