Downtown Department Stores

Eagles sign

I was downtown the other day paying my water bill, and I was forced to park further away in what was the old Eagle’s parking lot. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sign was still on the back of the building. This brought back a lot of fond memories.

My grandmother always went to Asheboro after Christmas to pay the property taxes. This was when the tax department was in the old courthouse. When I was growing up, she usually brought me along and we would normally stop at Eagle’s on the way back home. Eagle’s was a five and dime store located on Sunset Street in downtown Asheboro.

There was also another five and dime store in downtown High Point called Kress. I remember my dad (or someone) getting me one of those large Tonka cranes from Kress when I was a little boy. My memories of that store are pretty faint now, but I seem to recall that it had a lunch counter.

Sadly, the five and dime stores are a thing of the past now. Eagles closed sometime in the mid 1980’s, but I don’t remember the year. Kress closed around 1981, and the whole block was soon torn down to make room for what is now the Radisson Hotel.

I came across this webpage talking about the history of downtown department stores in High Point, such as Richardson’s, Robinowitz and Wright Clothiers among others. Richardson’s was in the same block as Kress, a few doors up and across from Sears if I remember correctly.

What was interesting about Richardson’s was that it still had and utilized “Pneumatic tube” pipelines. This was a network of vacuum tubes running all throughout the store used for transporting small items back and forth in cylindrical containers.

So what are your memories of downtown department stores? Leave me a comment and let me know. ~MB

Photographic Notes:
Apple iPhone 4S. All images © Matt Bennett Photography.

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4 thoughts on “Downtown Department Stores

  1. My Uncle Herman ran the Men’s Department at Richardson’s Department Store where I worked during the Christmas Season. What memories! The pneumatic tubes were used to transport customer payments to the second floor for processing by Mrs. Padgett and sometimes by the lovely Miss Ruby Parker (still alive at age 93 in Elon, NC). Any change due the customer and the processed sales slip were returned to the site from which it was sent for delivery to the customer. Yes, the active tubes captured lots of attention.

  2. Hey Donald!
    Very interesting story about you and your family’s history with Richardsons. Do you remember the exact year the store closed?
    My grandmother worked at McClelland’s Dept. Store in High Point I think in the 1930’s. –Matt

  3. I remember going down town with my mom when I was young. I loved the 1 cent section in Richardson’s. I worked downtown for a short time at Friedman’s jewelers and bought Christmas for my kids at WoolWorth’s. Such memories.

  4. Hey Deborah, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yeah, kinda neat to reminisce on those times. I used to love going in Kress in HP. Wished those stores like that could’ve stuck around for a few more years.

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