Friday, April 13, 2007

MOA Galleria - Montgomery Wards Building Oakland


"Wards VI" (2001)
by Katherine Westerhout

C
ool photograph taken by artist, Katherine Westerhout, in the now demolished Montgomery Ward building in Oakland, California.

I really loved shopping at Wards growing up. It was one of our family's favorite department stores. The name alone still brings back many wonderful childhood memories for me the instant I hear it. Sure do miss that store.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous didi said...

Me too, Keith. I don't understand why some people feel the need to bash Montgomery Wards. I have seen and heard a lot of people referring to it as Monkey Wards and such. Some people have only had bad things to say about the department store saying it was the poor man's Sears and such other things. I don't get why.

I always like Wards and had a fond memory of it as a child growing up. I was very sad to see it go when it did. My parents still have many things they bought from Wards including rugs, a TV stand and a kitchen table. My husband still has a TV he bought from Wards as well.

Sat Apr 14, 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

We didn't have Montgomery Ward in my town until I was in high school, so anytime we went to one before then, it was in a distant city. That in itself made it seem exotic in a way in my mind,though hardly anyone else you asked would ever link "exotic" and "Wards."

In any event, the closest Wards to me was a extremely dated store at a fading mall that never fully renovated from its opening in 1976 until it closed. I always linked Montgomery Ward and outlandish '70s decor because of this, and in a way, it clouded my view of the place, for even Sears and JCPenney were able to shake thier woodgrain and avacado dowdiness by the mid-'80s, but Wards, especially the one near me, was still stuck in a time warp.

I can take a more objective view of Mopntgomery Ward these days. I appreciate how quirky they were now, since everything retail has become a carbon copy of one another. It's a shame that more people didn't realize that despite its flaws, and there were more than a few, Wards wasn't that bad a store.

Mon Apr 16, 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

Oddly enough, Montgomery Wards is the one nation-wide US department store chain I've never had any experience with. For some reason, none of the US towns and malls I visited ever had Montgomery Wards.

Tue Apr 17, 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

Steven, I agree so much with your last statement that it really wasn't a bad store. My parents always had a good experience and the salespeople always knew how to treat you and they knew what they were talking about when they explained products and selections. In the one we went to often customer service was awesome.

Although years after the store closed after meeting my husband who oddly enough didn't live far from the location my parents used to go to, he told me about a horrible experience he once had buying a VCR there. In short, he had to throw it away not long after purchasing it.

Wed Apr 18, 10:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monkey Wards at St John and Belmont was my playground as a child...we played football in the parking lot on Sundays when they were closed and this is when I learned what the term first and ten meant...we used the parking lot lines to delineate the playing field...I also learned to skate in that same parking lot...I am 64 years old and I still have dreams about things I did in and around that Monkey Wards store...it holds a place of honor in my childhood memory book...Bruce

Wed Oct 08, 09:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nothing wrong with the company but when the building was abandoned the building became home to drug addicts and served as a location to carry out numerous murders

Mon Nov 24, 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Dean Watkins said...

I remember when I was a kid I would go there and I would make my parents buy me a Hot Link Sandwich. The BBQ sauce was sweet with just the right amount of smoke. What I would do to get one today.

Fri Dec 12, 01:26:00 AM  

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