Do All Old Sears Buildings Look Alike?

So I had to find the old Sears building today to go try to do something (I didn’t succeed, I’ll try again tomorrow, have to love the State of NY and the hours they keep and that they don’t match up with my free time) and I asked my work friends where this building is and they gave me a general location and how to get there. I wanted to ask them, “so, does the Sears building here look like the one in Syracuse?” but what the heck, they’re not from Syracuse, so they wouldn’t know what I’m talking about. So I’m going down the road, looking at street numbers, looking, looking, and all of a sudden. . . I see a familiar looking, unmistakable, no questions asked, old Sears building. And it looks just like the old Sears building in Syracuse. The only difference is this old building is being used for *everything* under the sun, and the old Sears building in Syracuse is sitting vacant, looking all lonesome for itself, and if I’m brave because now it sits forlorn in a “bad” part of town, I’ll take a photo of it next time I’m there.

But for now, I’m really curious, do all old Sears buildings around the country look like the two I know about? This photo is taken from the back of the building.


Please let me know!

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mon@rch
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 19:38:15

    No idea but you are right, they do all look the same! I guess for the same reason McDonalds, subway, etc. all look the same !


  2. Rondi
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 20:29:08

    The one in Boston has a similar look, especially the tower part. Isn’t that interesting! I wouldn’t have thought that…


  3. Pam
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 20:33:24

    Mon@rch – I think you’re right! And now that I’m thinking about it, my Mom’s cousins said that their Dad built houses from Sears plans back years ago. I never did get a chance to ask my Dad about it (my Dad built many houses for other people, too) because we found this out in Arizona in March and we came back and my Dad was sick. My point is, why wouldn’t they (Sears) build all of their retail buildings alike!

    Rondi – That is really cool! And is it the same brick color, too? When I go back I’ll try to get a close up of the tower. It actually looks like it’s really cool closeup.


  4. mary
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 22:09:39

    Pam, I haven’t seen a Sears building in years. That one looks more like a “Montgomery Ward” building to me – long ago in MD.


  5. jayne
    Oct 19, 2007 @ 06:39:19

    I thought it was a hospital when I first looked at the photo…lol! But, come to think of it, I do remember old Sears buildings looking like this in downtown areas.


  6. mon@rch
    Oct 19, 2007 @ 09:36:52

    Pam, cool info on your Dad!


  7. Pam
    Oct 19, 2007 @ 17:21:45

    Mary – Montgomery Wards! I used to go the Montgomery Wards retail store when I lived in Albany. It was so much fun, like the whole catalog in the store. I outfitted my little apartment with stuff from MW. Next time I’m in Albany I’ll have to take a pic of the old MW building.

    Jayne – It does look like a little hospital at first glance.

    Mon@rch – Thanks – he was one talented man!


  8. Rondi
    Oct 19, 2007 @ 22:11:04

    Pam–yes, the same color in Boston!


  9. Pam
    Oct 20, 2007 @ 08:57:48

    Rondi – that’s very cool!


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  12. Sean T
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 03:21:05

    No, they all don’t look exactly alike. Though they all are HUGE and usually have a tower.

    But some were done up in a look like this, or this

    and others like the one you show had more of an art deco look like this

    They all are landmarks and need to be kept up. The one in Atlanta here has just been bought and will be used for condos and stores eventually. They have a lot of work to do to make that old place like new again….


  13. Pam
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 09:37:10

    Hi Sean – I agree, they all need to be kept up! Thank you for showing us some of the different styles! The two I’m familiar with are like the art deco one. I wish someone would do something for the one in Syracuse!


  14. Lena M
    Jul 25, 2008 @ 14:20:06

    We have one here in Minneapolis, nothing else like it in this market place. Great mixed use development holding strong even in todays soft market. Awesome global market, Allina medical offices, US bank, Midtown Exchange Apts and Chicago Lofts house this amazing structure.


  15. michael deretz
    Aug 18, 2008 @ 18:26:00

    the one syracuse new york close 1968. the mother work there. its on salina and tallman st. south side.


  16. Mark
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 01:51:30

    Until the 50s, most had some version of the tower – sometimes a minimal gothic or often a deco design. MANY of them still exist of course and been repurposed. As of the late 50s they started building box stores with brick facades, usually in shopping centers, without the towers. Here’s a pic of
    the old SF Sear’s from the 20s AND the repurposed SF store off Geary Blvd from the 50s: Here’s a link to the old Boston store, nearly identical to the Minneapolis store shown in the other link in this blog:


  17. Pam
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 10:38:12

    Lena – that is so cool.

    Michael – We used to shop in the one in Syracuse. Too bad it’s not being used somehow now.

    Mark – Thank you for the history and the links. It’s fun to see other Sears buildings being reused.


  18. Dave
    May 23, 2009 @ 17:33:17

    I worked in this store (Sears # 1064) as a division manager from 1973 to 1981. It was a a beautifull store with a very experienced staff and a plethora of long time customers who came up from the NY southern teir to spend their Saturdays and their money. We also had 60,000 Eastman Kodak employees as customers when EK was at its peak . We would have the store perfect and well stocked for EK bonus day every March. Most “A” stores, meaning full line, built around 1929 were multi floor and of very similar art deco design. I’ve seen them all around the county and they stand out no matter what they have been converted to. This store relocated to Marketplace Mall in 1982, one floor and( I presume) much less expensive to run. We kept all the display equipment up on the top floor in the tower with the manikins. I’d go up there for shelving at night half expecting one of them to come alive like in the Twighlight Zone!

    Dave B
    Rochester, NY


    • Carl Conge
      Aug 05, 2018 @ 22:42:05

      Hey Dave. Just seeing your comments about the old store on Monroe. I worked there from 1971 to 1977 or so. Would love to connect. You can find me on Facebook.


  19. Gordy
    Dec 19, 2012 @ 19:30:46

    I used to live across from a sears store growing up. same style store with a tower. I have been told that they used to have someone in the tower yelling, to traffic in the parking lot, where to park. I cant find any info on this.Gordy from milwaukee wisconsin


  20. James Harvey
    May 06, 2013 @ 17:38:38

    I lived near a Sears in Detroit just like this one. Sears built two stores in 1927-28 in Detroit that were Art Deco style with the famous tower, flagpole on top and, later, neon signs that said S-E-A-R-S, which you could see from a mile away. Sears closed many of these boulevard stores in the ’70’s to focus on their mall operations, and while many of these buildings still exist, the ones in Detroit were torn down in the 80’s. To construct a building like that today (given the architectural detail involved) would cost several million dollars, so the remaining ones should be landmarks.


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