Escolta was named after the governor-general’s escort guards (escolta) who had their outpost there. By the 1870s, it had become the country’s center for shopping, dining and entertainment. Businessmen from all over the world were drawn to do business at Calle Escolta—from German pharmacists and Jewish jewelers to Indian merchants and American entrepreneurs. Because it was cosmopolitan, it was one of the first areas in the Philippines to be electrified in 1895. Escolta flourished until the 1960s, when the center of commerce shifted to Makati.
These advertisements were originally published in The Witton’s Directory (1902) from the collection of Emmanuel Encarnacion. These pamphlets contained advertisements of local business establishments and had a list of the firms operating in the area.
Adolfo Roensch & Co. Outfitters: The establishment was founded in 1873 by Don Adolfo Roensch, a hat maker of German descent. The company originally manufactured and sold hats, then later on expanded their inventory to include military ammunition, supplies, and uniforms.
La Puerta del Sol: The upscale department store once stood at the very end of Escolta St by Plaza Goiti (now Plaza Lacson). It sold a variety of luxury goods including chinaware, stationery, musical instruments and many others.
Greilsammer Brothers: This jewelry shop became famous for its large and dependable inventory of American and French style jewelry and timepieces.
The American Bazaar: Founded in 1897 by Israel Beck, the American Bazaar became Manila’s first American-style department store with a wide range of commodities available to Escolta shoppers.