You're Invited on a Nostalgic Journey into the Golden Age of Department Stores


Author Bruce Kopytek

Get ready for a delightful trip down memory lane.

The Chelsea Area Historical Museum will host a captivating evening with department store historian, author, and native Detroiter Bruce Kopytek on Monday, May 8, at 7 pm. The unique program, titled "Department Stores of Days Gone By…The Way Things Were," is sure to evoke nostalgia and a sense of wonder.

Kopytek, the author of several books on midwestern department stores, including “Hudson’s: Detroit’s World Famous Department Store” and “Jacobson’s: I Miss it So!” will take you back in time to the days when everything you needed was available in one magnificent building.

“Stores like J.L. Hudson were part of our cultural history,” Kopytek said.

He further explains how these stores were more than just shopping destinations: “It was a place that employed thousands of people, who saw themselves as long-term members of a family. Shoppers felt that connection, too.”

During his presentation, Kopytek will regale the audience with stories of the personalities who turned Michigan’s department stores from modest beginnings into beacons of sophistication, such as the glamour of Hudson’s, with its 705-plus dressing rooms, the enormous flag on Woodward Ave, and the delicious Maurice Salad. Don’t forget Jacobson's, the beloved institution where countless Michiganders purchased their wedding dresses.

Dave Strauss, CAHS program chair, expressed his enthusiasm for hosting Kopytek, saying, “Department store shopping was a way of life for Americans, coast to coast. With the advent of online shopping, it’s fascinating to look back and remember the way things were.”

Kopytek, an architect by trade and lover of history, travel, art, and book collecting, fondly recalls his passion for department stores: “My interest in our great department stores began when I was a child, and my parents packed us up every summer and took us traveling throughout the U.S. and Canada. My mom loved to shop, even if only in a bargain basement, but I did get to experience some large stores that thoroughly intrigued me.”

After the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to have their copies of Kopytek's books signed, making for the perfect keepsake or gift. The event will be held at the Chelsea Depot on Monday, May 8, at 7 pm. Admission is free for members and $10 for non-members.

The Chelsea Area Historical Society, located in the 1853 Boyd House, is dedicated to preserving and sharing Chelsea's rich history. For more information about this event and the museum, visit
or call 734.476.2010.

Images courtesy of CAHS

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