Many Happy Returns To Lazarus

The big department store in town was always the place to go during the holidays.   They had beautiful decorations, a real jolly looking Santa, their own special candy, and special family traditions passed on from generation to generation.

Marshal Fields & Company in Chicago had the Walnut Room for the ladies where they could enjoy a serving of  Mrs Herrings chicken pot pie.  Families in Atlanta would come downtown to Rich’s on Thanksgiving night to watch the lighting of the Great Tree and kids would line up to ride the Pink Pig.  Here in Columbus families would admire the beautiful Christmas windows at Lazarus and kids would pass by the Talking Tree.

Lazarus Department stores gave their customers the opportunity to experience many shopping firsts, such as “one low price” (no bargaining necessary), the first department store escalators in the country, and the first air-conditioned store in the country! It never occurred to anyone that one day the Lazarus store would be gone.

On Sunday evening WOSU TV presents, MANY HAPPY RETURNS TO LAZARUS.   This hour documentary examines how a Prussian immigrant came to Columbus and opened a store on High Street in 1851.  Like all the big city department stores, Lazarus became the place of milestones for many people: first haircut, summer job, first bus ride alone, prom dress, interview suit. It’s even the place where countless men and women met—usually as workers in the store, though occasionally as customers—and became husband and wife.

MANY HAPPY RETURNS TO LAZARUS airs Sunday, December 18 at 7:00pm on WOSU TV.