The Wanamaker Building
John Wanamaker pioneered the department store concept in Philadelphia when he founded Wanamaker's in 1866. Wanamaker's became the first department store to guarantee a refund policy and to be illuminated by electricity. In 1911, the lavish store became the first of its kind when Mr. Wanamaker built a 12-floor building and it was dedicated by President William Howard Taft on December 30.
Wanamaker Grand Court Organ
In 1909, Wanamaker purchased what was then known as the St. Louis World’s Fair Pipe Organ. Several years later, it was installed in the Grand Court of the Wanamaker building. Recently restored and with nearly 28,500 pipes in total, the Grand Court Organ is the largest playable instrument in the world. A National Historic Landmark since 1980, the six manuals and plethora of pipes allow the Organ to encompass the capabilities of three symphony orchestras. Grand Court Organ concerts are performed twice daily, Monday through Saturday.
The Grand Court Eagle
Another point of interest from the St. Louis World’s Fair is the bronze Wanamaker Eagle. Handmade in Frankfurt, Germany, The Eagle weighs 2,500 lbs and sits on a granite base in the Grand Court. The floor of the Grand Court had to be strengthened with girders to accommodate it. There are 1,600 feathers on the head alone, and 5,000 on the entire Eagle. This famous bird began a long-beloved Philadelphia tradition of rendezvousing in Center City with the saying “Meet me at the Eagle.”