January 28, 2004

Interesting person you've probably never heard of

To me, having family from Pennsylvania, the name Wanamaker meant only one thing: department store. There was a Wanamaker's in Scranton that was a favorite of my aunt's and we went there often by bus (an adventure in itself) when I visited. It was right across the street from The Globe store and, to me, that block equaled shopping. Wanamaker's was also the place where I learned the word "mezzanine" and I always thought that was such an exotic and interesting name for a level of a store. The Globe outlasted Wanamaker's (though The Globe's gone now, too) and I was sad when it closed.

What on earth does that have to do with anything? In a weird confluence of Web sites I visited while trying to find the answer to a question I was puzzling over, I came across this page about Rodman Wanamaker. I'd heard of his father, John Wanamaker, and he's considered to be the father of the department store. But Rodman? Nope. And I guess that's just the way he wanted it. However, I learned that he not only is the answer to my question (see the very last paragraph of the link for that, if you can spot it) but he was probably responsible for the upscale and more elegant atmosphere of the store that could be seen from the mezzanine and has a connection to one of my favorite spectator sports.

Nice to meet you, Rodman. :)