San Francisco Points of Interest

I. Magnin Department Store Designed by Timothy L. Pflueger 20 February 2012
(Click Photos to Zoom)
I. Magnin Department Store
Geary Street at Stockton Street
Remodeled 1946

I. Magnin and Co. was founded in 1877 by Mary Ann Magnin and her husband, Isaac. She ran the small shop where she made and sold fancy baby clothes and her husband's wood carvings.

The signature I. Magnin Building, a ten-story white marble store designed by San Francisco architect Timothy Pflueger, opened on Union Square in 1948. Because of a steel shortage caused by World War II, the building was built around the steel skeleton of the old Butler office building.

Macy's bought I Magnin's in 1994 and closed it on 8 January 1995. Herb Caen wrote an elegy in his San Francisco Chronicle column: “The interior was dazzling, especially the great main hall, two stories high, with its Lalique light fixtures, the gold ceilings, the glass murals, the expensively made cases.”

Pat Steger, another Chronicle columnist wrote: “Those of us who have shopped there for 40 or 50 years know every inch of that store, and when it closes forever tomorrow, many longtime Bay Area residents will lose the equivalent of a private club.”

Source: San Francisco Chronicle dated 13 February 2019.

Other other elite, home-grown department stores are no longer with us: City of Paris, Gump's and the Emporium. I use the word elite in its old sense when it was aspirational rather than disparaging.

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