The Fair Department Store I
Life Span: 1872-1892
Location: State and Adams Streets
Dearborn Street looking north from Adams showing “The Fair” and the Adams Express Building and
showing the Crilly Building at the northeast corner of Dearborn and Monroe. This was taken in 1883.
The Fair Store was a discount department store which was founded in 1874 in Chicago, Illinois. Founder Ernst J. Lehmann decided on the name “The Fair Store” as he felt “the store was like a fair because it offered many different things for sale at a cheap price.” Lehmann bought and sold goods on a cash-only basis; he offered odd prices (i. e., prices not in multiples of five cents) to save customers a few pennies on every purchase. The flagship store was moved to the corner of State and Adams Streets in 1875.
Adams Street east of Clark in 1889. On the left is shown Kinsley’s Restaurant, the old Marquette Building and the Fair when the latter had but two stories. The old Federal Building is on the right.