Madigan Brothers

4127-4131 West Madison Street
Founded 1890

For much of the twentieth century, the leading department store on Chicago’s West Side was Madigan’s. The store was founded in 1890 by brothers Michael D. and Dennis J. Madigan. Its first location was at 1759 West Madison Street in the Union Park neighborhood. There, it competed against the big Loop department stores for the business of affluent West Side residents, including those who lived in stately mansions along Warren and Washington Boulevards to the north.

Around 1912, the Madigan brothers relocated their store to 4127-4131 West Madison Street in the city’s up-and-coming West Garfield Park neighborhood. The move was likely made in order to retain close ties to prosperous West Siders, many of whom had begun to abandon the city’s older neighborhoods for newer homes in residential districts farther west. At its new location, the store’s fortunes soared by offering upscale merchandise that appealed to the middle-class residents of recently developed west side neighborhoods.

Expansion soon followed. Around 1925, the store moved into a larger, multi-story building at 4030 West Madison Street. The new location brought Madigan Brothers one block closer to the busy Madison-Crawford intersection and helped stimulate additional commercial development nearby. Hundreds visited the store each day, and foot traffic only increased with the opening of new attractions, such as the Marbro Theater, a 4000-seat movie palace that opened to the west of Madigan’s in 1927.

By the 1960s, however, the neighborhood around the store began to show its age and business slumped. The store’s owners turned their attention to the increasingly lucrative suburban market. They opened “branch” stores at Yorktown and Winston Plaza shopping malls. Then, in 1969, they closed the “flagship” store on Madison Street. Another Madigan’s later opened at Woodfield Mall.

Sources: West Madison News, 10 Apr. 1928, 2; 10 Jan. 1929, 1; The Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago(Chicago: Chicago Directory Company, 1908, 1911, 1912).