Before the Shopping Center

Acropolis and Agora,
from Perseus
London Bridge ca. 1650
from Museum of London
Leadenhall 1808
from PPS
Washington Market 1853
from PPS
Cleveland Arcade 1966, from HABS
Saint-Hubert Gallery
from Brussels Guide
"Separate Sphere" from Godey's
A. T. Stewart store
from American Memory
Galleria Vittoria Emanuele
from USC

500 BC - The Greek Agora at the foot of the Acropolis in ancient Athens was one of the first urban marketplaces, with a central open square surrounded by buildings.

100 BC - The Republican Forum at the base of Capitoline Hill was the commercial and government center in Rome.

1174 AD - The Market-Place developed in the city of Brussels on the site of a dried swamp dried, with buildings constructed by guilds and craft corporations along a rectangular square. Similar market squares would appear during the Middle Ages in European cities, and would become the location for the construction of cathedrals, clocktowers, and city halls.

1288 - The Piazza del Campo in Venice Italy was an open space surrounded by the cathedral and buildings, with eleven shop-lined streets converging on the center.

1400 - Sturbridge Fair near Cambridge England was one of the largest medieval fairs that were market centers for merchants.

1461 - The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, grew from two small warehouses during the ea of Mehmet the Conqueror to 4400 shops today, known locally as the Kapalicarsi ("covered bazaar").

1500 - London Bridge was lined with shops across Thames River in London England.

1666 - After the London fire, great rectangular market courtyards were built to remove markets from the city streets. The largest market in Europe was Leadenhall in London with courts and rows of stalls selling all types of goods.

1735- Oswego market on Broadway was one of several large market buildings built by the British to replace stalls and streetshops in New York City.

1753 - The Stock market was built in London.

1771 - Bear market developed in New York City on land donated by Trinity Church that would later become the site of the World Trade Center. It was first known as Bera Market after a butcher killed and displayed a bear that had crossed the Hudson. This old market was replaced by the new Washington Market that dominated lower Manhattan throughout the 19th century. An observer in 1862 wrote that this "market is without doubt the greatest depot for the sale of all manner of edibles in the United States; it not only supplies many thousands of our citizens, but I may say, many of the surrounding cities, towns, villages, hotels, steamers (both ocean and river) and shipping vessels of all descriptions."

1789 - One of the first enclosed shopping galleries was built in Paris in a former royal garden near the Palais Royal. This was replaced in 1830 by the more elaborate OrlČans gallery.

1800- During the Napoleonic wars, John Trotter in London transformed a former warehouse into a new shopping place called a "bazaar" for the widows and daughters of British soldiers. The Soho Bazaar flourished, as did the Baker Street Bazaar and the Pantheon Bazaar on Oxford Street. The bazaar and the enclosed gallery represented the transition from open air markets and individual merchant shops to the centralized department stores of the mid-1800s.

1819 - The Burlington Arcade opened in London's West End on Piccadilly, designed by Samuel Ware for George Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, in the garden of the duke's Burlington House, with 72 shops along a single walkway covered by a glass ceiling. This "arcade" style would inspire similar galleries in Brussels and Milan, early arcades in the United States such as the Providence Arcade in Rhode Island built 1828 and the Cleveland Arcade in Ohio built 1890. These 19th-century arcades would be a model for the enclosed pedestrian mall of modern urban America.

1825 - The opening of the Erie Canal catapulted New York City into America's leading emporium. The harbor filled with ships bringing goods from Europe and Asia, and new docks lined the Hudson and East Rivers. The New York Arcade opened in 1827, along Broadway between John Street and Maiden Lane, with 40 stores clustered under a corrdor covered by a skylight. Henry Sands Brooks opened one of the first men's clothing stores on Cherry Street near the waterfront, renamed Brooks Brothers by his sons in 1833. Giovanni and Pietro Del-Monico opened the nation's first "restaurant" in 1830 modeled after Boulanger's in Paris, with cloth-covered tables and menus allowing customers to place individual food orders. The night life of entertainment soon followed around Broadway, with theaters lining streets illuminated with gas light after 1825. To serve the growing crowds of businessmen and shoppers downtown, John Jacob Astor built his six-story Park Hotel on Broadway in 1836 near his Park Theater and became the nation's richest man from his real estate investments in Manhattan The steam-powered penny press made the city into a leading publishing center, with newspapers by James Gordon Bennett and books by the Harper brothers. Daniel Appleton was a store owner who started selling books in his grocery store, and after 1831 became one of the city's largest publishers. Magazines and books popularized new fashions for the growing domestic sphere of the middle class woman. Godey's Lady's Book was founded in 1837 by Sarah Hale to guide women on fashions and shopping and homemaking, the subjects according to Hale that were most "important for our sex amd more proper for our sphere." The cult of domesticity and women's "separate sphere" would stimulate the rise of a consumer culture in America, and department stores, arcades and shops began to fill the urban centers of America.

1846 - King Leopold I laid the first stone for the construction of the royal galleries Saint-Hubert in Brussels, designed by architect J. P. Cluysenaer as an enclosed shopping environment with a glass and metal roof. Although other enclosed galleries had been built in Europe, St. Hubert would be the oldest covered gallery to survive to the present day.

1846 - Alexander Turney Stewart created the first department store in the U. S. when he opened his Marble Dry-Goods Palace on Broadway Street in New York, offering a wide-range of merchandise under one roof at a fixed price affordable to the middle class, and by 1862 had expanded to 8 stories and a full city block to become the largest retail store in the world.

1865 - Architect Giuseppe Mengoni designed the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II, one of the most beautiful galleries in the world, built in Milan, Italy, and open by 1877. It was an enclosed pedestrian arcade separate from the traffic of the main streets, connecting the Duomo cathedral with La Scala opera house.

Next: the Department Store and the Shopping Center


Citation: Schoenherr, Steven E. Before the Shopping Center. [Feb. 11, 2006]