On the 140th anniversary of the first F. W. Woolworth store, a look back at its Berkshire footprint


On Feb. 22, 1879, Frank W. Woolworth opened his first store, "Woolworth's Great Five Cent Store," in Utica, N.Y. The store saw limited success and closed within months, but that didn't deter the owner. A few months later, on June 21, 1879, he opened his first successful store, "F. W. Woolworth Great Five Cent Store," in Lancaster, Pa. Within two weeks, he'd opened a second store, in Harrisburg, Pa. Eventually, the two stores became a successful chain, known as the F. W. Woolworth Co., with stores in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

In the Berkshires, an F. W. Woolworth Co. store was located at North and Depot streets. The store closed in 1973, shortly after its building was sold to private developers who turned it into the Elgo Mall, which eventually became Crawford Square.

F. W. Woolworth arrived in Adams on Feb. 10, 1925. The five-and-dime leased space in the Mausert Block on Park Street, where the iconic store held court until it closed in January 1993.

Beginning in the 1980s, the Woolworth Corp. started focusing less on its chain stores and began expanding into specialty markets, including Afterthoughts, Northern Reflections and Champs Sports. This expansion would eventually lead to a corporate restructuring in 1993 and the eventual closing of its remaining Woolworth stores and changing its name to Venator Group on July 17, 1997.

Since 2001, the remaining successor company has been known as Footlocker Inc.



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