A Tragic Countdown Through the Life of America’s Poor Little Rich Girl, Barbara Hutton

By Trista

If she were alive today, Barbara Hutton would be worth about a billion dollars, receiving around $25 million from her grandfather after his death. While you might not recognize this name, Hutton was all over the papers during her lifetime. Then known as the “poor little rich girl,” Hutton’s life was anything but perfect. In fact, it was a life which seemed to be made for Hollywood, with storylines ranging from tragic deaths to addiction to rivalry.

Portrait of Frank Winfield Woolworth, founder of the Woolworth chain. Bettmann/Getty Images/History.

16. Barbara Hutton Was An Heiress To The Woolworth Store Chain

Barbara Hutton was not like the average American as she never had to work a day in her life. Hutton’s grandfather was the founder of the favorite Woolworth retail stores. These stores, officially under the F.W. Woolworth Company, was a retail chain and one of the original pioneers of the five-and-dime stores. The Woolworth stores are also considered being the most successful five-and-dime businesses in America and around the world. It was the Woolworth stores which set trends and created the modernretail model which stores continue to use today.

Frank Winfield Woolworth opened his first retail store called “Woolworth’s Great Five Cent Store” in Utica, New York, on February 22, 1878. While it initially looked like the store would be successful, it failed. So, after much research on how to improve and to search for a different location, F.W. Woolworth chose Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for his next store. This store opened its doors on July 18, 1879, and became the first successful Woolworth store in its long history.

Once the Lancaster five-and-dime store took off successfully, F.W. Woolworth brought on his brother, Charles, into this business. They then quickly went to work establishing more stores and developing one of the most successfulretail chain stores in history. Soon hundreds of Woolworth five-and-dime stores were open all over the United States. In fact, by 1904, there were 120 stores in 21 states. Fast-forward to 1929 and the Woolworths had 2,250 stores between Great Britain and America. Over time, these stores began to close, and in 1997 the F.W. Woolworth Company became the Venator Group. This group was a clothing and shoe stores. Then in 2001, the store chain became known as Foot Locker.