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Meet Me At The Eagle- Remembering Wanamaker's⁠⁠

As anyone who grew up in the Philadelphia area will tell you, Christmas just wasn't Christmas without a stop at John Wanamaker's Department store. ⁠

Located in Center City, I have fond memories of getting all dressed up (Sunday Best-my grandmother would say) to see the famous light show. ⁠

When writing the Christmas scenes in Thicker Than Water, ensuring their accuracy was very close to my heart.

This photograph, circa 1920 (courtesy of the Library of Congress), shows what the store would've looked like for my characters. ⁠

Though not featured here, the south side of the Grand Court houses what was once the largest pipe organ in the world (28,750 pipes!) Originally acquired at the St. Louis World's Fair, Wanamaker brought in his own team of builders to expand the instrument. ⁠

Now a Macy's, the building sublets office space to some area businesses, one of whom employed my husband in the early 2000s. Which brings me to another Christmas memory- the soft sounds of a string quartet at his office party one year. Oh, to be young again...⁠

All things cyclical, now parents ourselves, we've taken the kids to see the magical light show on several occasions. A tradition, I hope, they'll be able to continue with their own children one day. ⁠

The show is, and always has been, free. This year it's back, narrated by the iconic Julie Andrews. Shows run once a day, at 10:30 am until Christmas Eve. After that, it will be at 11:30 am until NYE. ⁠

What are you waiting for? Start your own tradition today. ⁠

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Apr 14, 2022

That picture is actually the NYC store, not Philadelphia.

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