Friday, May 29, 2009

Up Six Degrees

We just returned from a matinee showing of the Disney-Pixar film Up and enjoyed it so much we needed a connection to Harzfeld's to justify a post. We found six degrees of separation through Oracle of Bacon. Ed Asner, the voice of Carl, was in the movie Gus (1976) as Hank Cooper, the owner of a losing professional football team. Jeanne Bates played a nurse in the same film. Ms. Bates played, yes, a nurse, in the film Paula (1952) which starred Loretta Young as Paula Rogers. Loretta was a loyal customer of Harzfeld's of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the late '70s and early '80s.

That was fun, and so is the film. Although it does have some touching moments (Michele may have teared up), it's very sweet. We sat close to the screen to compensate for not seeing it in 3D. By the way, Ed Asner's hometown is Kansas City, but that would have been too easy.

Art Department 1950

We have quite a few images that have some unidentified individuals. This shot was taken by Erasmus Beall of his staff. A huge thanks to "Mac" for providing it. Please let us know if you can help us with any of the names.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

fun glasses

Summer's not far away, so while sifting through some of the old ads, we found this and thought it would be fun to share. It's from the Sunday, February 25, 1968 issue of The Kansas City Star.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


One of the couture lines from our research is irene. Harzfeld's offered fashions by a number of west coast designers, including those of Irene Lentz. We're excited to have found a site by her great-niece, Karlyn. The site also includes information by an author drafting a book on her life and career. (

Can you help us identify the model in this photo? Let us know.

Ervin D. Green, Photographer

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Creative Instigator

We have a friend. Her name is Jan. She has a blog called Creative Instigation.

Oh, if we could only put together words the way Jan does. She's a great inspiration and source of encouragement in moving forward with this blog and our manuscript. Michele and I have worked with her for many years going back to the early '90s at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. We are lucky to continue to cross paths professionally from time to time.

We don't have many words to paper for the book. Writing is not our area of expertise, but we're excited about the history of Harzfeld's and hope that will translate to the page. Our current focus is gathering around 75 images for the book. We have an outline and a few paragraphs started, but there's a great deal of work that needs to be done to complete the manuscript by the middle of August. Jan's posts are inspiring and continue to help us in focusing our energies.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Corinth Square

The next time you're filling your prescription at the Corinth Square CVS, check out the "H" door pulls. They're great reminders, along with windows trimmed in antique verde marble, of the this great suburban location of the specialty store.

Michele and I commend CVS for preserving the mid-century exterior of their 75th and Metcalf location. We continue to lose the original character of many of our mid-century communities to currently favored pseudo-mission style.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Petticoat Lane, Now

We shot this last month. Actually, it's a composite of nine different shots. In the ’80s when the facade of the Harzfeld's building was saved by the Town Pavilion development, sky-walks bridging the intersection were put in place. This makes the iconic view difficult to obtain. We shot from the skywalk and brought the multiple shots together in PhotoShop. We may try again from a higher vantage point.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Petticoat Lane, Then

One of Kansas City's well-known scenes is that of Petticoat Lane, a portion of 11th Street. The most common vantage point was shot looking east from Main Street, which graced many postcards.

Shortly after Harzfeld's took its place on the famous street in 1913 (far right in top two scenes), it marketed and trademarked the Petticoat Lane name. It became one of their labels for clothing and perfume. An illustration of a view similar to the later views from above was used on ads, packaging and handkerchiefs.

We'll soon post an image of what Petticoat Lane looks like today.

Dates on illustration are approximate.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It Is Never Too Late

Saturday we met a super nice guy, Warren Dalton, 91, of Columbia, Missouri. He started selling shoes for the Harzfeld's Columbia location in February of 1938. Warren shared stories and told us he met with Sieg Harzfeld and Lester Siegel Sr. at the downtown store in Kansas City.

We met Warren at a great little place called Kayotea for a nice lunch and chat. We recommend the honeybush orange herbal tea to go with your meal.

He currently writes articles focused on regional history for the Columbia Tribune.

In his book, It Is Never Too Late, he shares stories of his life, love, health & daily regimens.