Cultural Heritage Tours

A project of the ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTER

Downtown Tour

Edw. Malley Co.

902 Chapel Street

(demolished)

Gamble-Desmond’s

890 Chapel Street

(demolished)

Edw. Malley Co., c. 1871. Courtesy New Haven Museum.

One of downtown New Haven’s landmark buildings and prestigious department stores, Malley’s was founded by Irish immigrant Edward Malley in 1852. The store’s roots were in Malley’s aunt’s front room in Fair Haven where Malley first displayed his merchandise. His first store was a 300-sq. ft. dry goods store located across from the New Haven Green, with deliveries made from a cart pulled by a mule named Maude. By 1856 the store had expanded to 9,000 sq. ft. and employed 100 people. For nearly 70 years The Edw. Malley Co. was located in a nine-storey Beaux-Arts style building at the corner of Chapel and Temple Streets. The store was relocated to 2 Church Street (now the site of Gateway Community College) in the 1960s to allow construction of the Chapel Square Mall. A family business until 1971, Malley’s survived ownership by several different retailers until 1982.

Gamble-Desmond's, c. 1915. Courtesy New Haven Museum and CIAHS Archives, gift of Rita Hughes.

One of Malley’s early employees was another Irish immigrant, David S. Gamble. Gamble worked at Malley’s for 21 years as a salesman and superintendent. In 1883 Gamble left Malley’s to become superintendent at F.M. Brown & Co., a dry goods house right next door to Malley’s on Chapel Street. In 1898 Gamble joined with Irish immigrant John D. Desmond to form a new company which purchased F.M. Brown. The Gamble-Desmond Company joined the Edw. Malley Company as one of New Haven’s prestigious department stores, also replaced by the Chapel Square Mall.

  • Text source courtesy Connecticut Irish American Historical Society Archives.

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