Woolworth’s, the five-and-dime chain that dominated American downtowns for more than a century, barely had two nickels to rub together by 1997, when it finally went bust.
The vanishing of the brand in America was a stunning fall for a chain that was once so profitable that founder F.W. Woolworth built the world’s tallest skyscraper for his company in lower Manhattan in 1913. Woolworth is, to this day, depicted in a lobby sculpture counting the nickels that built his empire. The architectural ghosts of Mr. Woolworth’s chain still haunt many a street corner. However, there is a place in America where you can still walk into a Woolworth’s building with all of its original signage and order a burger and shake at a fully functioning, original Woolworth’s luncheonette, complete with chrome counter and red vinyl seating.
There’s more! To read the rest of this article, members are invited to log in. Not a member? We invite you to join. This article originally appeared in the SCA Road Notes, Winter 2021, Vol. 29, No. 4. SCA Road Notes is a semi-annual publication and a member benefit of the Society for Commercial Archeology.
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