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Join us as we visit historic Louisville, Ky., home to a myriad of fashionable department stores from the 1800s through the end of the 20th century. Sadly, few remain, but we can read about them and imagine spending a day spent shopping in downtown Louisville. Thanks to VFG friend Holly Jenkins-Evans, who authored this well-documented, interesting history.

Original compilation by Holly Jenkins-Evans, www.pastperfectvintage.com. Edited by VFG, 2024. All photos copyright Holly Jenkins-Evans 2007, edited 2013.

They were unique. They were of their time. And they were ours. Now, they are all but gone. Like so many other American cities, Louisville once had scores of local clothing stores that were institutions. One grew up and learned to shop were one’s mother and aunts shopped, not unlike family traditions regarding one’s choice of church, doctor, and attorney. Ladies went downtown to shop at the flagship buildings of Stewart’s, Selman’s or Kaufman-Straus or, a bit later, to the Art Deco Byck’s. If you went to Stewart’s, you wore a hat and gloves and went to lunch in the Orchid Tea Room. If you were a doctor, you shopped at Martin’s; a banker, at Rodes-Rapier.

Shopping downtown was an all-day experience: walking from store to store along 4th St., lunch at Stewart’s or Kaufman’s, and perhaps a movie afterward. The corner of 4th and Walnut (now Muhammad Ali Blvd.) was known as the 4 S’s Corner for the Seelbach Hotel, Selman’s, the Stark’s Building, and Stewart’s. Of the stores profiled below, only three are still in existence—and none have venues downtown. The buildings of many remain, finding new uses, while the clothing and hats continue to come out of estates and turn up in vintage clothing shops.

Appel’s: According to the Encyclopedia of Louisville, Appel’s was founded by Louis Appel in 1883 as Appel’s Menswear. Originally located at 440 W. Market, by 1916 it had moved to 407–411 S. 4th. His sons Louis, Joseph A., W.G., and Sidney H. Appel carried on the business and are listed as company officers as early as 1925. Appel’s was listed in Caron’s Directory of Louisville as “haberdashers, clothiers, hatters and women’s hosiery, shoes and novelties.” In 1925 the store had four floors on 4th St. and added women’s sportswear in 1929. By 1930, it was located at 425 S. 4th St. In 1932, it was selling Wilson Bros. men’s hose in silk and rayon  for $0.17 a pair. Louis Appel died in 1936; the store remained at 425 S. 4th into the 1940s. Appel’s closed in 1967.

From a 1950s suit
From a 1950s tie

                                                                                                                               

                           

Bacon’s: Founded in 1845 by Jeremiah Bacon, Sr., as J. Bacon’s and Sons, Bacons grew from a small storefront on Market near Preston Street to become a mid-level, full-line department store. Founder Jeremiah Bacon, born in 1811 in Pennsylvania, came to Kentucky in the 1830s. His first business was Brockaway and Bacon’s Auction Store on 4th between Main and Market. The first store was a small three-story building that was added to in the mid 1860s and which then doubled in size again by 1876. Bacon’s sons—Edwin, Jeremiah, Jr., and John—were affiliated with the business starting in the 1860s. John Bacon became the manager at the death of Jeremiah, Sr. Their advertising slogan was “J. Bacon & Sons Where Quality Cost Less,” and they claimed to be “the oldest established department store in the state of Kentucky and probably the oldest store in the South.”

Bacons moved to a new, larger building at 330–334 Market, near 4th, in 1901 and stayed there until 1972. With five stories on the Market St. side, the new building featured a large circular light well, white wrought iron, and hardwood. The Bacon brothers retired in 1903. In 1913, Bacon’s advertised “dry goods, carpets, rugs, furniture, millinery, ready-to-wear, boy’s clothing, men’s furnishings, women’s and children’s footwear, books, house furnishings” in 63 departments. Bacon’s was purchased by Mercantile in 1914. In the 1920s, the president and general manager was Andrew H. Morris, and the four-story 4th Street Annex was added at 213–217 S. 4th St. to give Bacon’s an entrance there.

Bacon’s emphasized good quality for the money. In 1949 a woven chambray dress ran $4.99, and sun dresses with jackets were $5.95 in the Cotton Shop on the balcony. In 1946 they had branches at 1280 Bardstown Rd. and 2738 Dumensil. In 1951, J. Bacon and Sons built a $1 million free-standing department store on Shelbyville Rd. as their first major venture outside of downtown. Bacon’s was the first large suburban department store in the area, and they had to upgrade their merchandise to appeal to the East End suburban shopper. Bacon’s eventually had at least seven stores in the Louisville and Jefferson County area, including ones at Bashford Manor Mall, St. Matthews, The Mall St. Matthews, Shively, Jeffersonville, Owensboro, and they re-opened in downtown at the 4th St. Galleria. Bacon’s was bought out by Dillard’s in 1998.

from a 1960s men’s suit
Logo in use in the 1960s                       
Logo from bags and boxes

 

Baynham’s Inc. Shoe Store: Located at 522 S. 4th, between Chestnut and Broadway. Baynham’s closed in June 1962.

Ben Snyder Department Store: 522 W. Market. In 1928, Ben Snyder was president, and B.H. Shapero was secretary. Ben Snyder was born in Russia in 1887 and immigrated to the US in 1891. After coming of age, he worked elsewhere in the South and returned to Louisville in 1907, going into business with his father, Marcus Snyder. He branched out on his own after several years. In 1916 he was located at 906 W. Market, then moved the business to 522 W. Market in 1919, filling half the building. By 1920 he had taken over the entire building. He opened a Lexington, KY, at 113–117 E. Main St., in 1835.

On Dec. 17, 1948, Snyder’s was offering 100-denier rayon crepe dresses in floral prints at $5.95 in sizes 12–20 and 18 1/2–24 1/2 at the stores in  Louisville and Lexington. Newspaper advertisements from 1949 offered women’s black kid stroller shoes at $13.95 and claimed the stores to be “the South’s Greatest Cash Department.” In 1983, they had stores in Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Paducah, and Evansville. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the stores were renamed Hess’s on Feb 1, 1987. The five-story Lexington branch was torn down on Sept. 30, 1993.

Ben Snyder’s gift box, courtesy of As Time Goes By

 

Besten and Langen Co.: First found in the City Directory in 1905, as Henry Besten and E.O. Langen, ladies tailors, cloaks and furriers at 538–540 4th St.  Henry Besten was  a native of Germany and naturalized citizen who immigrated to the US in 1882 at the age of 20. By 1912, Besten was the firm’s president, and the business had moved to  424–426 S. 4th. In 1920, Emil Besten is listed as secretary, and the business sold ladies’ garments at 518–520 4th. Henry and Emil Besten continued in these roles until at least 1928. The business remained at the 518–520  S. 4th St. location and continued to be listed as ladies ready-to-wear throughout the 1930s–50s.They also had a beauty salon on the third floor and carried Coro jewelry in the 40s. They advertised extensively in the 1950s. In 1940, James E. Shade was the superintendent, and from 1946–47, George Meyer held that role. By 1953, Leonard Meyer was president. The last City Directory listing is in 1962.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

The Bon Ton (also the Bon Ton Cloak and Suit Co.): 322 S. 4th St (4th and NW corner of Liberty) from 1916–1961. The founder and president was Joseph H. Greenstein. Located in the Marion E. Taylor Building, The Bon Ton carried women’s sportswear. In the 1930s, they had a Downstairs Bargain Shop. Greenstein died in January of 1935; his widow, Sara W. Greenstein, ran the business as owner and operator for 26 more years.

In 1936, blouses were advertised for $1 and $1.98, twin-set sweaters for $2.95. Ladies jackets were $1.39 and wool skirts, $1.98. Fur coats such as muskrat, broadtail, weasel, seals, fitches, kidskins, lapin, squirrels, including swaggers and full-length, fitted styles, were regularly priced from $129.10 to $225, but were reduced in January to $64.75 to $112.50. During the same sale, the Downstairs Bargain Shop offered winter coats at half price for $7.95 and $9.95; sports coats at half price, $6.95; and silk dresses at $1.95, regularly $3.90. Note: Green St. was renamed Liberty St.in 1918.

from a Bon Ton Hat box, ca 1940–1950

Byck Bros. & Co. (Byck’s): A very high-end ladies clothing store in Louisville, KY, that was often described as fashion forward and which presented trunk shows of current designers. And Bycks was also ahead of the times in being one of the first downtown stores to have integrated dressing rooms. In the segregated South, African-American customers had to purchase without trying clothes on. Bycks got its start when Louis & Werner Byck opened a shoe store at 416 4th St. in 1902. The business survived a $20,000 loss to fire on Nov. 20, 1903. It was located at some point at 338 S. 4th; in 1909, it moved from 220 S. 4th, and by 1910, the store was located at 434–38 S. 4th. A 1909 ad refers to locations in Atlanta and Savannah as well. Bycks often advertised as Bycks Shoes in the teens. In 1924, Bycks moved to 532–534 S. 4th, an Art Deco building (still standing in 2009), and in 1925, Bycks began selling quality ladies clothing as well as shoes and hosiery. In 1928, Werner S. Byck of Atlanta, GA, was president, and Dann C. Byck, Sr., was VP. Dann C. Byck became president in 1923. In December of 1946, Bycks expanded to a store at 3738 Lexington Rd. in St. Matthews. When Dan Byck, Sr., died in 1960, his wife, Mary Helen Byck, took the reins. Through the 1970s and 1980s, Bycks expanded to suburban malls: to Oxmoor Mall in 1971 and Bashford Manor in 1974. In 1982, the 4th St. store moved to the Louisville Galleria. Another store opened in Lexington at the Fayette Mall. This closed in 1988. In Jan. 1991, Byck’s closed the Bashford Manor Mall store, and on July 23, 1991, all remaining stores closed. Mary Helen Byck died one day later.


The Art Deco Byck’s Building on the right at 534 S. 4th St., now Byck’s Lofts


from a late 1930s cape


from a pair of late 1940s shoes


a pre-1946 label used in a custom 1956 hat


early 1950s label


a 1950s Byck’s Hat Box


The St. Matthew’s & Downtown stores shown on a ca. 1956 hat box


from a late 1950s jacket,courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire


a 1956 Suit by Bardley


Bycks Gift Box, pre 1960s


from an early 1960s coat


Byck’s Hosiery Box courtesy As Time Goes By


Byck’s hat box with Louisville landmarks shown, inc. Downtown & St. Matthews stores, Speed Museum, U of L Administration Bldg., Churchill Downs, Belle of Louisville, Rausch Planetarium and Iroquois Bandshell, courtesy of As Time Goes By


from a 1960s – early 1970s mailing card, courtesy of As Time Goes By


post-1971 label from a 1970s coat


from a 1980s blazer, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire


Byck’s gift box, late 1980s

Cavalier Ties of Louisville: Cavalier Cravat Company was a manufacturer of men’s neckwear. The first mention found is in the Clothier and Furnisher, vol. 107–108, 1925. However, the firm is not listed in Caron’s Louisville City Directory until 1936, at 301. W. Main, where it remained until 1938. In 1940, the officers were Joseph Taustine, President, and L.W. Meyer, Secretary; the location was 528 W. Main St. Cavalier Ties of Louisville/Cavalier Cravat Company filed patent #2499286 on June 25,1948, by Isidor Karol Trau for tie construction. “Locked in Construction” was a trade phrase in many of their ads. Thoro-bred, Trimshape, Cavalure, and Kyloom Tweed were a few of their model names. In 1955, Herman Jacobs was president; the company was then at 1731 S. Brook St. Cavalier remained at that address until 1966. It is listed in Esquire Applied Arts, 1956, and Fairchild’s Publication: vol 145, 1962. In 1965, Joseph R. Raymond was president. By 1967, there is no listing in Caron’s.
  
l. to r.: 1940s label, courtesy As Time Goes By; 1950s label; and 1950s Trimshape label

Crutcher & Starks – According to legal documents from a lawsuit against The Starks Company, Crutcher and Starks was founded in 1886 by Dallas C. Crutcher and John P. Starks  at the NE corner of 4th and Jefferson.From the 1912 A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians. John Price Starks was born in 1848 and in1876 “moved to Frankfort and formed a partnership with Dallas C. Crutcher, a relative …the firm was incorporated as the Crutcher and Starks Company in 1901, of which Mr. Starks is the president.” They opened in Lexington 1882,  and January 1889 bought the Wannemaker and Brown business at corner of 4th and Jefferson  Louisville. The Main St. branch in  Frankfort and the Lexington branch later closed.Starks’ brother, I.F. Starks was occasionally a stockholder. In 1895, Crutcher sold out to the Starks brothers.  In 1905, J.P. Starks was the President and I.F. Starks the Vice President. A 1909 ad lists Brokaw and Winston Full Dress and Tuxedo Suits in a price range from $25 to $50 . In 1911, the  Starks brothers sold out completely to stockholders Granville R. Burton, J.W. McGinn and M.H. Moise.  By 1918, Burton and his sons, Granville L. and Ferrell Burton, had acquired the corporation outright.In 1919, Crutcher and Starks had at least 6 delivery trucks and their marquee sign read : “The Store of Standardized Values Crutcher & Starks 4th and Jefferson, Granville R. Burton & Sons”. They opened a branch at the Seelbach Hotel by 1923 where they sold men’s clothing, furnishings, hats and caps Granville R. Burton was President in 1928, with Ferrell Burton VP. They continued in business until 1940. The business was not  listed in 1941 in the City Directory.Nellie Crane, Milliner. The first reference found as of yet, is as Assistant Manager at Lord’s in 1940. By 1955, Mrs. Nellie Crane Milliner, is shown at 1580 Bardstown Rd. and is there until 1962. As of 1967, she was located at 4809 Bardstown Rd. in Fern Creek. In 1970, there is no listing.


1950s hat label

Mary Cummings: Mary Cummings Eudy ( 1874 – 1952) was a clothing designer and maker in Louisville with a national reputation. She used local seamstresses and hand embroiderers working at home to produce dresses with hand sewn detail on imported fabrics.  Her firm was located at 222 W. Magnolia from 1914 on. She closed at the outbreak of World War II and focused on her additional career as a  poet.


from a 1930s formal dress, courtesy of Linn’s Collection at Ruby Lane

Davidson’s – 1937 shows the first listing as Davidson’s Milliners at 531 S. 4th St. Photos in 1942 and 1947 show Davidson’s at the corner of 4th and Guthrie in the Speed Building. This was just north of Stewart’s and the Seelbach Hotel. In 1957, the officers were Howard J. Bilharz Sr. and Jr., who also ran George Moore. The City Directory continues to show Davidson’ Millinery at 531 S. 4th until at least 1962. Davidson’s opened a second location at The Mall St. Matthews in 1962 and was there until at least 1967.


The Speed Building, built 1913 – 1917 at the corner of 4th and Guthrie Green


Hat box pre 1962, courtesy of Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire;  Hat box post 1962, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire 


Davidson’s Millinery Label from a 1950s hat, courtesy PinkyAGoGo

DuRand: (DuRand-Perry, Inc.) – This business started out as DuRand-Perry, Inc. in 1917 at 538 S. 4th in the first Prince Wells Building, later to be taken by George Moore. Elden E. DuRand, Sr., a former buyer at Kaufman-Straus, was the first President, with Edwin Perry listed as the Secretary and Treasurer. DuRand-Perry sold ladies ready-to-wear. By 1928 they had added the Beauty Shoppe, run by Mrs. Sallie S. Herr. They refined their store description to an ’exclusive dress shop for women’ by 1932. They also carried hats and furs. The store moved to 313 – 315 W. Walnut by 1940 and the name was just DuRand. By 1946, the officers were Elden DuRand Sr. and Elden DuRand Jr. In 1953 E. DuRand,Jr. is the President. DuRand continued on at the Walnut location until at least 1958. There is no listing in the 1960 Caron’s Directory.

 
from a 1940s hat, courtesy As Time Goes By; from a 1950s Fur Coat , courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire; 1950s newspaper ad, courtesy As Time Goes By  


538 S. 4th St. Left: The Prince Wells Building Front, Right: Side view, the Byck’s Building can be seen to the right

Fleischer’s – Founded by Joseph Fleischer, this Louisville, KY and Syracuse, NY based ladies clothing store’s first listing is in 1936 at 529 S. 4th as Joseph Fleischer’s, Inc., (later Fleischer’s of Ky). They later moved to 521 S. 4th. In 1957, Fleischer opened a branch at Dixie Manor and enlarged the Downtown store.They announced they were starting construction on a branch in The Mall St. Matthews on Shelbyville Rd in 1962. They stayed Downtown until at least 1965. Joseph Fleischer died in January 1, 1967 and was succeeded by his son Lionel. The Dixie Manor store closed in August of 1967.


from a 1940s gabardine suit; from a late 1940s evening coat, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire

Madame C. Grunder – This was a fine ladies dressmaking business, founded by Christine Johnson, later Christine Grunder (1846-1920) the by the 1860s. There were several locations: first on Green (now Liberty) Street, then by 1902 at 328 4th Ave, then in 1905 at 341 W. Jefferson, and in 1912 in the Tyler Building, By 1920: Madame Grunder was located in the Bernheim Building at 638-640 S. 4th St. in Suite 305.In 1863, a Grunder dress with ruffles cost 75 cents. By 1923, the prices ranged from $75 – $300. The business grew to employ a large staff while servicing customers from the social elite as well as mail order customers nationally and overseas. Madame Grunder’s trips to purchase fabrics and trims from New York and European houses were covered by the local papers: ” Miss Annie McGill, the 4th St. milliner, left Thursday for New York , whence she will sail today for Europe. She will be accompanied by Mme. C. Grunder, the well known modiste” Ky Irish-American of July 19, 1902. From 1923 to 1928, the house was owned and run by Olive G. Todd at the Bernheim Building location. By 1930, there is no listing.


From a ladies wedding suit, dated 1906


640 S 4th St, formerly The Bernheim Building, built 1915

H.P. Selman & Co. (Selman’s) – A high end, one might say exclusive, ladies and children’s apparel and accessories in Louisville, Ky. with a fur salon. Founded in 1904 at NW corner of Walnut and 4th St. as Gutman’s, a local shoe store, it changed ownership in 1915 and was bought and renamed by Homer P. Selman. It was located in the Atherton Building, since demolished for the Meidinger Tower. In 1928, Caron’s Louisville Directory listed H.P. Selman’s as a women’s outfitters with H. G. Lewis as general manager and F. W.Jutz as credit manager. In 1929, control passed to out of town investors.Selman’s had a Design Studio for custom made hats from at least the 1930s. They advertised lower priced merchandise in their “Selman’s Subway” department in the 30 – 50s. In 1941, they advertised that Mackey Chenoweth was their Bridal Counselor in the Bride’s Shop on the second floor. By WWII, the name was usually shortened in advertising to Selman’s. The shortened Selman’s label is in use by 1947, but these labels coexisted for a period. As a sample of their prices, in 1949, Selman’s chambray and bemberg summer dresses were advertised at $14.99, when Bacon’s was advertising similar but simpler dresses at $4.99. In 1953, H.P. Selman’s, then owned by Grier Corp., was bought by Thal Bros. Selman’s was sold in 1961 for $1 million to Weiss Bros. aka Gus Mayer’s (Weiss bought Gus Mayer’s in 1934). Weiss Bros. didn’t change the Selman’s name to Gus Mayer’s until 1970. Selman’s never opened a suburban location.

 
from a 1933-35 evening coat; label from a 1930s hat; from a late 1938-1942 Design Studio hat 


Selman’s hat box, courtesy As Time Goes By; from a 1940s coat, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire; from a 1950s fur jacket, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire


from a 1950s Trebor hat; from  an early 60s evening dress; from an early 1960s Helen Rose suit 


from a late 1950s – early 60s hat, courtesy of As Time Goes By; from 1960s wool coat 


1941 newspaper ad, courtesy As Time Goes By; 1949  newspaper ad, courtesy As Time Goes By; Early 1950s Selman’s Gift box with graphic of the Belle of Louisville and Churchill Downs, courtesy As Time Goes By

The Hat Box – A St. Matthews, KY millinery shop active from 1939 to 1983 at 323 Wallace Ave. The founder was Rose Schneider, and the longtime manager was Pearl Sills. The Hat Box became Whitney’s Hat Box in 1983, then Whitney’s. In the 1950s, they carried high end hats by makers such as G. Howard Hodge of New York.


a 1950s box from The Hat Box; from a 1960s Hat, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire


from a 1940s – 50s hat courtesy As Time Goes By; from a 1960s G. Howard Hodge Hat

Hofman-Hagman – Henry Hofman and John G.L. Hagman, merchant tailors at 710 W. Market, from a 1925 listing. There is no listing by 1932.


from a 1921 Tuxedo, courtesy As Time Goes By

Hytken’s – St. Matthew’s, KY 1952 – 1998. Hytken’s was an exclusive boutique ladies apparel shop with a devoted clientele. Hytken’s advertised in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and presented a full season of trunk shows including Bill Blass Couture, Albert Capraro, St. John Knits, Geoffrey Beene, Count Romi, Halston, Hanae Mori, Alper Schwartz, Albert Nipon, Adele Simpson, Helga, Michael Novarese, William Pearson, Rodier of Paris, Adele Simpson, St. John, Mary McFadden, Michaele Volbracht and Louis Feraud. In the early 50s, they carried Lilli Ann as well.

from a 1950s hat, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire; from a 1950s hat, courtesy As Time Goes By; from a 1960s coat, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire 


1960 Hytken’s ad courtesy of As Time Goes By; 1983 Fall Showings, courtesy Shelia Hytken Bialkin


1988 Fall Showings, courtesy Shelia Hytken Bialkin

Jefferson Dry Goods – at 237 S. 4th St. (NE corner of Jefferson) from 1845 to 1960. In 1928 Meyer Mittenhal was President and F.H. Voelz was the manager. Still seen in advertising in the 1950s.

Jenny Lind – This was a ladies dress shop named for the popular Swedish singer located on 4th St. from 1915. The founder was Mrs. Edith Norton Menifee. In the 1928 Caron’s Directory, it is shown as The Jenny Lind at #402 638 S. 4th St., with dressmakers Jane L. Lindenbarger and Edith N. Menifee. In the 1946/47 directory, the post-war Jenny Lind had added Jenny Lind Juniors and is listed at 640 S. 4th St. The business was bought from the estate of Edith Menifee in 1958 by Mrs. William Moore and is listed until 1960 at least.


from a ca. 1950 dress suit by Jacques Fath for Joseph Halpert; from a 1950s dinner dress

Kaufman-Straus – Kaufman’s was a fine Louisville, KY department store carrying women’s clothing, furs, linens and menswear founded by Henry Kaufman in 1879, on Jefferson St. between 7th and 8th. In 1883 Benjamin Straus became a partner and the name was changed to Kaufman-Straus Dry Goods. In 1887, Kaufman-Straus moved to 4th St. By 1891, they were on the east side of 4th St., south of Liberty in a building designed by Henry Wolters. Their six-story downtown Louisville location at 427 – 437 S. 4th St. was built in 1903 by local Louisville architect Mason Maury on the site of the original public library. They occupied this store until 1971. By 1901, Kaufman-Straus & Co. had a location in Lexington, KY at 12 East Main St. Kaufman-Straus was bought in 1924 by the City Stores Buying Group. In 1925, they completed an extensive interior renovation. As of 1928, the officers were P. J. Sullivan, John Hill, and John H. Sullivan. In addition to clothing, they also sold dry goods, laces, embroideries, millinery, shoes, draperies, corsets, hosiery, china, cut glass, pictures, books, jewelry, stationary, men’s wear and house furnishings. The name was shortened in advertising to Kaufman’s by 1946, but both names continued to be used into the 1950s. For example, in a 1949 newspaper ad for $2.98 washable linen skirts, both names were used. Occasionally Kaufman’s of Kentuckiana was used in advertising. In 1960, Kaufman-Straus officially became Kaufman of Kentucky. However, this was still often shortened to Kaufman’s in ads and on labels. The Dixie Manor store opened in 1958. An anchor store in The Mall St. Matthews called Kaufman’s of Kentucky opened in 1962. In December of 1969, Kaufman’s was sold to Ayres and the name changed yet again. The 4th St. building is now part of 4th St. Live. The heyday for Kaufman’s was the 1950s when it was considered one of the city’s finest stores.

an early label from an unknown garment; from a 1950s tie


price tags, courtesy As Time Goes By; from 1950s rhinestone necklace courtesy of As Time Goes By; from an early 1960s coat, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire

from a 1940s tie, courtesy As Time Goes By; from a 1950s – 60s tie courtesy of As Time Goes By; from a post-1962 hat box, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire

The Kaufman-Straus Facade, adapted to the Louisville Galleria, now part of 4th Street Live


Kaufman-Straus Gift box and price tag , courtesy of As Time Goes By

Kleinman’s NY Furriers – at 654 S. 4th St since 1918. Caron’s 1928 Directory lists George Kleinman as a salesman at NY Furriers and Hyman Kleinman, Manager NY Furriers. They were near the Loews Theatre, now the Palace Theatre. Shown in 1937 photos, Kleinman’s is listed in 1951 as on 4th between Chestnut and Broadway. They opened a new store  at Chestnut and 4th in 1962. Kleinman’s is now in the Forum Center on Hurstbourne Pkwy. They were and still are retail furriers as well as makers of Kleinman’s Living Shoes, a line of custom made orthopedic shoes for men, women and children.


from a 1950s fur coat, courtesy Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire

Levy Bros. – A long lived department store carrying a full line of men’s and women’s wear including hats, caps, shoes, furnishings, and even a men’s and children’s barber shop. Henry and Moses Levy started as immigrant German peddlers before the Civil War. The brothers opened their store in 1861 at the NE corner of 3rd St. and Market in a corner room of a 4-story building. They prospered during the Civil War as suppliers and after that war Levy’s was nation’s largest supplier of Confederate uniforms for reunions and encampments. In 1889, they purchased the land and started construction in 1892 of the landmark Levy Bros. Bldg., which they completed in 1893. At the turn of the century, their suits were in the $10 price range. Levy’s continued to grow and added an annex in 1906. The building still stands and is still features the ca. 1908 electric lights outlining the exterior, leading to a local phrase “Lit up like Levy’s”. The business also used the phrase “Look for the Bright Spot” in their advertising. A 1910 letter to a customer indicated they carried a full line of men’s golf and tennis wear including shoes. The same letterhead lists men’s, ladies and children’s shoes, and mens and boys clothing and hats. By the late 1920s, the company was run by Fred, Arnold, Stuart H., James H. and Frederick Levy with S.L. Greenebaum. And they had added a branch location in Lexington, KY in the 1920s.

Levy Bros. Letterhead from 1910 with landmark store

Sale prices at Levy Bros. in 1936 ran in the $2.95 -$3.95 for trousers on the 4th floor with suits, and coats, regularly $25 – 50.00, reduced to  $19.85 to $38.85. They started carrying womenswear in 1940s. In 1948, prices had crept up to $12.50 to $14.95. In 1955, Levy’s opened a store in the Shelbyville Rd Plaza. The Levy family closed the Third and Market store on Oct. 10, 1980, ending 119 years in downtown Louisville. The Shelbyville Road Plaza, Bashford Manor Mall and Dixie Manor stores were sold in September 1979. In 1984 they closed their Greentree Mall, Jefferson Mall and Southland Terrace branches. Bashford Manor was the last store and closed in 1987. The last family president was Henry Levy. The downtown building, now on the National Register, still stands, housing a restaurant and loft apts. They carried Hart Schaffner Marx, Palm Beach,Clippercraft,Carson ,Botany,Harris Tweeds, Eagle Tweeds, Donegal Tweeds, and Phoenix labels,Dobbs hats and the MacGregor line, Florsheim Shoes, Enro, Arrow and Manhattan shirts, Bass shoes, Fashion Park Clothes, Charter House, Robert Surrey and Varsity. Specialties included military uniforms, and they were a local supplier for Selva Dance shoes, a favorite of Louisville dance academies.