Steiger Block At Holyoke

by Laurel | September 8th, 2009

September 8, 1899, page 12
Handsome Building Will be the First in City Devoted to Dry Goods.

The New Steiger Block

The New Steiger Block

Albert Steiger of Holyoke is just completing the first block in Holyoke to be entirely devoted to the dry goods business, and one unique in several ways. It is situated on High street, nearly opposite the city hall, and as will be see from the drawing, is remarkable for its great window frontage, which will exceed that of any other block in the city. In fact the whole front is practically plate glass and the rear is also well lighted. The basement s built out under the sidewalk, after the custom now common, and is lighted with the prism light, being the first basement to be so lighted in Holyoke. The building is four stories in height, built of Indiana limestone, hand-carved, and buff colored hydraulic pressed brick with terra cotta ornaments. It has 50 feet frontage and is 90 feet deep, and with the fixtures will cost fully $40,000. The front of the building is of French design, the arches being long. The stone pilasters are hand carved, and the whole building crowned with the most elaborate cornice in the city. There will be a flagpole 45 feet high over the building, and the building is so constructed as to allow of a roof garden, should it later be decided to have such an institution.

The first floor will be devoted to what in the stricter sense is known as “dry goods;” the second floor to read-made garments; the third floor to draperies, shades, puffs and possibly small fancy furniture. Here will be located Mr. Steiger’s private office and the ladies waiting rooms. The fourth floor will be devoted to storage. All the numerous cases of goods will be taken by the elevator in the rear to the fourth floor, and there opened, so that there will be no dirt or litter on the lower floors. The basement will be clean, light and airy. Ample light will be furnished by the prism light — an arrangement by which the sunlight is reflected into a room by a beveled piece of glass. Here are the toilet rooms and Mr. Steiger has furnished a locker for each clerk. The ventilation is after the best school-house models, and an ample supply of fresh air is secured. The boiler, coal and waste-paper rooms are fireproof and separated from the main basement by fireproof doors. A separate boiler for summer is used for the ventilating shaft. Broad stairs lead to the first floor, which is of fireproof mill construction. This floor is reached from the street by a triple door, the floor being level with the sidewalk. The fixtures are elaborate, the counters being glass, with oak tops, and the sides being glass. At the rear is the elevator, and access to the next floor is also obtained by a broad oak stairway. At the rear is set a stained glass window, 8 by 12 feet. The plunger passenger elevator is large and absolutely safe. This is the first dry good store in Holyoke to be equipped with a passenger elevator.

The second floor is noticeable for the large plate-glass mirrors at every point between the show-cases. Each department on this floor has its separate fitting-room. All the cases are of solid oak, white with the French plate glass mirrors and huge windows, makes the room very attractive. The wide stairway continues to the third story, where the offices are located, and the cash carrier system enters. Here, too, is to be the work-room for remodeling garments, the women’s parlor, 18 by 30 feet, and the women’s toilet rooms. This is the finest fitted room in the building and is designed to be a meeting place for women engaged in that very enjoyable occupation known as “shopping.” There will be a woman attendant in waiting, writing desk, and a reading room with magazines on file. The fourth floor will be for storage, as noted, and blankets and heave dry goods are located in the basement. The architect of the building is G. P. B. Alderman, and will be finished, it is expected, early next month, the “removal” sale already being in progress. Albert Steiger was formerly a member of the firm of Gillett & Steiger of Westfield. In 1891 he bought out a dry goods store in Portchester, N. Y., and in 1895 started with A. B. Forbes a dry goods store in Holyoke.

From The Springfield Republican.

4 Responses to “Steiger Block At Holyoke”

  1. Joan Steiger says:

    To me, this is a fascinating story and I thank you for adding it to your Website. But I cannot read most of the left side as it is covered with a dark stripe. Can you fix this?

  2. Joan, I assume you are of the family of the store name in the article! Thanks for letting me know about the line you are seeing. What browser are you using? I’ve tested this site in Safari, Internet Explorer and FireFox and all looks fine on the two computers I have viewed it with. If you let me know what platform (PC or Mac) and what browser and version you are using I might be able to help. But this is the first I have heard from anyone regarding viewing issues.

  3. Neil Aubuchon says:

    I love this! My grandmother was an elevator operator in Steigers and then “promoted” to womens perfumes. I remember going there with my mom literally hundreds of times when I was a wee lad. Every time I hear the name “Steigers” it brings back amazing memories. Thanks for everything you do on this site….it is awesome.

  4. Neil, it really is amazing how many strong memories of Holyoke many of us have. I think Steiger’s is definitely one of them for me too — I can so clearly remember visits to the store also beginning from childhood. It really was such an anchor for us and for downtown too!

    Thanks for your kind words about the site, so glad you like it!

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