J.L. Hudson Building lights up Woodward in 1955

The original Hudson's Building on Woodward in 1955.The name and location of the photographer is stamped on the verso, "Davis B. Hillmer, Commercial Photography, 8825 Second Ave. Detroit, Michigan."
The original Hudson's Building on Woodward in 1955.The name and location of the photographer is stamped on the verso, "Davis B. Hillmer, Commercial Photography, 8825 Second Ave. Detroit, Michigan."

The holiday season is here! And, just like in decades past, Detroit is decking the halls and lighting the menorah for the season. One thing that's been missing for decades, however, is the display on the outside of the J.L. Hudson Building.

The year was 1955. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler were rolling out their family sedans which promptly then returned to Detroit, full of families, to see the Christmas lights on Hudson's.

60 years ago, the original Hudson's Building claimed the title of World's Tallest Department Store. That's a whole lot of lights to put up into a tree but they made it happen. The lights were designed to look like a Christmas tree and you can even see some window displays on the ground floor.

Hudson's once claimed to be the second largest store in the country in terms of square feet. At 2 million, it was second to Macy's Herald Square in New York City.

The 25-story building lost its title of tallest department store six years later. In 1969, the Dayton Co. purchased Hudson’s and renamed the store the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, though the name never really stuck.

Eventually, the pull of suburbia pulled shoppers out of Detroit and downtown Hudson's began to shrink. In 1983, downtown Hudson's closed for good. In 1989, the building was sold and on October 24, 1998, the structure was imploded. FOX 2's, Huel Perkins and Monica Gayle were there, broadcasting live from the scene when the building came down. Click here if you can't see the video below.

If you're looking for more info on the Hudson's Building, the Detroit Historical Society is showing a free documentary on December 12 and 13 at the Detroit Historical Museum. Click here for more. http://detroithistorical.org/things-do/lectures-films.

FOX 2 thanks the DHS for providing this photo and history of the building.


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