HISTORY

In 1855, a dry goods store opened on Whitehall Street (now Peachtree Street) near the corner of Hunter Street (now Martin Luther King Jr. Drive). The Store, Ryan and Myers, continued to operate during the Civil War and in 1875 expanded to Broad Street.  In 1894, Douglas, Thomas and Davison moved into the building in this location from their original building one block south.  In 1897 both Will J. Thomas and John Ryan died; Atlanta dry goods stores closed for both funerals.  A "who's who" of Atlanta merchants served as Ryan's funeral escorts from the nearby Church of the Immaculate Conception to Oakland Cemetery one mile way.  The following year, Douglas and Davison remodeled the Whitehall Street facade, unique in Atlanta at the time for its second-floor display windows.  In 1901, the company became Davison-Paxon-Stokes. 

In 1912, construction began on the seven story "skyscraper" that exists today.  It was built on Broad Street over the  top of the existing store, which remained in operation.  When this annex was completed, the Whitehall Street portion of the store was also rebuilt.  Construction was completed in 1913.  When the adjacent J.P. Allen department store burned in 1916, the Davison-Paxon-Stokes building was protected by its "modern" sprinkler system.  In 1924, Rich's moved from Whitehall Street to Broad Street and the Broad Street entrance to Davison-Paxon-Stokes was remodeled to take advantage of increased foot traffic. 

In 1925, Macy's acquired Davison-Paxon-Stokes, and in 1927, the Store moved north to the corner of Peachree Ellis Streets, where 200 Peachtree is located today.  In 1928, the Duffee-Freeman Furniture company moved into the building and remodeled the ground floor, adding an entrance on Hunter Street. In 1929, J. Saul & Co. moved into the Whitehall Street side of the building.  In 1936, Kline's, and in 1952, Grayson-Robinson.  Around 1963, H. Kessler & Co moved from the opposite side of Whitehall Street, where it had operated for at least 30 years.  When Hunter Street was widened in 1964, a 14-foot slice was taken off that side of the building. 

Rich's closed in 1991, drastically changing the department store shopping environment in the southern part of downtown.  In 1998, Kessler's closed, and in 2000, Kessler City Lofts opened with fifty loft condominiums and today the building houses a diverse and vibrant part of the downtown community. 

 

©2017 by Kessler CItyLofts Condo Association