Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Honoring J.L. Hudson's Department Store

Every household living in or near a large city during most of the twentieth century, had a favorite department store where they shopped.  For my family, that department store was J.L. Hudson's in downtown Detroit.

As a child I rode the bus into the City with my mother, and was her companion on all-day shopping excursions at the massive store. [I loved the elevator rides!] Their fabulous mechanically animated Christmas window displays are forever etched in my memory!  And I'm sure my girlfriend and I felt really grown up when we went downtown to shop at Hudson's by ourselves as high school seniors.  But the best memory of all was filling out my bridal registry at the grand flagship store. 

Over time, malls made shopping trips to  downtown Detroit a thing of the past, but in spite of life's changes, Hudson's memories continue to remain alive.

A few years ago I began corresponding with Angela, at Tea With Friends blog, about my Hudson's memories.  Soon I was collecting store memorabilia, and meeting with Hudson's author and historian, Mike Hauser.

When Angela published her book, Dainty Dining, a fabulous book highlighting several department stores and their tea rooms [including a chapter on Hudson's], I began researching Hudson's food service. As a tea lover, I wish I would have experienced the pleasure of dining at Hudson's  Mezzanine Tea Room!

I've read the Silver Grille book from Cleveland's Higbee's Department Store, and on a recent trip to Indianapolis, Indiana I purchased an L.S. Ayres Department Store Tea Room book. I concluded Hudson's needs a book about its Mezzanine Tea Room and Dining Restaurants.  I recently met with Mike Hauser to brainstorm the possibility over a Maurice Salad!

A project of this sort will require input from many, so this soft/preliminary announcement is being made on my blog since J.L. Hudson posts are some of my most visited posts.   

I would love hearing from former Hudson waitresses or kitchen employees who can provide recipes, photographs, and interesting experiences.  Dining memories from the Mezzanine Tea Room, or one of Hudson's Dining Rooms would also be appreciated. I recently read a quote that sums up this endeavor: "The past asks only to be remembered."  That's what I intend to do by putting memories in print as a lasting tribute to the 'Grand Dame of Woodward Avenue', as well as for the enjoyment of everyone who loved Hudson's!


  1. What a wonderful idea! I've never been to Detroit but I'd still love to read such a book. Our "Atlanta institution" was Rich's, which was immortalized in Celestine Sibley's book, "Dear Store". You might enjoy reading that one as you make plans for your book. In fact, I'd like to read it again, I need to find my copy! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Love that green and white china - gorgeous!!

  3. Good luck finding contacts. What a fun and adventurous project. My only connection with J.L. Hudson is that they were one of my accounts when I was doing collections for Cole of California and Catalina Swimwear many years ago.

  4. I loved Hudson that was just a stone through away from my office. Well the experience at Hudson was cool. thanks for sharing your feelings.

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  5. Amazing collection on Tea pottery collections with perfectly set of items at Hudson department store returns.


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