Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fiesta Days at Montgomery Ward, 1953

(With apologies for yesterday’s horrendous post.)

Pictured above, in a circa 1953 photo, is the Montgomery Ward store in San Luis Obispo, California. This photo was taken during the La Fiesta de las Flores parade, an annual event in San Luis Obispo from 1925 to 1995. The clown/cowboy’s horse is equipped with a shovel, a necessary accessory depending on the length of the parade. At least he has a smile painted on his face!

This store, with its rectangular red sign with white lettering, is extremely typical of Wards stores over a very long period – from the mid 1930’s until 1958, when the company embarked a building boom, opening modern stores with an exciting new look, mostly in shopping centers and malls. Nonetheless, Wards continued to operate stores like this well into the 1960’s, and even beyond that in some locations. In most cases they received facelifts with the new Wards signage, but this store, as evidenced by this 1964 photo (of another parade) kept the original fa├žade for at least that long.

The cloth banners advertising the electric blanket “Lay a way” sale are a neat aspect of the photo. I’m sure those electric blankets were most welcome on those frequent chilly nights when the Pacific winds were up.

Many thanks to aroid for the use of this fine photo.

6 comments:

  1. The clown/cowboy’s horse is equipped with a shovel, a necessary accessory depending on the length of the parade. At least he has a smile painted on his face!


    Another good laugh, Dave! Keep them coming.

    I like the little soda fountain diner place next to the Wards. I think the red and white seemed like a classy look for Wards

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  2. Didi - Thanks, I agree it's a nice scene, and I like the sign as well. It's a typical look of many retail chains in those days, where the only distinguishing features on their storefronts were the colorful, rectangular porcelain coated signs.

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  3. Did Montgomery Ward stores (particularly the one at Wonderland Mall in Livonia, MI) have a candy counter in the middle of the store? I seem to remember one when I was a little girl in the 60's. Does anyone know?

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    1. Yes it did! It had a Sanders near the South Entrance...

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  4. They had a candy counter at the Grand River and Greenfield store right in the middle of the main floor. It was all glass and I still remember the gal scooping out Bridge Mix for me. Could never get more than one or two chocolate covered brazil nuts.

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  5. Ah, candy counters! Those were the days, when many Sears, Wards and Penneys stores had 'em. The smell alone added so much to the experience.

    Maybe Brazil Nuts were more expensive than the other ingredients! ;)

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