Friday, July 07, 2006

Swanky Sears

Circa 1961

Though I'm not sure which exact mall this Sears store is attached to (and the image quality isn't great--it's from an old magazine ad), I just really like this shot. There sure is a NICE retro vibe going on in it! Wish my backyard looked like this.


Blogger Cora said...

I love the multi-level fountain and the red tiles on those pillars.

The retro Sears logo is very nice as well. I don't think I've ever seen Sears with that logo.

Fri Jul 07, 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous tkaye said...

Love this photo... I could sit on a bench listening to that fountain trickle and watching the people go by all day long.

That logo was prevalent before series adopted the very plain looking SEARS in a Times sort of typeface. Early '50s through the late '60s is about the timespan for it. There is a freestanding Sears in Seattle (it used to be the West Coast distribution hub in the 1920s, as an aside) that had this signage on the building up until several years ago.

Sat Jul 08, 01:10:00 AM  
Anonymous tkaye said...

I should have said: "That logo was prevalent before Sears adopted the very plain looking SEARS in a Times sort of typeface."

Sat Jul 08, 01:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love that beautiful typeface! I guess they tried to become more modern, to bad. I thought they went bankrupt a while back but I guess they pulled themselves out of the red by changing the logo.

Sat Jul 08, 08:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

I've seen that signage before, but usually in red or white.

The logo was actually used up until early 1971, where by then, Sears adopted the use of their 'blah' Times-Roman like logo from between then up through late 1984. However some stores were already using the Times typefaces before '71 on some buildings.

I only got to ever see this one on a Sears store that anchored Memorial Mall in Sheboygan, WI. The store's still there today, but was remodeled in 1995/1996. This particular location had the script exterior logo in red. The interior logo was the blue variant of their capitalized Times typeface that was very common back then.

That store and that mall....retro mall lover's dream. I should note it also boasted an old Penneys as well as an old Kohl's Department Store (since 1983) as anchors.

Sat Jul 08, 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never seen (or seen pictures of) Sears signage like this before. The oldest I've seen is the Times style that others have mentioned. Cool picture!

Sat Jul 08, 08:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The former Downtown Peoria, Illinois riverfront Sears store (built 1966) had this script signage in solid steel white and backlit over the dark brown brick at the main entrances facing the city.

The backside of the store which faced the riverfront used the capitalized "Times New Roman" style sign, also in white which glowed brightly and served as a Peoria landmark for many years.

Sat Jul 08, 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Sobieniak said...

Being reminded of the Sears location near me that had the older-looking font on it's sides of the building that felt like they didn't change a thing for decades until they had to upgrdae to the newer logo sometime int he 90's. I miss the older font myself, though it wasn't as stylized as the one in the pic.

Sun Jul 09, 07:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Jonas said...

There was another Sears logo on buildings, too, I don't know if it's earlier or later. It has a more streamlined look. Seen the chrome car logos where the cursive letters are stylized and simplified, and all connected together on one horizontal line? It was like that, with a big script capital "S" and "ears" in lowercase script slanted upward. The Renton Center, an outdoor shoipping center built in Renton, a Seattle suburb, around 1960 (dating by George Tsutakawa's first fountain, installed there) had three of these logos on the Sears. Since I was a kid (b. 1979) the one facing the rest of the shopping center had been painted white, neon tubes and all, and did not work, but the other two were green neon with dark forest-green metal that had a double white pinstripe on the front. These signs were HUGE. Store was demolished in '90 or so and a huge Fred Meyer built there.

Sun Jul 09, 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, so sweet to grow up in Sacramento in the 1970's. Our local Sears had huge! green! signage! just like that, it took up half the side of the building. I have a fond memory of being five or six years old, and taking a special trip to Sears to meet Pooh Bear. It was such a big deal to me at the time.

Sun Jul 09, 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

The "Sears Town" store which predated the curent (very bland) Sears at Valley View Mall in Roanoke, Va. had a logo similar to the one on that store. It was red neon.

I worked for an architecture firm that converted Sears Town into a social services building and I was able to peruse the original architectural drawings for a several months befire we designed the renovations that essentially destroyed what remained of the old store. It was not one of my prouder moments.

Mon Jul 10, 12:42:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Sobieniak said...

I'm not even sure how old the Sears building at Westgate is myself (I assume it was there since the shopping centers inception in the 50's), but I'm glad they didn't close it down or tear it up yet, though it feels rather strange bothering to go there as the mood isn't really there anymore (what with the merger with Kmart, I'd rather just go to Kmart instead if that's the case).

Mon Jul 10, 01:17:00 AM  
Anonymous glomper said...

xCould this photo be of the River Oaks Mall Sears store in Calumet City, Illinois? That older logo was up until the mid-1970s.

Mon Jul 10, 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous tkaye said...

Since I've heard of Sears using so many different colors of neon in their older signage, it makes me wonder why red and white have become so prevalent. Are red and white neon cheaper? Blue and green neon are absolutely sublime -- think of an old Penney's sign glowing at night.

Mon Jul 10, 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Checking on the location of the store in this shot. I MAY be able to come up with it...

Mon Jul 10, 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Yeah, Sears went all over the rainbow of colors with their exterrior signage, and even their interior signs if there was an enclosed mall connected.

Their old "SEARS" (in Times-Roman-like font) signage I've seen at least in red, orange (red neon fronted with yellow letter faces = orange), pink, white, and blue. It seemed that chosen colors depended on the exterior face of the building itself. (ie: lighter walls/dark colors, dark walls/lighter colors) And that's just the exterior.

Most of the time, interiors were blue (quite common), dulled white or pink (used starting in the late 1970s), and the occasional red in the logo's last years before being changed to their 1985-2004 design.

Who knows about the expense of the neon within channel lettering? Maybe red and white 'are' cheaper. I do know that with red, it's supposively used because it catches the eyes better. Thus why many storefront signs used it when allowed. I can easily recall when I went through malls back in the day, my attetion was instantly grabbed by the likes of 'Radio Shack' or 'Thom McAn', or 'Walgreens' back then.

JCPenney's old 'Penneys' signage was actually done in a 'shiouette' style, which for the time, was futuristic-looking. The neon behind the lettering there was a bone-white shade, thus giving off that chilling effect at night, and it also gave the turquoise segment of the "P" a more cooler hue. Kind of eerie when you picture that in mind, but very retro and neat.

Mon Jul 10, 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger hushpuppy said...

I think this is the Sears at Oakbrook Center outside of Chicago. It's still there today, but they built a second level on that wing of the mall and the logo was changed

Tue Jul 11, 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Could be, Hushpuppy! I may be able to find out for sure soon enough.

And I loved the old 'Penneys' signage at night, Matt!! You're right on about the kind of chilling effect it had. Cool stuff!

Tue Jul 11, 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It probably is Oakbrook. Looks like it, anyway...

Thu Jul 13, 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger mdlpub said...

Always very slow to change things, I can confirm that the Sears "script" logo as pictured aove remained on the Sears store connected to the Weberstown Mall well into the early 1980's.

In fact, if memory serves, that particular Sears never had the Times font-like logo on the building, skipping completely to the logo that was used (I think) from the late 1980's until just recently.

Hope you eventually do something on Weberstown Mall. It went without updates from it's beginnings around 1973 until about 1995 or so. By the early 90's, the olive green, mustard yellow and neon orange decor were positively laughable.

Almost as bad was the Sherwood Mall across the street - built on the (extremely) cheap in the late 1970's, and was already falling down by the early 1990's.

I left Stockton in 1993, and have only been back a few times since. I understand both malls have finally been updated and repaired. Lots of good memories from those days.

Mon Jul 17, 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That definitely looks like the Sears at Oak Brook Center outside Chicago. I used to live right by there, and was in that Sears many times. The building looks much the same, though I think they took out that fountain long ago. I recognize that old covered walkway, though.

Tue Jul 25, 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger jlj68rt said...

I was able to save the 1950's red porcelain neon signs off the Sears Service Center building in Hasbrouck Heights NJ Rte17 South along with letters that spell Sears Service Center, and Service Center, some of which still light. I also saved the large scripted Sears logo just in time before the building was being demolished in July of 2007. I have pix of them.

Sat Mar 01, 07:13:00 PM  
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