Historic Detroit

Newcomb-Endicott Department Store

Cyrenius Adelbert Newcomb and Charles Endicott bought out James W. Farrell & Brother in 1868 and turned it into one of Detroit’s most successful early department stores.

The retailer became so popular so fast, in fact, that just a year later, it had outgrown its home on Jefferson and Woodward avenues and moved into the first Detroit Opera House on Campus Martius. Ten years later, it moved into an even larger store on Woodward and Grand River Avenue. An up-and-coming retailer named J.L. Hudson moved into their old space. Consider it foreshadowing.

In 1918, Newcomb-Endicott hired architect Harry S. Angell to design this 12-story addition. Instead of opening all at once, each floor opened as departments were completed in 1920-21. In 1926, the store had some 1,200 employees, 276,000 square feet of retail space and grossed more than $10 million in sales — $138 million today, when adjusted for inflation.

Despite being the oldest surviving department store in Michigan, it was always in the shadow of its biggest rival and next-door neighbor, Hudson’s. On Feb. 1, 1927, Hudson’s bought out Newcomb-Endicott and announced it would tear down its 7-year-old addition and 1879 store in order to expand. Demolition began that October.