S.H. Kress and Co. (1620-1626 E. 7th)
Built in 1913, as a Kress Co. store, this 3-story blond brick building reflects the popular commercial style of its period of construction. Brick pilasters and string courses decorate the
facade. Egg-and-dart molding appears at the cornice. A stepped parapet bear the “Kress” name. The Kress Co. store expanded into the first floor of an adjacent structure built sometime between 1903 and 1915.
Other Contributers: Burgert Brothers -- Photographer
Other Contributers: Burgert Brothers — Photographer
S. H. Kress & Co. was the trading name of a chain of “five and dime” retail department stores in the United States, which operated from 1896 to 1981.
Samuel H. Kress opened his first “stationery and notions” store in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania in 1887. The chain of S. H. Kress & Co. 5-10-25 Cent Stores was established in 1896. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century Kress stores were a familiar sight on “Main Street” in hundreds of cities and towns.
In 1964 Genesco, Inc. acquired ownership of Kress. The company abandoned its center-city stores and moved to the shopping malls. Genesco began liquidating Kress and closing down the Kress stores in 1980.
Tiendas Kress, the subsidiary chain in Puerto Rico, survived the parent company and is still in business there. The Kress Foundation, a philanthropic organization promoting art, was es
The company’s exclusion of African Americans from its lunch counters made Kress a target for civil rights protests during the 1960 lunch counter sit-ins, along with Woolworth’s, Rexall and other national chains. In Nashville, Tennessee, Kress repeatedly refused to serve the protesters but eventually agreed to integrate the downtown store in exchange for ending a consumer boycott. The Greensboro, North Carolina Kress was included in the first civil rights demonstrations in the South. The Kress building in Baton Rouge was the site of that city’s first civil rights sit-in, which event helped save it from the wrecking ball 45 years later.
In the 1920s and 1930s Kress sold a house label of phonograph records under the “Romeo Records” trademark.