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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Post Card Tuesday: Harvey's

Harvey's...Nashville's Largest and Oldest Department Store
This post card of the best known department store of the time dates back to 1954.

Harveys was a department store chain best known for its original store in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The original Harveys store was opened by Fred Harvey in 1942 at the corner of 6th Avenue North and Church Street. The site was the former home of a post-Reconstruction Nashville retailer, Lebeck Brothers/Denton & Company, which rose to prominence in the 1870s. When the Lebeck Brothers property became available due to the store's closing, Fred Harvey founded Harveys department store on the property. The store expanded to eventually cover the entire block of Church Street from 6th Avenue to 5th Avenue. The store brought the first escalators to middle Tennessee and the decor featured several carousel horses which had been salvaged from Glendale Park, a local amusement park that closed during the Great Depression. The store was also known for its lavish Christmas decorations as well as the annual nativity scene it sponsored in Centennial Park. Harvey's even had a Monkey Bar, a bar-seating restaurant with actual monkeys. If business was light, sometimes the monkeys were allowed to have free roam of the store, which turned out to not be the best of ideas.

By the 1980s, the popularity of suburban shopping malls led to declining sales at Harveys downtown Nashville location. The original store was closed in January 1984 and torn down to make way for a parking lot. The chain of stores was sold to Virginia-based Peebles in 1988.

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