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Kaufmann's history told in photos in new book

Shirley McMarlin
| Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, 12:03 p.m.
The exterior of Kaufmann's department store in downtown Pittsburgh on Thursday, July 28, 2005.
staff photographer
The exterior of Kaufmann's department store in downtown Pittsburgh on Thursday, July 28, 2005.
The clock at Kaufmann's department store was a popular meeting place for generations of Pittsburghers.
staff photographer
The clock at Kaufmann's department store was a popular meeting place for generations of Pittsburghers.

A book release party for the first-ever pictorial history of Kaufmann's Department Store is set for Nov. 12 at the site of the iconic downtown Pittsburgh shopping emporium.

Author Melanie Linn Gutowski and Rick Sebak, who contributed the foreward, will attend the party, set for 5 to 8 p.m. in the renamed Kaufmann's Grand on Fifth Avenue.

The free event will offer visitors an opportunity to buy signed copies of the book before it's available in stores and to nosh on thumbprint cookies, a staple sweet from the store's Arcade Bakery.

Tours of the newly renovated property will be available, courtesy of Core Realty, which is refurbishing the building to house high-tech luxury apartments, a hotel and retail space .

“Kaufmann's Department Store,” from Arcadia Publishing, traces the store's history from 1871 until its merger with Federated Department Stores in 2006. The “Big Store” housed 12 floors of everything from cosmetics and groceries to wedding gowns and lawn mowers.

Under owners Edgar J. and Liliane Kaufmann, the store offered exhibitions of art, cutting-edge technology and Parisian haute couture. Generations of Pittsburghers met under its famous clock, lunched in the Tic Toc Restaurant and viewed the annual Christmas window displays.

Gutowski is a lifelong Pittsburgh-area resident and author of the 2013 book, “Pittsburgh's Mansions,” also from Arcadia. Pittsburgh historian and documentarian Sebak is host of WQED-TV's local history programs.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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