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MMD > Archives > March 1999 > 1999.03.17 > 01Prev  Next

Lyon & Healy of Chicago
By Tom Steuer

Hi, everyone.  Lyon & Healy was a famous Chicago-based music retailer
with an outstanding store in Chicago's loop.

I grew up in the Chicago area (Munster/Hammond Ind. actually) and after
graduating college went to work in the Loop in Chicago.  Back in the
1960s, when I started my career, I'd work days at my office and spent
many, many evenings rebuilding player pianos.  I was always scouting
for anything related to pianos, especially being on the lookout for old
player uprights.

Back in those days, one could walk down Wabash Avenue, under the famous
"el" (elevated train that circled Chicago's downtown, which is how it
got the name Loop) and hit several piano stores or music stores.  Just
south of the Palmer House was the Wurlitzer store and all their old
pianos they took in on trade were in the basement showroom.  I bought
a good number of pianos from them, including one Julius Bauer with a
Welte action in it.  Great piano.

Next block down was the turn-of-the-century Cable building with its
glass cage elevators, but by about 1960 Cable moved out of there.
(Closed shop for good? I don't know or don't remember.)  And then
across the street was Lyon & Healy, in a corner building on Wabash with
their own name on it.  L&H probably built the building 'way back when.

Their retail showrooms and studios were on several floors.  They
sold instruments of all sorts, and were world famous forever for their
harps.  They sold organs, but more important, a lot of pianos, too, and
some were private labeled.  One of the Lyon & Healy-labeled pianos were
from American-Aeolian, maybe many or most.

It was a very high quality store and the sales personnel were definitely
out of another era.  Lyon & Healy was one of the last big retailers to
sell only at list price -- negotiating the price was just not done.

These are a just a few of my many nice memories of Chicago.  Left there
20 years ago to move to Los Angeles.


Tom Steuer

(Message sent Wed 17 Mar 1999, 18:16:12 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Chicago, Healy, Lyon

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