Friday, March 10, 2023

The Circle Restaurant in Charles A. Stevens & Co. State Street Department Store, Chicago, Illinois.

The Charles A. Stevens & Co. Department Store at 17 North State Street opened "The Circle" Restaurant in 1941.

The Circle was explicitly designed to attract women with its casual décor, portion sizes, and awarded service. Decorated with murals depicting the compelling manner in which a man is ensnared by the circles of women" s influence. The restaurant boasted about its custom-designed furniture.

It's unknown when The Circle closed or whether it was redecorated and renamed.
Chas A. Stevens "The Circle" Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois. 1941 Postcard.

Chas A. Stevens started in 1886 as a catalog business and eventually grew to 29 locations in the Chicagoland area. Its flagship State Street store (built 1912) was Chicago's fashion hub in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. 

It featured six floors of exclusively women's clothing and a luxury fur salon. The top floor housed a beauty salon, "The Powder Box," and employed more than 50 operators. The salon was noted for catering to visiting celebrities and dignitaries.

Window displays at the store received several awards for design and display. In 1988 the chain filed for bankruptcy and liquidated.
A detailed 1910 Chicago street scene, "Yesterday's Main Street," at the Museum of Science and Industry, postcard. Charles A. Stevens & Co., with Bowman Dairy Company next door.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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