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Subdude

Sears South Main

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enviromain    1
I would LOVE to see the article!

Okay, I know it took me forever! Here's the ariticle. This is from the June 1975 issue of the Houston Home & Garden magazine, costing $1.25. Hope you like it. It's a really nice feeling to know that I lived in this home and it served an important part of Montose Houston history. First house in Montrose is what it sounds like to me!

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Edited by enviromain

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sevfiv    1344

i frequent the sears on main, and last time i was there i made sure to look at the exterior closely...it is in terrible condition

here are some bob bailey photos (

Edited by sevfiv

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Guest danax   
Guest danax

It sure would've been a source of pride for some of us to have had both Sears restored and standing; one from the 20s and one from the 30s, thanks to mother nature's flood, with both showing classic designs from each of these architectural sub-eras, which now are both lumped into the "art deco" classification by many.

Should we start an online petition to have the cladding removed and the building restored? Long shot maybe but, if successful, would draw enough attention to the beauty of the original building to possibly stave off a wrecking ball death sentence as was imposed on her late, older sister.

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sevfiv    1344

not a bad thought. i have some trepidation about what it's like underneath now, though...

__________

i stuck these two together, just to see:

searschange.jpg

Edited by sevfiv

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Subdude    1285

When you see the photos together, you can't help but ask "What were they thinking?" Whoever thought the cladding was an improvement? :wacko: I would like to think that the original facade is still in good shape, since it has been protected from the elements.

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Guest danax   
Guest danax
i have some trepidation about what it's like underneath now, though..._________

i stuck these two together, just to see:

searschange.jpg

I have some trepidation that your trepidation could be valid.

Comparing the two pics, it first looks like they removed part of the building when they remodeled. Not only because the drop in the roofline but, if you measure the height of those two front windows facing into the intersection, the height of the facade in the first pic is about 5X the height of those windows wheras in the 2nd pic it's only about 4X as high. Plus, one of the protruding, vertical sections with the 3 long windows is still evident beneath the cladding in the 2nd pic but the others appear to have been removed. Doesn't make sense though; why would they go through such trouble to remove part of a building and make it smaller, unless the building had structural problems? But it's hard to tell on the computer and also the right rear section in the 2nd pic looks higher than the original, so maybe they added height instead.

And, as Subdude says, what the heck were they thinking? I vaguely remember the time when the "art deco" style appeared simply old fashioned and not beautiful but there appears to be nothing attractive about the redo in this case, almost like it was done purely out of necessity.

This gives me a good reason to hit the microfiches in the library once it reopens to see what writeups in the Post or Chronicle at the time might reveal. Anyone know the rough date of the remuddle?

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Subdude    1285

The shots were taken from different angles. The "before" picture is from the northwest, looking south down Main. The "after" photo was taken from the southwest, looking north.

I'm guessing that the remodeling took place in the early 1960s, which was a high point for destroying old architecture in the name of "modernization".

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sevfiv    1344
I would like to think that the original facade is still in good shape, since it has been protected from the elements.

i wonder if how the cladding was attached would be a problem - was it bolted on the old facade? would there be damage if taken off?

The shots were taken from different angles. The "before" picture is from the northwest, looking south down Main. The "after" photo was taken from the southwest, looking north.

good call on the angles - in the before picture on the far left, i can see the edge of the sears letters that must have matched on each side

_______

okay, now that i keep looking at it, there seems to be a flag and pole on the left side of each picture - at least that is what i think it may be

i wonder if there were flags on the other side, too, because they seem to match up pretty well in those two pictures...

Edited by sevfiv

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Subdude    1285

It looks like there were flagpoles above both the Main Street and Fannin entrances. The Fannin entrance is in the old photo where it says "Texas" in the store window.

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Dan the Man    33

Went to that store today. It was really busy. The interior seems a bit dirty, but it still radiates a simple deco elegance in the stairwell. I also really liked the curved detail at the top of the columns; reminds me a bit of the columns in the Montrose Sears, but more refined. I suspect that the original terrazzo remains under all of that crummy looking linoleum and worn carpet. You can see pieces of it sticking out around the entrance on the east side. The interior and lighting would definitely benefit from a restoration of the windows and facade. It feels a bit "closed in" right now; all three floors feel like they are underground.

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Guest danax   
Guest danax
2j3fwwz.jpg33mrgw7.jpg

I was here today buying a saw and had my camera. The building is tricky with the similar facades on the various corners. This view confirms that the original structure is still behind there. I walked around the building and the marble (granite?) is still in decent condition except for a few gouges.

The interior, as previously mentioned, was extensively remodeled and the only obvious traces of originality are the staircases and railings and I suppose the terrazoesque flooring near the entrances. The men's bathroom has some old sinks, which look to be late 50s/early 60s and probably date from the initial remodel.

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dbigtex56    172

The original escalators were still in place until about 10 years ago. They were brass, and had some very nice Streamline/Moderne details. The only escalators in Houston which rivaled them in beauty (that I've seen) were in the old Music Hall, which was built at approximately the same time as Sears.

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Subdude    1285

Weren't the ones at Sears the first escalators in Houston?

Danax, those side-by-side photos are enough to make you weep.

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57Tbird    20
Weren't the ones at Sears the first escalators in Houston?

I think you're correct. I remember the novelty of the new escalators at Sears, when I was a little kid. I would ride it continuously, like an amusement park ride, whenever my mom took me with her to shop there. I also remember the warning posted where you got on. No tennis shoes (or whatever they were called then) allowed. I guess on the chance that the long shoe strings might get caught between the steps. My mom would not let me wear my Keds (the only brand then) whenever we went there.

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Vertigo58    18
I think you're correct. I remember the novelty of the new escalators at Sears, when I was a little kid. I would ride it continuously, like an amusement park ride, whenever my mom took me with her to shop there. I also remember the warning posted where you got on. No tennis shoes (or whatever they were called then) allowed. I guess on the chance that the long shoe strings might get caught between the steps. My mom would not let me wear my Keds (the only brand then) whenever we went there.

This is great that someone started this thread. I can relate totally. There are too many responses to respond to so hopefully I am not being redundant. Did anyone mention or ask what was the name of the theater across from Main street from this Sear's? I know it was torn down several years ago but what was the name??? My mom says she saw "Gone With The Wind" there so thats what stands out. I assume Drive-In movies put them out of business.

I recall going to that Sears (Main) since I was a kid. I am sure that everyone remembers the nice smell of popcorn as you entered. Always fresh too because of the steady crowds. They must have had a deal with the makers of Winnie The Pooh because there was always the stuffed animals above the clothe racks with lots of Winnie-related shirts, sweaters, etc. The one thing that always stood out for me was the restaurant area. Man, I loved the hamburgers, fries everything! Plenty of booths and stools to sit on with a huge counter, the waitress's even wore uniforms complete with hats or hairnets. Sadly, the Main st has sealed or boarded up the old eatery, pathetic. The only Sears I know of that still exists is on North Shepard and it still appears as it did when it opened, maybe? Anyway if you glance at it it does look like your in the 60's. I think that cool old theater still stands next door giving it more of that old time feeling.

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sevfiv    1344
This is great that someone started this thread. I can relate totally. There are too many responses to respond to so hopefully I am not being redundant. Did anyone mention or ask what was the name of the theater across from Main street from this Sear's? I know it was torn down several years ago but what was the name??? My mom says she saw "Gone With The Wind" there so thats what stands out. I assume Drive-In movies put them out of business.

that was the delman theater - the bob bailey collection has a few neat pictures:

http://www.cah.utexas.edu/db/dmr/dmr_resul...p;Submit=Submit

it was demolished in June of 2002

Edited by sevfiv

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Subdude    1285
The only Sears I know of that still exists is on North Shepard and it still appears as it did when it opened, maybe? Anyway if you glance at it it does look like your in the 60's. I think that cool old theater still stands next door giving it more of that old time feeling.

Was that the Garden Oaks theater? Last I checked the theater was being used by an evangelistic church.

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sevfiv    1344
Was that the Garden Oaks theater? Last I checked the theater was being used by an evangelistic church.

yeah - the sears is located at 4000 n shepherd, and garden oaks theater (church) was (is) at 3750

last time i drove by the light wasn't good, but it looked very toned down - the marquee is still there, though

Edited by sevfiv

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mkultra25    472
yeah - the sears is located at 4000 n shepherd, and garden oaks theater (church) was (is) at 3750

last time i drove by the light wasn't good, but it looked very toned down - the marquee is still there, though

The marquee is still fundamentally intact, but the lettering that spelled out "GARDEN OAKS" as well as the neon was stripped off after the Net church took over. There are some interesting comments at the Cinema Treasures site from someone apparently affiliated with the church indicating that they were in the process of restoring the theater as recently as last year, but I have to admit I'm a bit skeptical given what was done to the marquee. Still, it's good that the theater hasn't been demolished completely the way so many other formerly nice neighborhood theaters in Houston have been.

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SunKing    1
The marquee is still fundamentally intact, but the lettering that spelled out "GARDEN OAKS" as well as the neon was stripped off after the Net church took over. There are some interesting comments at the Cinema Treasures site from someone apparently affiliated with the church indicating that they were in the process of restoring the theater as recently as last year, but I have to admit I'm a bit skeptical given what was done to the marquee. Still, it's good that the theater hasn't been demolished completely the way so many other formerly nice neighborhood theaters in Houston have been.

I lived in Garden Oaks from '93 until '04. The original sign with the Garden Oaks lettering was donated to Garden Oaks (residential association?) when it was taken down.

...and to get back on topic - I would love to see the Sears on South Main restored to it's original luster. ...bu I'm not holding my breath.

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sevfiv    1344
I lived in Garden Oaks from '93 until '04. The original sign with the Garden Oaks lettering was donated to Garden Oaks (residential association?) when it was taken down.

...and to get back on topic - I would love to see the Sears on South Main restored to it's original luster. ...bu I'm not holding my breath.

any idea what became of the sign after the donation?

_____________

i recently emailed Sears about the store on main st. we'll see what they say (if anything)

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sevfiv    1344

well, got a response:

Thank you for contacting Sears Holdings Corporation. At this time, we

do not have any information regarding the rennovation of the Sears store

located on Main Street in Houston, Texas.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We value you as a Sears

Holdings Corporation customer, and we truly intend to provide you with

the best possible customer service.

Sincerely,

National Customer Relations

Sears Holdings Corporation

:mellow:

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Guest danax   
Guest danax
well, got a response:

Thank you for contacting Sears Holdings Corporation. At this time, we

do not have any information regarding the rennovation of the Sears store

located on Main Street in Houston, Texas.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We value you as a Sears

Holdings Corporation customer, and we truly intend to provide you with

the best possible customer service.

Sincerely,

National Customer Relations

Sears Holdings Corporation

:mellow:

Gee, quite the enthusiastic, informative response. I was actually searching on the Sears website last night for info as to how to contact them for the same reason but got sidetracked.

I doubt anyone in the corporate offices has a clue about that building's history at this point. Will have to come up with a Plan B.

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TheNiche    969
I doubt anyone in the corporate offices has a clue about that building's history at this point. Will have to come up with a Plan B.

Plan B: Screw corporate. Call the store manager. If he/she doesn't have personal insight to the building's history, I'll bet that they'll know an employee or former employee or someone that knows someone that does.

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