“Each Kress store was a gift of civic art”

Montgomery, AL – Source: flickr.com

The S. H. Kress Company was founded by Samuel H. Kress in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania in 1887. It was one of America’s five-and-dime retail chains that started in the last quarter of the 19th century only to fade from the landscape about a 100 years later. Despite the loss of chains such as Kress, there are many magnificent structures that remain for all of us to appreciate and admire. The S.H. Kress Companyin particular believed in the notion that

 “Each Kress store was a gift of civic art to its community.”

What set many of S. H. Kress stores apart from the crowd was the magnificent art deco architecture employed in the design and construction. They were not just retail stores, they were statements of pride, by the company and for the community. So superb was the architectural detail, that the National Building Museumin Washington, DC has an entire collection dedicated to S.H. Kress stores!

Nashville, TN – Source: louisvilleartdeco.com

It is often stated on webpages that only 50 of these architectural gems remain, many of which are rightfully placed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, I have compiled a list below of the remaining S.H. Kress stores and found many more than just 50 dotting the map. If you are aware of any I have missed or been unable to locate, please pass along the information. It would be very welcome.

Here’s is my list of 117 former S. H. Kress buildings that were found searching the internet, particularly through roadsidearchitecture.com and  wikipedia. The year of completion and current use (if known) is provided. An asterisk* means the building is on the National Register of Historic Places or is located within a National Register Historic District. Whenever available, a link to a photo is provided too. Enjoy viewing these “imKressive” structures, most of which continue to serve as an inspiring architectural focal point of each community where they are located.

  1. Albuquerque, New Mexico* (1925)
  2. Alexandria, Louisiana (1938)
  3. Amarillo, Texas (1932) – retail
  4. Americus, Georgia* (1911/1933)
  5. Anniston, Alabama*
  6. Ardmore, Oklahoma – furniture/appliance store
  7. Asheville, North Carolina* (1927)
  8. Atlanta, Georgia (1911)
  9. Athens, Georgia* (1915)
  10. Augusta, Georgia* (1940) – link added 7/27/18
  11. Bakersfield, California (1932)
  12. Bartlesville, Oklahoma (1909)
  13. Baton Rouge, Louisiana* (1911) – residential
  14. Berkeley, California (1933)
  15. Billings, Montana (1925)
  16. Birmingham, Alabama* (1937)
  17. Blytheville, Arkansas* (1938)
  18. Bristol, Tennessee (1922)
  19. Brownsville, Texas
  20. Brunswick, Georgia* (1909)
  21. Chanute, Kansas
  22. Columbia, Missouri* (1910)
  23. Columbia, South Carolina* (1934) – mixed use
  24. Columbus, Georgia* (1918) – facade saved after a fire in 1994
  25. Corpus Christi, Texas (1917) – art space
  26. Daytona Beach, Florida* (1932) – mixed use
  27. Denton, Texas (1909) – antique store
  28. Durham, North Carolina (1933) – mixed use
  29. Eagle Pass, Texas
  30. East Orange, New Jersey (1932)
  31. Elizabethton, Tennessee (1929)
  32. El Paso, Texas (1938)
  33. Emporia, Kansas* (1929)
  34. Enid, Oklahoma (1908) – conference center
  35. Florence, South Carolina
  36. Fort Myers, Florida
  37. Fort Scott, Kansas* (ca. 1900)
  38. Fort Smith, Arkansas (1930)
  39. Fort Worth, Texas* (1936) – mixed use and lofts,
  40. Fresno, California (1924)
  41. Gadsden, Alabama
  42. Galveston, Texas (1928) – lofts
  43. Goldsboro, North Carolina (1909)
  44. Greensboro, North Carolina* (1930) – mixed use – site of one of the civil rights lunch counter sit-in protests in 1960
  45. Greenville, Texas (1938) – bistro
  46. Guthrie, Oklahoma (1918)
  47. Hattiesburg, Mississippi (ca. 1930s)
  48. Hillsboro, Texas
  49. Hilo, Hawaii (1932) – cinemas
  50. Hot Springs, Arkansas (1915)
  51. Houston, Texas* (1913) – lofts

    Houston, TX store –
    Source: waymarking.com/waymarks/WM1MTN_Kress_Building_Houston_Texas

  52. Huntsville, Alabama* (1931)
  53. Hutchinson, Kansas (1933)
  54. Idaho Falls, Idaho* (1932)
  55. Iola, Kansas
  56. Jacksonville, Florida (1912)
  57. Johnson City, Tennessee
  58. Key West, Florida (1912) – eccentric department store
  59. Knoxville, Tennessee (1925) – retail store
  60. Lakeland, Florida (1929) – children’s museum
  61. Laredo, Texas (ca.1920s)
  62. Long Beach, California (1923)
  63. Longview, Texas (1939)
  64. Los Angeles, California
  65. Los Angeles (Downtown)
  66. Los Angeles (Hollywood), California (1934)
  67. Los Angeles (Inglewood), California
  68. Los Angeles (San Pedro), California (1939)
  69. Lubbock, Texas* (1932) – Goodwill
  70. Memphis, Tennessee – conference center,
  71. Meridian, Mississippi*
  72. Miami, Florida – hardly recognizable
  73. Miami Beach. Florida (1941) – Starbucks and erotic art museum
  74. Mobile, Alabama (1914)
  75. Modesto, California
  76. Montgomery, Alabama (1929)
  77. Muskogee, Oklahoma
  78. Natchez, Mississippi
  79. New Bern, North Carolina (1908) – restaurant
  80. New Orleans, Louisiana (1912) – Ritz-Carlton Hotel
  81. New York City, New York
  82. Nogales, Arizona* (ca. 1922)
  83. Orlando, Florida (1936)
  84. Pine Bluff, Arkansas – seen better days
  85. Pomona, California
  86. Ponca City, Oklahoma (ca. 1910s)
  87. Port Arthur, Texas (1927)
  88. Portland, Oregon* (1928)
  89. Provo, Utah
  90. Pueblo, Colorado (1929) – business and technology center
  91. Riverside, California (1930)
  92. Rocky Mount, North Carolina*
  93. Rome, Georgia* (1928)
  94. St. Petersburg, Florida* (1928)
  95. Salina, Kansas
  96. Salisbury, North Carolina (1910)
  97. Sacramento, California (1932)
  98. San Antonio, Texas (1939) – restaurant
  99. Santa Rosa, California (1931)
  100. Sarasota, Florida* (1932)
  101. Savannah, Georgia
  102. Seattle, Washington (1924) – IGA supermarket
  103. Seattle (Ballard), Washington
  104. Selma, Alabama (1930)
  105. Shawnee, Oklahoma – office supply store
  106. Spartanburg, South Carolina* (1929)
  107. Stockton, California (1929)
  108. Tampa, Florida* (1929)
  109. Tampa (Ybor City), Florida – U.S. Customs office
  110. Texarkana, Arkansas/Texas
  111. Tyler, Texas
  112. Waco, Texas (1910)
  113. Waycross, Georgia
  114. Wenatchee, Washington (1939) – mixed use
  115. Wichita, Kansas* (1930)
  116. Youngstown, Ohio* (1925)
  117. Yuma, Arizona – restaurant and nightclub (closed)

Greensboro, NC – Source: flickr.com

What to learn more about Kress? Below is a visual link to a book about the stores on Amazon.

This entry was posted in advertising, architecture, art, cities, civics, Cuisine, culture, economic development, historic preservation, history, land use, new urbanism, placemaking, planning, skylines, tourism, urban planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to “Each Kress store was a gift of civic art”

  1. Bianca says:

    good website. i like all pages and all comments. thanks for all!!! regards!!!http://www.impressorakyocera.com


  2. roadsidenut says:

    Hi Rick — Thanks for promoting my website through all these links. The correct name should be: RoadsideArchitecture.com (note caps). I noticed some errors but can’t find an email for you anywhere here at this blog. So I’ll include them here. You might want to fix them and just delete my email — that’s fine. Lakeland links to Ybor City. Augusta links to Emporia, KS. It’s Fort Myers (not Fort Meyers). The Texarkana building is definitely in Texas (not Arkansas). There’s no Denton, TX Kress — you must mean the Denison, TX Kress which has moved to the 2nd Texas page at my site. I’m sure there are other buildings that you missed at my site. I’m always adding more. But I noticed that the Charleston, SC building is not listed and I’ve had it at my site for awhile. Take care, Debra Jane


  3. Rafe Oneal says:

    The Kress Building in Biloxi Mississippi is currently undergoing renovations and will reopen as a premier live performance venue on July 4th, 2014! Another one saved!


  4. Denise Zungoli says:

    There was a Kress store located on Fordham Road in the Bronx, NY at the intersection of Tiebout Avenue.


  5. cathy libby says:

    Missed the Kress store in Tulsa on 3rd and Main. I have the original sidewalk marker for this store which is marble and brass,


  6. Robert Robinson says:

    My brother and I couldn’t wait to go look at the toy department at. Kress in downtown Modesto California I believe it was on J or K street in the late 60s or early 70s our favorite purchase was the plastic army men and the cowboys and Indians what a neat store to a 10 year old child in those days. Robert Robinson


  7. Gretchen Lowman says:

    There is also a store in Gastonia NC. I have a picture I can share if you would like it. It houses ann an antique store now a days.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Augusta, GA – Kress Across America

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