The Woman’s Exchange

Founded in 1883 as an organization to assist women in need, it offered a marketplace for those who were not skilled in a profession and were down on their luck. These consignors produced very attractive handcrafted articles and delicious homemade food items that were sold from the store’s location, and over time the group added a very successful tearoom.


Menu provided by Dan Howell


Originally founded as Ellis, McAlpin & Co., the establishment became the George W. McAlpin Company, a dry goods store, in 1885. The precise date of the store’s first food service operation is unknown, but by 1900 the store advertised that their Tea Rooms were the talk of the town. That was certainly also true in the 1960s when WLW’s live audience radio program, Good Morning Show, hosted first by Bob Braun and later Nick Clooney, was aired from there.


William and Mary Mullane’s business began as a small candy company on Valentine’s Day in 1848. A century later, the family’s efforts were recognized by the chamber of commerce for having existed and thrived for over one-hundred years, for typifying the business enterprise of the best American tradition, and for contributing to the development of Cincinnati as a distinctive American city. In 1933 Mullane’s officially joined the ranks of tea rooms by opening its new Tea Room and Confectionery in the Carew Tower.



From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

John Shillito & Company, starting out as a modest dry goods store, was founded in 1830 and eventually grew into an emporium modeled after Bon Marché in Paris, France. For many, Shillito’s Tea Room was considered the “in” place for luncheon and very much a destination spot for both women and businessmen. In the 1950s and ‘60s, the Tea Room’s kitchen staff was the source of much of the food that was shown on Ruth Lyon’s 50-50 Club television program.


Henry and Samuel Pogue, who were Irish immigrants, established the H.&S. Pogue Company in 1863. Numerous stories about the industrious and frugal family reveal both their work ethic and their ingenuity. For generations, the family realized that by offering services that were better, greater, or otherwise different from their competition, their store could attract and build a strong bond with the people in Cincinnati. In September of 1964, the Camargo Room opened and, according to the Enquirer, it became the “star” of Pogue’s unique dining areas.


From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County


Mabley & Carew

In 1877 Christopher R. Mabley and his business associate, Joseph T. Carew, were delayed in Cincinnati on their trip to Memphis, Tennessee, where they planned to choose a location for a men’s clothing store. During their twenty-four-hour layover, they saw a “For Rent” sign and decided Cincinnati would be a better location. In 1929, the business became the primary retail tenant in the brand-new, spectacular Carew Tower. During the store’s 1962 relocation, the lovely Fountain Room tearoom, with its large beautiful space and elegant, private feel was introduced on the sixth floor.