Thursday, October 9, 2014

Taking Hudson's to OLGC Women's Group

Last night was the first of five speaking engagements this month about Detroit's beloved J.L. Hudson's Department Store.  My audience was Our Lady of Good Counsel [OLGC] Women's Group in Plymouth, MI.  Their meetings are held in the beautiful Penniman House in downtown Plymouth.

My hubby and I arrived at 5:30 p.m. so I could set-up before the ladies began arriving at 6:30 p.m. My presentation was in the large living room of the beautiful old house [four tall windows on the right in the above photo].  It was a lovely area for hosting the presentation.

~ My display case ~

I was happy to add some new information to my presentation - the Syracuse China platters [Dorsett Pattern] that were used in Hudson's Early American Dining Room.

Also the photo below, taken at Hudson's which I recently obtained from the Onondaga Historical Association in Syracuse, N.Y.  The photo, which appeared in a 1946 Syracuse China Catalog, states it was taken in J.L. Hudson's Tea Room.  After showing the photo to both Mike Hauser [Detroit's foremost Hudson's historian], and Mr. J.L. Hudson, Jr., they both agreed the photo wasn't the Mezzanine Tea Room, but the Early American Dining Room on the 13th floor. I was disappointed to be back at square one in obtaining a photo of the Mezzanine Tea Room, but happy to have a photo of the Early American Dining Room.

Since attending the Gone With the Wind presentation at the Warren Public Library on October 2nd, Kathleen Marcaccio [the presenter] and I have exchanged e-mails.  She belongs to the Detroit Yes Forum [a member only Internet group], where several posts were written for the 30th anniversary of Hudson's closing in 2013.  She shared a post that I thought would fit perfectly into my presentation. The Early American Dining Room and the Georgian Dining Room were converted into the Riverview Dining Room in 1958, so it puts the lady who wrote the post at 67 years of age or more.  She wrote:  "My favorite J.L. Hudson memory was when I turned 12, and my mother and I got dressed up and had lunch in the Riverview Dining Room on the 13th floor. The highest floor I had ever been on was the 12th floor which was always reserved for Christmas.  That was really special because we always ate in the cafeteria in the basement where all the bargains were.   But that day we had the Maurice Salad and she showed me how a 'lady' is supposed to drink tea."

Oh, that those great department store tea rooms were still around today!

The ladies were attentive and responsive, and a pleasure to speak to.  One lady was a former Hudson's employee, but all had fond memories of shopping at the great department store. To quote one of the news reporters when the store was imploded: "We surrendered the store, but the memories...NEVER!"


  1. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of your presentation, and I'm sure the group enjoyed hearing it, even more!

  2. Looking forward to your presentation.l

  3. What fun to step back in time and relive the treasured memories of the department store - shopping and taking tea or enjoying lunch!


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