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Welcome to Part II of the history of department stores of Louisville, Kentucky. Part I ended with the Levy Bros.; from there we begin with a visit to Loevenhart & Co. (Original compilation by Holly Jenkins-Evans, Edited by the VFG, 2024. All photos copyright Holly Jenkins-Evans 2007, edited 2013.)

Loevenhart & Co.: This quality menswear store was in business from 1867 to 1995. Founded Lexington, Ky., by brothers Lee and Henry Loevenhart, Loevenhart’s moved to Louisville in 1898 when Lee Loevenhart opened a store at the corner of Market and Third St. This had previously been J. Winter’s men’s clothing store and was referred to as a one-hundred-year-old structure, according to a 1924 Daily News Record article.  The large, four-story structure had three stories devoted to men’s and boy’s clothing and accessories.

According to Lee L. Grossman, his grandfather Lee Loevenhart “…was born in 1844 in Wolfenhausen, Nassau, Germany. He migrated to the United States in 1851 at age 7 with his mother, who died soon after their arrival at Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to his grandfather and his mother, there were two brothers. He spent the next 5 years in the care of his uncle in Nashville, Tennessee. Lee later was engaged in selling jewelry through[out] Mississippi. In 1867 he joined his brother Henry in opening a men’s clothing store—Loevenhart’s in Lexington. … He died at the age of 82 years old on March 30, 1926, on the very same day the Louisville store opened in 1898.”

In the fall and winter of 1899 to 1900, Loevenhart’s advertised men’s suits from $5 and $7.50 and suits and overcoats up to $25. Loevenhart’s was extensively remodeled in 1924, reopening in a gala April event with Schilling’s Orchestra performing. Lee Loevenhart was the president and was followed into the business by his sons: Jesse M., Percy J., and Edgar C. Loevenhart. Edgar was president from 1946 to his death in 1961; his sister, Pauline L. Grossman, took over until her death in 1963. At that time, her son, Lee Loevenhart Grossman, took over.

Loevenhart’s operated its downtown location for 73 years—from March, 1898, until January of 1971, when they moved to the new Oxmoor Center on Shelbyville Rd. They opened there with the Center on February 8,1971. Loevenhart’s carried Society Brand, Custom Designs by J Schoeneman, Cricketeer by Joseph and Feiss, Stetson, and Arrow. After opening at Oxmoor in 1971, they added fashions by LeBaron, Canali, and Tallia International Fashion. Additional labels were Florsheim and Bally shoes and the London Fog, Jhane Barnes, and St. Croix lines. A women’s department, Lady L, was added in 1979 under the supervision of buyer Carolyn Grossman. This department opened with tailored apparel by J. Schoenman and carried tailored business apparel for women for years.

From Lee L. Grossman: “Loevenhart’s had several firsts in Louisville: first delivery of merchandise by air, August 29, at 3pm, year of flight estimated to be 1917 or 1918; first men’s store in Louisville to have central air conditioning; and the first store in Louisville to have a neon sign, installed by Federal Sign Company in 1927.”

In 1991, Lee Grossman was Chairman and CEO, while Kenneth Grossman became president, making four generations in the family business. Coming to the business in 1982 after a banking career, Ken Grossman had already served in sales, management, and as both sportswear buyer and men’s clothing buyer prior to 1991. The Lion’s head logo (Loevenhart translates from the German as “Lion hearted”) and block letter font were introduced in 1991 with their International Fashions merchandising effort.

Loevenhart’s closed Dec 24, 1995. Lee Grossman retired at that time. Since 1996, Kenneth Grossman has continued the family tradition with Executive Image Custom Clothing, offering custom men’s clothing, shirts and accessories with the same attention to service and quality that marked the 98 years of Loevenhart’s.



Long and Evans, Merchant Tailors: This company advertised in a 1918 Camp Zachary Taylor Souvenir Book: “Merchant Tailors, Speed Building, Main, 460, 4th & Guthrie. Military Outfitters.” In 1921, the company is headed by  P. Adelbert Evans and has moved to 203 Speed Building, off 4th St. In 1928, the principals are P.A. Evans and O.C. Kendall, at the same address. Long and Evans stayed there until at least 1940. By 1949, the store had relocated to 606 S. 4th; by 1957 it was shown at 200 Francis Building, and in 1960, at  712 S. 3rd  St. There are no listings in 1961 or 1962.

                       Label from a 1947 tuxedo

Martin’s: This was a menswear clothier from 1929 through 1997. Founded by Charles and Ruth Martin as the Brown Hotel Men’s Shop, Martin’s moved to the Commonwealth Building at 684 S. 4th St. on Broadway in 1936. In 1951, they advertised men’s silk ties at $2.50. The Martin family sold the business in 1971 to a group of investors including Dale McDonald, who later bought out the additional partners. Martin’s closed its downtown store in 1977/78 and did business at Oxmoor Mall from 1971–1992. From 1992, Martin’s operated at the Forum on Hurstbourne Lane. This last location closed in January of 1997.

Martin’s Master Tailor was Salvatori “Sam” DiGiovanni, a native of Sicily, who marked his 33rd year with the company in October of 1997.  The firm carried Burberry, Aquascutum, and Oxfordd suits, Arrow and Hathaway shirts, Nettleton shoes, and Martin ties.

The Millinery Studio: A Louisville milliner at the Theatre Building on 4th near the Loew’s Theatre, now The Palace. First listing found is in 1936, with Margaret King and Alma Schmutz, at 314 Theatre Building. From 1937 to 1940, Margaret King is shown as the proprietor. From 1949–1957, the business is shown at 629½ S. 4th St. As of 1960, there is no listing.

McGill – Malise: A millinery and dress business that grew out of Annie McGill’s millinery shop. By 1902, A. McGill & Co. was a well-known millinery business, with Annie McGill and Mary Buchel catering to the carriage trade at 325 S. 4th. By 1912, McGill had moved to 606 S. 4th and stayed there until at least 1925. From 1930–33, the company changed hands, with N.T. Yager, Jr. as new owner. It moved to 672 S. 4th, but the name remained. In 1934, Caron’s listed the company as A. McGill and Co., Mary J. Kaye and Mrs. Lipscomb Williams, milliners, at 300 W. Broadway. The name was changed in 1935 to A. McGill-Malise milliners, with the same owners. In 1940, it is listed as A. McGill-Malise & Co., Inc.; Elise L Williams, president; women’s clothing, 300 W. Broadway. By 1946, McGill-Malise had moved to 664 S. 3rd St., and there is a 1951 listing.  By 1957, the company is no longer listed. In 1957, there is a possibly related Malise Shop shown in the City Directory at 1412 Willow Ave. Apt 24. There is no listing at all in 1962.

George Moore: Caron’s City Directory lists the firm from at least 1946. There are no listings in the 1930s. The business was located at 640 S. 4th St. from 1946; by 1955 , it is shown at  630 S. 4th. Howard J. Bilharz was president in 1959, and H. J. Bilharz, Jr., was vice president. The Bilharz family also operated Davidson’s in the late 1950s. Between 1963 and 1965, the store moved to 538–540 S. 4th St . There was also a suburban branch at 3710 Lexington Rd. from 1963–1965. By 1967, the firm is listed only on 4th and was open for business there until at least 1970. This label is from a Zelinka-Matlink suit.

Moseson and King: 433 Walnut ( now Muhammad Ali Blvd). A menswear store in operation from 1919–1982 and founded by Harry R. Moseson and Arthur A. King. Mr. King sold out after 1928. Louis Moseson joined in 1947, then sold out to Paul Eitel 1978. The store carried  J. Schoeneman’s suits, sport jackets and slacks under the Doncaster label, Arrow and Enro shirts, Zero King outerwear, Interwoven socks, Beau Brummel neckwear (including hand-painted ties priced at $3 in 1951), and Stetson and Disney hats. Moseson and King did a large business in hats and was one of the first stores in downtown Louisville where Black customers tried on hats alongside white ones.

Mrs. A. E. Porter, Milliner: Born in Indiana in 1835 to parents who were from Indiana and France. She married  C.C. Porter, also a milliner, who was born in Maryland in 1835. They lived in the 7th Ward of Louisville with their had seven children and three servants. A.E. is shown at home in the 1880 census. The Lancaster, KY, “Central Record” of 4/19/1898 reported that a “fire in the Millinery establishment of Mrs. A.E. Porter destroyed entire stock. Loss between $12,000 and $14,000. Building damage, $500. Three-quarters insurance.”

Rebecca’s: First listed in 1946 as Rebecca and Mary Millinery and Dress Shoppe at 339 W. Broadway. By 1949, the name is just Rebecca’s. From 1953–1967, Rebecca’s is shown at 673 or 675  4th St. (The Brown Hotel). There is no listing in 1970.

Rodes-Rapier: A fine men’s clothing store located originally in the Starks Building on 4th St. in Louisville, founded in 1914 as the Starks Company by John Price Starks, William Rapier, and John Starks Rodes. The name had to be changed to Rodes-Rapier due to legal complications and a suit by the existing menswear business Crutcher & Starks, another top men’s quality clothing store. In 1928, W. Read Embry was president (since 1914); W.H. Rapier, first vice president; Joseph B. Rodes, second vice president; F.F. Starks, secretary; and John S. Rodes, treasurer. Rodes occupied two floors downtown in the Starks Building, with an extensive choice of  business, sport, and dress attire. The name was changed on store advertising to Rodes on the retirement of William Rapier. As late as 1951, the company  used both Rodes and Rodes-Rapier in an ad for Swank cufflinks and tie bars priced from $7.50 to $10.  Local ownership continued until 1983. Rodes added women’s wear by the 1990s. Rodes has continued to provide top-quality men’s and women’s wear with high levels of service.  Additional Rodes locations included Oxmoor Mall in St. Matthews, which closed in 2003, and stores in Tenesee and Indiana. The main location moved in 2003 from 4th St. to Brownsboro Rd. in Louisville. Rodes also owned Schupp and Snyder, another Louisville menswear store, known for its bank and insurance clientele. Lines carried, among others: Hickey-Freeman, Hart Schaffner & Marx, Burberrys, After Six. For more information see:

Shenley-Gordon: Located at 514 S. 4th Ave. This business started as Shenley’s Inc. in 1919 and became Shenley-Gordon by 1933. This was a milliners and ladies’ hat shop into the 1960s. The long-time manager was Jacob Gallin. In 1956 , the owners are shown as Mrs. Ruth L. Gallin and Jacob Gallin. In the 1950s and 1960s, this shop advertised Ruth Gallin Exclusives and featured Mrs. Gallin’s photo on their hatboxes. The last Directory listing shown was in 1966. The shop carried the New York Creations line, Dobbs 5th Ave., Oleg Cassini, and others. By the 1960s, the label read: “Ruth Gallin Millinery Shenley-Gordon 518 S. 4th Louisville, KY.”

Simmonds: A downtown store from 1934. The business directory lists Alis Simmonds Shop, Inc., ladies ready-to-wear, at 542 S. 4th St. In 1945, the store was advertising at the 4th St. location, then relocated in 1946 to 2120 Bardstown Rd. at the Douglass Loop. In 1956, Albert I. Straus was president. The store label did not change as late as 1967. Still listed at Bardstown Rd. in 1970, but closed by the 1980s.

Stewart Dry Goods (Stewart’s):  A Louisville department store that dominated the city’s retail trade for years. Stewart’s became the premier department store in Louisville and was one of the largest in the South. It always advertised to appeal to the carriage trade without pushing the middle class away.

Stewart’s was founded in 1846 by Benjamin Durkee and James Heath and was located at 3rd and Market St. (later the site of Levy Bros. Building) as Durkee & Heath’s New York Store. Durkee was the NY-based buyer, while Heath ran the operation in Louisville. The store moved to 4th and Jefferson in 1853, where it stayed with many expansions and became the S. Barker Co. in 1862.  In the later 1860s, the store was advertising rich failles and lesser silkalines for “the economically inclined.” In the 1870s, it did not yet have show windows, but sold yard goods on sidewalk tables. Jesse Middleton, a long-time employee,  and Augustus Sharpe bought and renamed the company in 1880, then sold it in 1892, when it was renamed Fessenden & Stewart Co.’s The New York  Store. Finally, when Louis Stewart gained sole control in 1893, it was known as Stewart Dry Goods. Louis Stewart stayed for approximately 10 years, moving on to a career in New York retail, but he made sure Stewart’s became a charter member of Associated Dry Goods. On April 15, 1907, Stewart’s Dry Goods opened the famous flagship store at 501 S. 4th on the southeast corner of Walnut St. (now Muhammad Ali Blvd ). This landmark was designed by Alfred Joseph of the firm of McDonald and Dodd, and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The  store was built across from the grand Seelbach Hotel on the site of the old Warren residence, built in 1857. Stewart’s was already a  high-end department store, but now became a downtown landmark and commercial palace known for the Orchid Room, the Luncheonette, and the Rebel Room dining facilities. The main store had seven stories with marble floors, reception rooms, a hospital, and 64 departments with everything from custom dressmaking (new in 1907) and custom dress fabric (yardage came with a Stewart’s label to put in the garment) to a needlework instructor, linens imported from Ireland, books, shoes, gloves, furniture, rugs, china, trunks, glassware, and men’s sweaters made in Italy. Buying trips to NY and Paris for laces and model gowns were made. After 1907, “The New York Store” phrase figured less and less prominently in the advertising. The old store at 4th and Jefferson became Stewart’s Golden Rule Store, an economy venue until 1913. In a 1913 ad, Stewart Dry Goods claimed to have the largest ready-to-wear women’s department in the South, along with the largest dining room in Louisville, where lunch cost 35 cents. The firm’s advertisements at that time referred to the “Stewart Dry Goods Company in connection with James McCreery & Company, New York.”

The building was enlarged in 1946. The logo “Stewart’s” in script begins use in 1947. The range of goods on offer in the post-WWII years is indicated by a 1948 Christmas ad in the Courier Journal, with suggested Christmas presents of monogrammed playing cards, area rugs, corn popper, floor lamps, aluminum trays and pitchers, and frosted glasses with red enamel initials

The first branch store was established in 1951 on East Main in Lexington, next to the Phoenix Hotel at 100–120 East Main. A multi-story expansion was added in downtown Louisville in 1959. A branch in the Mall St. Matthews opened in 1966 and a store in Oxmoor Mall on August 5, 1971. Stewart’s also opened a branch in the Fayette Mall in Lexington that year.

In 1969, coats were advertised in the $70–$80 price range. There are labels with “Stewart’s of Kentucky.” Brands included Davidow, Adrian, Adolph Blank, Kingsley, Vanity Fair, De Liso Debs. Stewart’s merged with L.S. Ayres on Nov. 1, 1985. At that time there were seven stores: four in Louisville, two in Lexington, and one in Evansville, Indiana. The Orchid Room and Luncheonette closed in  1986. In June 1987, Ayres was sold to Snyder’s, then in Oct. 1987, Hess’s bought Snyder’s. In April of 1990, Hess’s closed the 4th St. flagship store abruptly and never reopened. The building was a Hilliard Lyons Brokerage in the 2000s and still stands.

For more information, reminiscences and period photos please see: Stewart’s: A Louisville Landmark, by Kenneth L. Miller, 1991.


Dwight Thomas: This ladies’ clothing shop was listed in the City Directories from at least 1953, with Virginia H. Thomas as president, at 1561 Bardstown Rd. They moved between 1955 and 1957 to a suburban location at 309 Wallace Ave. in St. Matthews, where they were in business until at least 1970.


Walsh the Tailor: Patrick F. Walsh is listed in Caron’s as a  Merchant Tailor at 110 S. 4th St. in 1912. In 1928, A.W. Fryell is shown as president and E.W. Zang as secretary. Walsh the Tailor continues at this location until at least 1958.


Wearbest Clothing Co.: Wearbest sold men’s clothing at 302 W. Market from 1932 until at least 1970. In 1928, the owner was Herman Hindel.


Younger’s (Younger Reliable Furriers): Founded 1911. Located in 1928 at 637 S. 4th between Chestnut and Broadway and still there as of 1951. In the 1928 City Directory, Jacob Younger was the owner and Harry Yudofsky, the furrier. By 1946, the firm was advertising as Younger’s. In 1955, it is listed at 659 S. 4th St., remaining there until at least 1970.


Yudofsky Furriers: Located from 1933–1973 in the Heyburn Bldg., Yudofsky’s had a location in Oxmoor by the early 1970s. In downtown, the store moved to the Starks Bldg. in the mid 1970s. Founder Joseph Yudofsky was the master furrier. After his death in 1988, ownership passed to his wife, Dorothy, and now has passed to their daughter, Joy. In 2006, Yudofsky’s moved the Oxmoor store to Holiday Manor. As well as furs, cashmere sweaters with fur collars were carried in the ’50s. For more information:


Sources: For Hytken’s entry, Sheila Hytken Bialkin; for the Schenley-Gordon entry, Carol Vowels; for Moseson and King, Louis Moseson and Carol Moseson Savkovich; for Loevenhart’s, Lee L. and Kenneth L. Grossman. Many labels courtesy of Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire and As Time Goes By, both in Louisville, KY.

“200 Years at the Falls of the Ohio,” Business First, 1997 article by Terry Boyd; Courier-Journal and Times newspaper clippings, courtesy of the Louisville Free Public Library; www.gusmayer’; Historic Photos of Louisville; The Encyclopedia of LouisvilleLouisville Since the Twenties; Louisville Then and;; Caron’s Louisville Directory 1902–1965Who’s Who in Louisville 1926, W.T. Owens; Business and Professional Directory of Louisville, Ky., New Albany and Jeffersonville, Ind., 1916; A Commercial History of the State of Kentucky, 1913; Louisville Fifty Years Ago, 1923; Paducah Sun, 11/20/1903; Kentucky Irish American, 8/7/1909; Asa S. Chinn Downtown Lexington, KY, Photographic Collection; “Bacon’s Welcomes a Second 100 years,” 1945, James Speed; Stewart’s: A Louisville Landmark, 1991, Kenneth L. Miller; Down the Century with Stewart’s 1846–1946, Isabel McMeekin; Jewish Louisville, Louisville Guide 2004, Luker, Domer, and Mohney.