The Catalog Stores:  Sears, Montgomery Ward, and  J.C. Penny.  


Sears Charleston V

This photo shows the first Sears retail store in 1929 at 145 Summers
Street, which was directly to the right of the old Kearse Theater.

These three stores started life as catalog retailers.  You could sit in your farmhouse and order anything you needed, especially from Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Ward.  Those catalogs were cherished and looked forward too every year.  Soon however, the companies decided to build brick & mortar stores all across America.  Each still had a catalog section right in the store so you could order something they might not have.  Sears Roebuck (later shortened to just Sears, and Montgomery Ward (later shortened to just Wards)  were the number one and two retailers in the U.S.  

Sears Charleston WV

Sears did so well that by 1949,  they moved into their very large new building at the corner of Kanawha Blvd and Clendenin Streets.  This is the store that most people alive today still remember, and they all agree that they liked this store much better than the Mall, which Sears moved into in 1983.  

Sears Charleston WV

On Dec 28, 2016, Sears announced that they would close theTown Center Mall location  permanently by April of 2017.


Montgomery Ward Charleston WV

Montgomery Ward opened their store next to the new Daniel Boone Hotel on Washington Street just off Capitol, in 1928.  Ward's had only opened their first store of this type in the previous year in Marysville Kansas, with a population of only 5000, so Charleston was on the ground floor of the business.

As Sears main competitor, Wards did a great job of always trying to beat Sears.  I personally preferred Wards to Sears, mostly because Wards was close to my house and I loved all the manly-man stuff in the basement when I was young.

Wards, becoming very popular also expanded, this time adding on to the building above.  This addition took Wards all the way to Summers Street.  They had their automotive service across the street on Washington St.  



J.C. Penny

J.C. Penny at  112-114 Capitol Street which opened at this location in 1935

I always thought it ironic that J.C. stood for James Cash.  James Cash Penny.  Perfect!

J.C Penny

This new J.C. Penny opened May the 1st, 1958 on Capitol Street across from The Diamond.
At the time, Penny's had 11 other stores in WV and 1700 in the U.S.

J.C. Penny 1958

J.C. Penny announcing the grand opening of their new store in 1958 at Capitol & Washington Streets.

J.C. Penny

In the background are three major stores:  The Diamond - J.C.Penny- Wards Automotive


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