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Heritage 50: The Fight to Save City of Paris in Union Square

The City of Paris department store at the corner of Geary and Stockton streets in 1981, shortly before its demolition. Heritage archives.

#ThrowbackThursdays: The fight to preserve the City of Paris department store was a benchmark in our history, with Heritage engaging in a six-year battle beginning in 1974 over the fate of the landmark on Union Square. At the time, City of Paris was San Francisco’s oldest department store (open since 1850), operating since 1907 in a Beaux-Arts style building at the corner of Geary and Stockton streets. Though the battle was ultimately lost and the case decided in favor of the Neiman-Marcus chain, the latter did preserve City of Paris’ original elliptical rotunda and glass dome.

The elliptical rotunda and glass skylight inside the City of Paris department store, n.d. Heritage archives.

Shoppers fondly remember the large Christmas tree that City of Paris would put up during the winter holidays, a tradition continued by the Neiman Marcus chain. 

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