Retail Therapy

Are you being served? In its heyday, nothing was more fun than a day shopping in downtown Lancaster, and Lancaster had its share of landmark stores.


Groff and Wolf Store (1930)LancasterHistory

It started with a handful of dry goods stores in Lancaster's 19th-century downtown. By the early 20th century, Lancaster had many large, full service department stores that attracted shoppers from all over the region.

Donovan's Department Store (1930)LancasterHistory

All your golfing needs, including this fancy indoor green, were met at Donovan’s Department Store at 32–38 East King Street in Lancaster. Opened by George Donovan in 1915, the store supplied Lancastrians with more than just sporting goods until it closed in 1942.

Leinbach's Daylight Department Store (1923)LancasterHistory

W. Scott Leinbach opened what he called his “Daylight Department Store,” owing to its huge skylights and open courtyard floor plan, on the first block of North Queen Street in 1893. The shoe department, seen here in this 1923 photograph, was just one of many of the store’s facets.

Watt and Shand Department Store (1930)LancasterHistory

Watt and Shand was Lancaster’s landmark department store. Opened in 1879, it grew from a small dry goods retailer to a full-fledged department store in a matter of decades, and became a popular shopping destination. Everything from clothes to fine china, as seen here in the 1930s, was on offer.

Watt and Shand Window (1920)LancasterHistory

Wandering through Watt and Shand, hopping over to Hager’s – or stopping into any of the city’s specialty stores in between – shoppers were bound to find something to suit their every need.

Rendezvous at Watt and Shand (1920)LancasterHistory

And when lunch was in order, almost every store had a lunch counter or a soda fountain. Watt and Shand’s well known Rendezvous, pictured here in the 1920s, was a popular stop for Lancaster shoppers.

Watt and Shand Department Store pattern books (1950)LancasterHistory

For those crafty enough to create their own fashions, Watt and Shand offered a selection of patterns to peruse, as seen here in the 1950s. These women could pick out patterns and fabric in one shopping trip!

Hager's Department Store (1950)LancasterHistory

Hager's Department Store was another of Lancaster's popular shopping destinations. Here, a sales clerk is helping a customer pick out the latest in Jantzen's swimwear in the 1950s.

Hager's Beauty Counter (1955)LancasterHistory

Founded by Christopher Hager in 1821, by the time Hager’s closed in the late 1970s, the store was one of the oldest in America. Here, sales clerk Milly Shreve helps a customer find the finest fragrances and cosmetics at Hager’s beauty counter.

Menswear Department at Hager’s Store (1950)LancasterHistory

The menswear department at Hager’s was all decked out for Christmas in this 1950s photograph. With everything from shirts and ties to gloves, belts and watches, customers were sure to find the perfect gift for the men in their lives.

Garvin's Store (1930)LancasterHistory

Milton T. Garvin began his retail career in R. E. Fahnestock’s store next to the courthouse on East King Street. When Fahnestock died in 1895, Garvin took over and grew a tiny dry goods shop into a deluxe department store.

Perhaps racy for its day, this window display of corsets and ladies’ undergarments at Garvin’s in 1930 was slightly shrouded in mystery.

Watt and Shand Diamond Jubilee (1939)LancasterHistory

The latest fashions, the flashiest sports gear, the coolest cosmetics, even the best lunch counters. Whether you were window shopping or in need of serious retail therapy, downtown Lancaster had shoppers covered.

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