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Filene's Department Store

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1911–1912, D. H. Burnham and Co. 426 Washington St.
  • Filene's Department Store (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

Edward Filene chose the Chicago firm of Daniel H. Burnham to design his Boston department store because of their international reputation for this building type. Modeled on their Marshall Field's State Street store in Chicago (1904–1907), the Boston store was designed by Pierce Anderson and completed in the year of Daniel Burnham's death. Built of white glazed terra-cotta, the building is composed of three horizontal sections, three facades of windows, and strong corner pavilions. More innovative was the interior organization, with “streets” of specialty shops arranged to group similar goods and given a realistic feel with streetlights and benches in front of the internal shop windows. Although that scheme was abandoned in subsequent remodelings, the original “Automatic Bargain Basement” for marked-down merchandise has remained a hallmark of the store. In August 2005, the Federated Department Stores acquired Filene's and announced that the flagship store on Washington Street would be sold in 2006. Vornado Realty Trust purchased the building for redevelopment as office and retail space.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan



  • 1911


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Keith N. Morgan, "Filene's Department Store", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 62-63.

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