|A retail landmark for generations, The McAlpin is being transformed for a new life.
The McAlpin is a combination of three historic structures that have been an essential element of the Central Business District for more than 100 years. Long-time Cincinnati residents remember the combined buildings as McAlpin’s Department Store, a key downtown shopping destination for generations.
The Renaissance Revival structures were erected in the 19th century as retail locations. The two main buildings were erected in 1859 and 1873 to house the John Shillito Company and the Robert Mitchell Furniture Company. Architect James McLaughlin designed the Shillito's
building, as well as the original Art Museum in Eden Park and the subsequent Shillito’s location on Race Street. The Mitchell Furniture building was designed by James Keys Wilson, who also designed the entrance to Spring Grove Cemetery and the Plum Street Temple.
The George W. McAlpin Company acquired the Mitchell store in 1901 and installed the famous sidewalk clock which long-time Cincinnatians remember as the building’s landmark. Members of the McAlpin family ran the business until 1916, when it was sold to Mercantile Stores of New York. In 1925, McAlpin's expanded into the adjacent buildings to create the store which remained in operation until 1996.