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A. S. Gage Building
Life Span: 1883-TBD
Location: NE Corner of Wabash and Adams Streets
From Chicago Commerce, Manufactures, Banking and Transportation Facilities, 1884
A. S. Gage Co. was established in 1856 (Haddock Building, 87 Lake street), under the firm name of Webster & Gage, and is, consequently, one of the oldest houses in this line of business in the Northwest. The following is a list of the various departments of the house, which will be found to comprise everything usually carried by a first-class wholesale Millinery, Notions, and Fancy Dry Goods establishment.
Ribbons, Silks, Satins, Velvet, Laces, Crape, Ornaments, Cashmeres, Ginghams, Notions, Wools, Yarns, Zephyrs, Buttons, Hosiery, Gloves, Corsets, White Goods, Hats, Bonnets, Frames, Feathers, Flowers, Cloaks, Blankets, Flannels, Ladies’ Furnishing Goods, Gents’ Furnishing Goods.
In addition they are large manufacturers of Ladies’ Hats, Bonnets and Hat frames, and all goods of this class. The manufacture of Corsets is also one of the leading features of their business, their capacity for producing these exceeding seventy-five dozen per ” day. Besides corsets of their own manufacture, they make a point of carrying in stock a full line of every make of Corset that has in any way met with the approval of the trade and the public. This Corset stock alone occupies an entire floor of 45×1.75 feet, and the boxes are piled up to a height of ten or twelve feet over the entire space. This is by far the largest stock of Corsets that is carried by any one house in America. is a fact that 75,000 women could be supplied with Corsets at one time from this stock.
The store occupied by this firm at the corner of Wabash avenue and Adams street, was built by the special partner of the house particularly and expressly for their use, and is conceded by all to be the finest mercantile building of its size in the United States, and it contains more square feet of available space than any wholesale millinery house in the world.
While each department of this establishment is under the management of a fully qualified and experienced buyer, the entire business is conducted under the personal control and supervision of Mr. A. S. Gage, and his systematic management, conspicuous enterprise, and promptitude in all transactions, makes this more than a desirable house with which to cnltivate pleasant and profitable relations.
A. S. Gage Building
Chicago Tribune, October 1, 1886
GAGE GOES TO THE WALL
THE WELL-KNOWN DRY-GOODS FIRM MAKES AN ASSIGNMENT
The Liabilities Nearly $900,000 and the Assets About $700,000
The firm of A. S. Gage & Co. made an assignment yesterday morning, and the First National Bank entered up a judgement against them for $96,851. $900,000, while the assets will not exceed $650,000. A struggle for possession took place and the assigned came out ahead. The failure had been anticipated for fully six months and was not a surprise to bankers and merchants. The cause was, in brief, lack of capital.
The original firm, established in 1857, was known as Webster & Gage and occupied the second floor of the Haddock Building, No. 87 Lake Street. Only millinery was dealt in. A year or two before the (1871) fire Mr. Webster went out and the firm of Gage Bros. & Co. was formed. Notions and white goods were added to the stock. This partnership continued until the close of 1882, when John N. Gage retired, and the firm of A. S. Gage was organized. It consisted of A. S. Gage and Seth Gage, his uncle. In January, 1885, Seth Gage sold out. The same name was retained, the partners being Eliphalet B. Gage, a cousin, who is interested in mining in Idaho and Montana, and Martin Ryerson. The latter, it is said, put in $100,000, which was paid to Seth Gage for his interest. At this time the firm occupied its present store at the corner of Wabash avenue and Adams street. A year or two before dry goods and cloaks had been added. Business was dull and collections slow in the latter part of 1885, and, in order to get money, the firm began to retail. Two months afterwards, the dry goods on hand were sold to James H. Walker & Co., presumably at a loss. In March of this year the retail business was resumed with new goods and paying business was done. The stock, however, had been bought on credit, and, when the first note came due, the cash on hand was absorbed. More money was raised by discounting paper and paid out, but the bills began coming in so fast that Mr. Gage concluded that the only way to protect all the creditors was to make an assignment. He selected Henry J. McFarland of M. D. Wells & Co. and gave him the paper a little after 10 o’clock yesterday morning. The doors were closed when the store was full of customers, who were somewhat astonished at the proceeding, not knowing that the object was to keep out the Sheriff.
A. S. Gage Building
NE Corner Wabash & Adams Streets
Robinson Fire Maps
Volume 1, Plate 7