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Sears: A Bygone Icon

When the department store stood a cut above



 



The corner of Northwest 23rd and Pennsylvania looks pretty much like lots of other Oklahoma City intersections: a strip mall, fast food restaurants and lots of traffic. But a generation or two ago, that area was home to one of the city’s landmark shopping destinations.
 

Sears and Roebuck had been around since the late 1800s, and in 1954, Oklahoma City became home to one of its premier store locations. The three-story brick building was a mid-century shopper’s dream. Clothing, appliances, automotive parts … all under one roof. And there were toys, too. Lots of toys.

“I loved the toy department,” says Oklahoma City resident David Thach. “I remember shopping there when I was a little kid with my mom and my aunt. Back then we lived in south Oklahoma City and would drive to that Sears on Northwest 23rd and Penn. In the spring, they would set up an above-ground pool in the store, and we kids begged for one for years. Never got it. Mom and Dad knew how much work they would be to maintain. But I still have all my Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars! I did not have many crashes with mine.”

Sears was always busy in those days, Thach remembered. The neighboring Shepherd Mall wouldn’t be built until 1964, and a mile north, the open-air Penn Square wouldn’t be built until 1960. So for a time, Sears was the place to be.

“It was a three-story building, which meant three different sets of escalators,” Thach says. “I loved playing on them when I was a kid. But later, when I worked at the store, I would say about once a year a kid would get hurt on them; get their foot caught in the return and someone would have to shut the escalators off.”

Thach began working at Sears in 1976, in the snack bar.

“That was such a cool space,” he remembers. “Huge glass windows overlooked planters, and then onto Pennsylvania. Very 1950s modern. The candy counter on the main floor made the entire store smell good. At Christmas, the store was insanely busy and it was so full of shoppers. My friend Gina and I worked there together, and it was an exciting time.”

Eventually times and shoppers’ tastes changed. The once-bustling Sears closed, and the building was demolished in the 1990s.

“I hated to see it torn down,” Thach says. “It was built as a fallout shelter, and was extremely strong. Americans are so wasteful – we tear down too many buildings that could be repurposed and reused. But in its day, what a gem it was.”

 

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Calendar

May 2018

The Blue Dome Arts Festival is an annual community event that focuses on promoting local artists, handcrafters and performers and has become a spring tradition for families across our great state....

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2nd & Elgin
200 S. Elgin Ave.
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415 Couch Dr.
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Telephone: 405.236.3100
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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Telephone: 405.236.3100
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Join the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy as we "wrap up" OK Foster Wishes for the season and kick off 2018! Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks while seeing your impact...

Cost: $50-$75

Where:
Dunlap Codding
609 W Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73102, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: 405.236.5437
Contact Name: Miranda Hines
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Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
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 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
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View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
J.L. Johnson Stadium
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
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More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
J.L. Johnson Stadium
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

Oklahoma City's premier platform for improvised comedy theatre features weekly performances with shows Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Each show is $10, or see both for $15. Enjoy...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
NOIR Bistro & Bar
701 West Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
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Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
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701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
J.L. Johnson Stadium
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

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Cost: $29.99

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Sponsor: Andy Alligator’s Fun Park & Water Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275
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More information

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Cost: $10-$15

Where:
NOIR Bistro & Bar
701 West Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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