Sears (1970)

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Sears was built between 1st and 2nd Streets at South Grand Ave. in 1950-51 to replace the downtown location at 621-23 E. Adams. The store operated at that location until April of 1977 when Sears became one of the first anchor stores at the new White Oaks Mall. In the early 1980’s, the building was renovated and became the home for the Illinois Department of Public Aid. Then in the late 1990’s the Department of Human Services was split off from DPA and began sharing the space. Now, the building is exclusively DHS offices.

34 Comments

  1. Giuseppe:

    I lived across the street on 1st from 1966 to 1970 in an old Victorian house last lived in by two old maid sisters. We had lived in the country for several years before and so desired to move into the city and when we saw Sears right across the street, well we knew we had arrived! The old house was torn down after we moved and replaced with I believe a blueprint company…

  2. Craig:

    Right inside the parking lot entrance in the lobby on the south side of the building was a snack shop that had the BEST hot dogs I’ve ever enjoyed – the buns were steamed and cost 25 cents – I think you could get cheese on it for an extra 10 cents. A small paper cup of soda was 15 cents. Just inside this lobby was one of the biggest candy counters I’ve ever seen in a department store.

  3. Giuseppe:

    OMG Craig you are right! Wow what a candy counter it was! I remember just wishing I could be locked in there over night and of course the toy dept was just right there too! Sears was the first place that I ever sat on Santa’s lap and took candy from a stranger! LoL! But Mom it was Santa… LoL

  4. Jay:

    Was a frequent visitor to this sears before it moved to the mall. I remember the several years the building was vacant then had the opportunity to work there when it was state offices. Glad it wasnt torn down.

    Anybody comes up with pics of the sears downtown I’d love to see them. Same goes for the Penneys downtown also.

  5. Connor McNamara:

    My mother worked in this building in the 90’s and I didn’t know that this building was a Sears building also.

  6. Yes Connor, it was so cool there…. I have so many wonderful memories….had a hot dog deli stand inside the big doors……..hot dogs were 10cents and went up to 25 cents ( the smell was incredible)…..root beers were 5 cents and went up to 10 cents….that was in the 1960’s when I was a child. We used to take our Barbie dolls there and play in the funiture department….like make believe land.

  7. Dave Houston:

    The old Sears has a ton of memories for me as I worked there from December ’72 to when they moved in ’77 and beyond. Who remembers the garden center at the other south entrance by automotive? And the way they filled it with toys and Christmas decorations and trees after Thanksgiving. Talk about get you in the holiday spirit! Of course they had a real Santa, too. How many people have photos of themselves with him taken there? I could go on and on.

  8. Jherald Grisham:

    Patty,were you in the Falcons drum and bugle corps?
    http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/SpringfieldIllinoisDrumCorps/
    Hpoe to see you there…Jheri

  9. Chuck:

    My dad worked evenings at Sears on 2nd street in the Automotive department.

    Anyone who visited this store remembers the hot dogs!

  10. I went to dancing school at Betty Jo Macks at Spring and So Grand and would go down to Sears for the best hot dogs in the world. I remember thinking how much better those tasted over any others. They also have popcorn and caramel corn.

  11. Mike:

    I can also remember the best smelling hot dogs as you walked through the rear doors that lead to the parking lot. We bought our shoes (those suckers hurt so bad) from Sears, along with all of our back to school clothes. All of Christmas came from here or the Sears catalog, as well. Sears was quality.

  12. We moved to Spfld at the start of my junior year of high school from a little farm town, Carlinville.It was a terrible move for me BUT I turned 16 in Feb and started to work at Sears in March, 1959. I worked mostly in the drapery/shutter/awning dept. My boss was Mr. Netzke. One great guy. The workers were Marge Ryan, Rose ?, Floyd Daily?, They treated me like I was a family member. I loved it. When I left for college two years later, I could always find work during summer or holidays when home. I went to college with the idea of becoming a Sears mgr but the desire to teach overcame Sears. One time I was assinged to the stocking room and spent a whole day pricing bras. Quite an experience for a 19 year old boy. :-).

  13. Wow…..those hot dogs at Sears were wonderful and yes, they did have cheese. I think it was cheese wiz and it was real good and gooey, my favorite….

  14. Nancy:

    Does anyone remember the xray machines in the shoe dept at this Sears? This would have been late 50s or 60-61. We moved out of Ill in 1962. Funny to see a bus stop bench in same spot in both pictures. Springfield had good bus service when I lived there. Not used to any bus service where I live now. And I remember a small movie theater nearby on So Grand but can’t remember the name – Gem?

    • Bonnie J. Pritchard:

      Definitely remember those x-ray machines in the Sears store. I guess they didnt hurt me, because I think (?) I am alright. :-)

  15. Nancy:

    I continued on to other photos and realize the theater I remember was probably the Esquire.

  16. alex:

    nancy
    hi i remember. we got to use it just a couple of times before they removed them due to radiation problems. yes the esquire thats where my sister took me to see from the front row the wizard of oz scared the pants right of me.

  17. J. Cioni:

    My mother worked at the hotdog stand and also the candy counter. I alwlays tried to get her to sneak me some ‘free’ candy. I purchased my first suit at Sears, a 3-piece and man was I cool.

    • Ed Crumly:

      I would like to know what kind of hot dogs they used. Man they were good. they may have been from peg well packing company.. my grandfather was best friends with peg well
      Pete and when they didn’t have enough kids to fill the show we got to be on television the y had great hot dogs also..

  18. Connie (Kalb) Sebok:

    Just reading these comments and I can even smell those hotdogs. It was such a treat to get one when we went to Sears and it had to have cheese.

  19. Becky:

    The hot dogs, of course, but the things that always fascinated me at Sears & Roebucks were the little building in the parking lot where you had keys made, and the fact that you could actually see, touch and smell a real leather saddle along with all the other tools. Now all you can smell upon entering Sears sans Roebuck at the Mall is tires. Somehow not the same…

    • Bonnie J. Pritchard:

      Yepper, remember that key shop well. would you believe, the sears store here in San Antonio, had a similar key store in the parking lot until a few years ago.

  20. Tom Watts:

    I remember the smell of the cashews and other nuts…You could get a small bag of HOT cashews for little money. Oh wow.

  21. Mike Keafer:

    I came to Springfield in the early 50’s and we spent a lot of time at this store. I remember you could just not pass the hot dog stand and you had to have some popcorn. What a great place. Sears was never the same after they moved.

  22. Edna:

    Giuseppe;
    The two old maid sisters were Sadie and Mary. A visit to them always produced some lemonade and cookies. My grandfather built the house next door in 1905 and added a second floor later. It is now a blueprint company. We brought the house from Grandpa Weaver in the early 40’s and lived there 10 years, thru the construction of Sears. We moved because of the Sears traffic. Before Sears there was an old stone house that had a Children’s museum on a hugh lot. Does any one remember the name of the Museum and who built the structure?
    Edna Skoog

  23. Lou:

    Loved those Hot Dogs with cheez whiz. Only thing is My mom would not let me eat them often. She told me I could get one at Steak and Shake. Not back then!

  24. M Nation:

    The hotdogs and rootbeer and the escalator !!!!!

  25. KHerndon:

    I remember hot dogs and yes, the escalator and the “girls” department. I think they carried thoses dreaded gym unifirms we were obliged to wear. they might’ve also stocked the Girl Scout wear and badges. My mom let me use her credit card there one day all by myself! That was Big Time! Spent many hours at Sears for back to school and still feel positive about the brand. Must be the escalator… We weren’t allowed to eat the hot dogs. :)

  26. Susan:

    I loved the hot dogs (with mustard) and everything Sears! I lived in between Sears and the Esquire theater. We walked everywhere, down So. Grand Ave, MacArthur Blvd, and all the streets in between. Played outside day and night–safe! Once my older sister and I went to see the Saturday “Dick Tracy” serial at the Esquire. On the way I lost my quarter in the snow, which is what it cost to go to movies then. My sister “loaned” me the money, and made me pay her back. Years later, she told me that she went back and found my lost quarter and never told me!

  27. Carol Coles Fleck:

    Loved that store and got all my clothes there as a child. Love the coke and hot dogs for sale as you entered the store. The escalators ere a lot fo fun too.

  28. janet Dillow:

    The smell as you walked in the door coming from that snack counter was amazing. I remember the caramel corn that I wasn’t allowed to eat when I had braces on my teeth. My grandmother always referred to it as the New Sears Store. She had worked in the old one downtown.

  29. Al Farmer:

    I remember the huge candy counter and the Air-Popped popcorn at Sears.

    In the 70’s and 80’s, when my wife and I went back to my home town, we went to a little yarn and craft store near the old Sears. I think the name had the word ‘clock’ or ‘cat’ in it.

    Great memories

  30. remember the hot dog stand and the cheese whiz crank. the smell during the winter was incredible. My parents lived in virden and my father worked at Guiffre Buick and mom at Mary Lou Flower shop on south grand.

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