State Street Ghost Sign: Boston Store

At 2 North State Street in downtown Chicago, you’ll find a Sears department store. Although Sears, Roebuck and Company has its origins in the Windy City, this building was actually built for a rival store.

Chicago’s Boston Store (not the same chain that began in Milwaukee in 1897) was founded just after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. This building replaced the original 3-story building in 1906. The business found great success at “The World’s Busiest Corner,” where business peaked in 1923 when it had the second highest sales record on State Street (Marshall Field’s was likely the first) at $33 million (about $465 million in 2014).

Sales declined slowly after that, with sales taking a severe dive during the Great Depression. Although World War II helped increase sales, in 1946, the business was sold and renamed the New Boston Store. Two years later, the store closed for good. The business lasted a total of 75 years.

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