Historic Grand Court Displays
John Wanamaker was a leading Christian layman and founder of Bethany Presbyterian Church, and his family built on that faith. During the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s the Grand Court included a Christmas Cathedral at the rear (also with a thick blue-green drapery behind it) that had a Nativity scene as its focus and saints and bells in its towers. Cathedral-like arcades on the second floor held statuary showing Biblical stories including the Annunciation and Flight into Egypt, and the Main Floor had a series of Gothic pavilions atop each sales counter that were likewise lighted to give an air of enchantment to the entire Grand Court.
Side aisles were draped in repeated festoons of greenery with wreaths at each top corner. In the first half of the 20th century it was a famous John Wanamaker tradition to have a Christmas Carol sing-along on Christmas Eve, and songbooks were regularly given to customers. Organist Mary Vogt would push buttons from a device at the console and the page number of each Carol would be projected.