Luckey, Platt & Company Department Store

Infobox nrhp
name = Luckey, Platt & Company Department Store
nrhp_type =

caption = Vacant store building in 2008
lat_degrees = 41
lat_minutes = 42
lat_seconds = 10
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 73
long_minutes = 55
long_seconds = 33
long_direction = W
location = Poughkeepsie, NY
nearest_city =
area =
built = 1923cite web|last=Sharp|first=Townley|title=National Register of Historic Places nomination, Luckey, Platt & Company Department Store|url=|date=1908-08-08|accessdate=2008-04-09]
architect = Percival Lloyd
architecture = Classical Revival
designated =
added = 1982
established =
visitation_num =
visitation_year =
refnum = 82001146
mpsub =
governing_body = Alma Realty
The Luckey, Platt & Company Department Store building is located at the corner of Main and Academy streets in downtown Poughkeepsie, New York, United States. For most of the 20th century it was a major retail destination not only for the city but the entire Hudson Valley. Its closure in 1980, after years of losing customers to suburban shopping malls, was a serious blow to the city's Main Mall. Since then, it has remained vacant although there are ongoing efforts to redevelop it.


The massive, gray, five-story Classical Revival structure was designed by Percival Lloyd and opened in 1923. There are from 11-17 bays. The roofline features a parapet roof with a molded cornice below featuring small lion's heads. The frieze has other features of the style, such as anthemion brackets, egg-and-dart and dentil moldings. Further down the facade are found pilasters with foliated capitals.

Immediately adjacent on either street are older, more Italianate buildings which housed the store's operations before the construction of the main building. They are included as contributing resources to its 1982 listing in the National Register of Historic Places.


The company long predated the building, and even its name. In 1869, Edmund Platt bought Luckey's, a retailer that had been established almost a quarter-century earlier. It was ahead of its time in charging a fixed price for every item in the store, and doing business only in cash.

The partners moved it to the first of the three original Main Street buildings five years later, beginning a half-century of rapid growth at that location, with the help of a third partner, Smith DeGarmo. In 1882 they added an elevator so patrons could more easily navigate the store.

By 1901 it was necessary to expand again and two more buildings were purchased. Nine years later an annex was built to sell furniture. The store considered itself "the peer of all mercantile establishments on the Hudson River and the most complete store of its kind in any city in the U.S. the size of Poughkeepsie." Their advertisements claimed to have the equivalent of 30 stores under one roof, 175 sales clerks and 2 miles (3.2 km) of counter space.

The new building was completed in 1923. For almost half a century afterwards, the store remained the region's major retailer, although it did not grow as it had in its earlier years. By the early 1970s, however, increasing suburbanization and the growth of the automobile had given it its first serious competition, in the form of the South Hills Mall. Luckey Platt opened a branch at one, the Dutchess Mall, roughly 10 miles south of Poughkeepsie near Fishkill,cite news|last=Cilione|first=Tammy|title=Route 9 offers promise of busy commerce |url=|publisher="Poughkeepsie Journal"|date=2008-04-10|accessdate+2008-04-10|quote=Marshall Winston, former partner of the National Merritt Regional Shopping Center, Inc., developer of the Dutchess Mall, remembers when the Fishkill mall was the only enclosed retail center between Yonkers and Albany. At the intersection of Interstate 84 and Route 9, mall anchors were the J.W. Mays Co. department store and Luckey Platt.] but it still lost customers.

In the early 1970s, the city tried to revive its downtown by closing off the two blocks of Main Street west of the store to create Main Mall, a pedestrian mall that would offer shoppers a comparable experience to the suburban malls. Since it was necessary to raze some other adjacent stores and buildings to create parking lots, the plan actually exacerbated the neighborhood's decline.cite web|last=Rinaldi|first=T.E.|title=Hudson Valley Ruins: Poughkeepsie|url=|date=2006|accessdate=2008-04-10] Seven years after the mall was created, in 1980, Luckey Platt closed both its main store and the Dutchess Mall branch.

The building has remained vacant since then. Ownership eventually reverted to the city. In the early 1990s, Dutchess County needed space to expand its nearby courthouse and considered using the building. Instead, it built a new annex next to the existing courthouse. Artist Peter Max looked into starting a museum and arts center in the building in the early 2000s.cite news|last=Foderaro|first=Lisa|title= Poughkeepsie Journal; Adding Life and Color To a Once-Faded City|publisher="The New York Times"|date=2002-07-29|accessdate=2008-04-10] But the deal fell through, and three of the building's upper floors collapsed the following year.cite news|last=Densmore|first=Steve|title=Luckey Platt floors collapse|url=|publisher="The Weekly Beat"|date=2003-10-03|accessdate=2008-04-10] In 2004 Congress appropriated the city a $250,000 grant to renovate the building.cite press release |title=SCHUMER, CLINTON SECURE $250,000 FOR RENOVATIONS TO THE LUCKEY PLATT BUILDING |publisher=Senator Charles Schumer |date=2004-11-22 |url= |format= |language= |accessdate=2008-04-10 |quote= ]

In 2006 Alma Realty, a Queens-based developer, purchased the property from the city for a token $1 and began an ambitious plan to convert it to mixed commercial/residential use. It has been beset with delays, however, such as a stop-work order when the actual work exceeded the scope of plans approved by the city.cite news|title=Luckey Platt needs finish|url=|publisher="Poughkeepsie Journal"|date=2008-03-02|accessdate=2008-04-08|quote=But both city and state officials say Alma greatly overstepped the parameters of the building permit on several occasions. The city issued a stop-work order in 2007, in part because Alma's work went beyond the design plans approved to date.] However, as of April 2008 the stop-work order has been rescinded, and plans to resume work to finish the renovation are in place.


External links

* [ Information page] from building manager

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