Looking vastly different from its 1882 façade, the Denholm building remains both a downtown landmark and the focus for many memories of “The Boston Store.”

Founded as a dry goods store up the street in 1870, Denholm and McKay blossomed and eventually needed larger space – and found it in a building erected by Jonas C. Clark.

Clark left his mark on the city in a big way as well – he not only built this iconic building but another to anchor his other legacy – Clark University.

Clark was a central Massachusetts native, born in Hubbardston, who heeded the dictate to go west and there made a fortune. Though Clark dabbled in many businesses, it was real estate out West that helped him finance his real estate ventures in Worcester, where he built a fine home for his family on Elm Street, developed the property downtown across from City Hall and endowed Clark University.

His blocks-long building on Main Street found ready tenants in Denholm and McKay, who aimed to expand into what we now call a department store, and one that could compete with any Boston store. It was eventually nicknamed, The Boston Store, and expanded with a branch in Rhode Island as well.

From its base in Worcester in 1870, the business lasted just a bit longer than a hundred years before being purchased by another retailer who went bankrupt.

The building, however, is still going strong, though its façade changed dramatically in the 1950s to what we see now.

- Melissa McKeon, Correspondent

THEN & NOW ARCHIVES