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The Lovely Business

Third Street 1900.tif

This is the location of the Mary Sachs store in 1901, before Sachs owned it. (Digital Harrisburg)

North Third Street.tif

The map provides a view of Mary Sachs' store at 208 North Third Street in 1929. (Digital Harrisburg)


This stetch  was drawn the celebrate the 50th celebration of the Mary Sachs Store. On the left it shows what the orginial building looked like in 1918, when Mary Sachs first bought it, and the new building 50 years later. (PSA, MG297m4, Box4)


The picture captures the Mary Sachs Clothing Store at night. (PSA, MG297m3, Box3)

Mary Sachs' business was probably her biggest contribution to Harrisburg and the City Beautiful Movement. Despite financial struggles at the beginning, Mary Sachs was able to open a successful clothing shop at 208 North Third Street in 1918. This was just across the street from Capitol Park. Originally, she bought an old house to turn into a store. She strove to keep it's original charm while making it a nice and clean place to shop. Therefore, she used furnishings that made people feel like they were in a fine old house. Many people fell in love with the store, and people from all over the East Coast showed up at the store. Unfortunately, this little shop on Third Street was burned down on February 11, 1931 (Congressional Record, 1958). However, a new and better structure was built by the Lawrie & Green architecture firm and the interior was designed by a famous designer, Eleanor Lemaire. The store was once again made beautiful for the City of Harrisburg after the fire.

When asked about why May Sachs did not create a chain elsewhere, she stated, "I have a fierce attachment to Harrisburg. It is my town and I love it... Nothing could ever induce me to make a whistle stop of the great State Capitol of Pennsylvania," (More than Merchandising). Her love for Harrisburg is why she stayed and rebuilt after the fire. She wanted to make her town look lovely. Her rebuilding of the store is the textbook definition of the City Beautiful Movement, making a structure or area look more appealing. However, it is not the only way to find beauty in this movement. The store allowed for beauty to be spread in other ways as well, including through clothing design and selfless contributions.