ZCMI Chandelier Donated by Macy's

Daughters of the Utah Pioners
Items of Interest

A unique chapter in Utah history came to an end in 1999 when America's first department store, ZCMI, ended its 130-year enterprise. Their original downtown Salt Lake store eventually became Macy's, and when their doors finally closed for good in 2006, Macy's offered the members of Daughters of Utah Pioneers a chance to own a piece of Utah history. When the mall closed for demolition, the three-story Swedish water crystal chandelier, which was installed in 1975 by the escalators in the original ZCMI store, was dismantled. Macy's donated 1/3 of the pieces of the crystal chandelier to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

Only twenty years had passed since the Mormon pioneers first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley when the Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) was founded in 1868. Partly motivated by the eventual arrival of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, Brigham Young summoned a group of leaders at city hall on October 15 to organize a community-owned merchandizing establishment dedicated to support the products of "home industry" (or Utah goods and products). The new enterprise opened in March 1869 and became America's first department store. Their first wares included groceries, clothing, drugs, shoes, dry goods, wagons and machinery, produce and trunks. Later their goods would expand to include hardware, crockery, and fancy notions and upholstery goods. The store was organized with separate managers with one central control for credit, record keeping and was supervised by a general overall manager.

Brigham Young recognized the talents of women as "salesmen" at ZCMI, believing them to be better traders than men, thus he enlisted them as clerks to free the men to work at farming. ZCMI's deliveries were first handled by wheelbarrow, push carts, later hand drawn wagons and finally the intermountain area's first motorized delivery fleet. In 1881, ZCMI was among the first buildings to be wired for electricity in Salt Lake. The Main Street store front and interior glowed with electrical brilliance and was called "the Festival of Light." By the turn of the century, ZCMI's success allowed for branch stores to develop across Utah and Idaho. Their 1901 downtown Main Street store facade in Salt Lake became a historical landmark in retail architecture.