Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Closed 1987

The Disappointed Tourist: Chapman’s, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

T. A. Chapman Co., commonly known as Chapman’s, was a Milwaukee department store founded by Timothy Appleton Chapman in 1857. The third and final store was built in 1885 after the second store burnt down. The Chapman family retained ownership of the company until 1983, and eventually it had seven additional locations in the Midwest. The company filed for bankruptcy in 1987 and the Milwaukee flagship store was demolished to make way for the 411 Building shortly thereafter. The painting is based on an uncredited photograph from the early 20th Century.

I found pictures of the old T.A. Chapman department store, which had the beautiful painted ceiling in the secret chamber of ladies’ lingerie… none of these capture the grandeur. . . Louisa K.