Field’s Department Store Continues to Bring Fond Memories
Field's Department Store in Jackson has been long gone, and anyone who shopped there has a favorite memory. My favorite? I was one of the first people to buy a copy of Black Sabbath's debut album back in 1970, when it was released on my birthday, February 13.
Field's had a great collection of the latest rock 'n roll albums in the basement. Sadly, many of my memories of Field's have faded, but I do recall enjoying scouring through the many items – and records – in that basement.
For 122 years, Field's Department Store served Jackson. Leonard H. Field – cousin of another famous Field Marshall) was part owner in a store named Stone, Field & Wakefield in Massachusetts. He bought the whole business in 1869, and moved to Jackson. Why Jackson? At the time, a total of six railroads were bringing travelers, tourists, and businessmen to Jackson, more than any other in the entire state. This appealed to Field's business sense.
His original Jackson location was downtown on Michigan Avenue, in the area where City Hall now sits.
FAST FIELD FACTS (thanks to Mlive):
1838: Leonard H. Field is born in Massachusetts
1867: Leonard marries Allathena Rayner Perkins, a widow
1869: Field moves to Jackson
1869: Field purchases the old Reynolds store, calls it the 'Busy Bee Hive'
1891: Store was re-named “L.H. Field Company”
1891: Business was moved to the corner of Jackson Street & Michigan Avenue
1892: Allathena passes away
1896: Leonard marries Mary Isles Martell
1910: Leonard drives/escorts President Taft through town
1916: Basement turned into a food & “bargain basement”
1920: L.H. Field dies in Los Angeles at age 82
1955: Construction of a 60,000 square-foot addition
1955: Installation of Jackson's first escalator
1955: The Rose Room (tea and snacks) opens
1984: Realization sets in regarding Field's diminishing customers
1987: Field's closes for good
1991: Demolition crews bulldoze, tear down, and flatten the Field's building
Unlike many business moguls, Field seems to have been pretty well liked. He was one of the first business owners in Jackson to hire women employees. After his death in 1920, his remains were brought back to Jackson, where he currently rests in Woodland Cemetery.
Take a look at the photo gallery below!
L.H. FIELD GALLERY
MORE: Some Fun Photos From Michigan's Past
MORE: A Look at the Loren Andrus Octagon House