In 1885 Louis Blumstein arrived in the United States from Germany. He worked as a street peddler and in 1894 opened a store on Hudson Street. In 1898 he moved to West 125th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, already a major regional shopping center.
Blumstein died in 1920 and in 1921 his family demolished the store for a five-story building, the biggest thing on 125th Street after the Hotel Theresa, at Seventh Avenue.
The architects Robert D. Kohn and Charles Butler designed the $1 million store in an odd amalgam of late Art Nouveau and early Art Deco. It was completed in 1923.
The simple limestone facade surrounds three bays of intricately worked copper ornament with delicate top-floor balconies and slim marquees. Instead of the usual cornice at the roof, the architects installed two flagpoles on bases, reminiscent of the work of the Secession movement in Germany and Austria around 1910.
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