Wanamaker Building

wanamaker building exterior

The Wanamaker Building is a remarkable example of the Beaux-Arts architectural style. Designed by the famous architect Daniel H. Burnham, it features a grand and ornate design, including a stunning central atrium known as the Wanamaker Grand Court. The architecture and interior design of the building are considered outstanding and influential in the history of American department store design.

The building was constructed as the flagship location of the Wanamaker's department store, which was founded by John Wanamaker and is regarded as one of the earliest and most significant department stores in the United States. The store's history and impact on the retail industry, as well as its association with John Wanamaker, contribute to its historical significance.

For both shoppers and history buffs, the Wanamaker Building is also home to Macy’s Center City. 

Facts about the Wanamaker Building:

  • Wanamaker Grand Court: 

    The central feature of the building is the Wanamaker Grand Court, which is a stunning, seven-story-high atrium. It's famous for its ornate architecture and is home to the Wanamaker Organ, one of the world's largest fully operational pipe organs.

  • The Wanamaker Organ

    The Wanamaker Organ, also known as the Austin Organ, is the largest operational pipe organ in the world. It has more than 28,000 pipes. Restoration work began in 1986 and continues to this day. It is played twice a day for visitors and is an iconic feature of the building.

  • Christmas Light Show

    The Wanamaker Building hosts an annual Christmas Light Show that has been a beloved Philadelphia tradition since 1956. The show features festive lights, music, and narrations and attracts thousands of visitors each holiday season.

  • The Bronze Eagle

    In the Grand Court, you'll find a famous bronze eagle, which has become a symbol of the store. It's known as the "Wanamaker Eagle" and is a popular meeting point for shoppers.

  • Presidential Inaugural Ball

    The Wanamaker Building has hosted several Presidential Inaugural Balls over the years. Notably, the store held a ball for President Woodrow Wilson in 1917.

  • Resilience 

    The building has survived a major fire in the early 1900s and several renovations over the years. It remains an iconic structure in Philadelphia and continues to serve as a popular shopping destination.

  • Seasonal Decorations

    Throughout the year, the building's atrium is adorned with seasonal decorations and displays, making it a special destination for holiday shopping and celebrations.

    Official website

    Address: 100 E Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107