Sunday, August 30, 2009

Seidenbach's of Tulsa Exhibit

Our friend Paul from Tulsa just emailed to inform us of an exhibit, currently on display at The Tulsa Historical Society. Its focus is Seidenbach's, started by Siegmund Harzfeld's nephew, Joseph Leslie Seidenbach. After learning the ropes of retail at Harzfeld's, Joseph moved to Tulsa and opened his store after a visit in 1916. "Seidenbach's New Store", an impressive Gothic style building was erected at 413-415 South Main in 1927 . Sadly, it was raised after the store closed in the mid-1960s.

Image courtesy of Beryl Ford Collection, Tulsa City-County Library.

The exhibit runs now through January 31, 2010 at the Tulsa Historical Society, 2445 South Peoria. Visit their facebook site, while their permanent site is under construction.

Tulsa World review of exhibit

Garfinckel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoads took over Harzfeld's in 1972 and Gus Meyer locations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City in 1973. The Gus Meyer locations were converted to Harzfeld's in 1974 and were kept in operation until the closing of the Harzfeld's stores by Allied in '84. We know very little about the two Oklahoma locations. We welcome any information you may have.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oread Inn

The boutique sized location of Harzfelds in Lawrence, Kansas, which closed in the '50s, will now be the site of the Oread Inn, opening in 2010.

On the Hill in Lawrence, Kansas April 30 post

Monday, August 24, 2009

Do you know?

As we wrap some things up for the book, we're still hoping to find information on a few items. Maybe you know...

Do you know about the SSA, Specialty Stores Association? It was a group of about 14 or so specialty stores the partnered and had offices on the coasts... we know they were around in 1940 and as late as 1961. Any additional information is welcome. Update: The SSA was started in 1921. We've found more information from newspaper accounts that we will share in a future post.

A reliable source tells us that Marilyn Monroe's voice was recorded and used to announce the floors you arrived on from the Plaza store elevators. Does anyone remember this? Can you confirm that it was indeed Marilyn?

Thanks much.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ari, Stay Fearless!

Sorry things ended so soon.
Best to you and for your designs.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Petticoat Lane & Main

Here's a shot circa 1940 of the downtown Harzfeld's, designed by architect John McKecknie in 1913. Now part of the Town Pavilion, it's at Petticoat Lane and Main in Kansas City.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hand Script by Ras

There are items we're "saving" for the book, but sometimes we can't hold back. This past Sunday, we visited our friend Mac at the River Market Antique Mall. He worked for Erasmus (Ras) Beall back in the day. Ras effortlessly wrote out his beautiful script lettering for Mac to emulate in his display work. Mac was kind enough to share this with us to reproduce in our book. Here is a detail sampling from the sheet.

Maybe next month, after our manuscript is with the publisher, we'll figure out how to directly display and respond to your very appreciated comments. There are also many follow-ups to earlier posts that will be coming.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ari on the Runway

Congratulations to Ari Fish of Kansas City for landing a spot on Project Runway, which debuts August 20 on Lifetime.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Help with your bags

I recently purchased four contemporary Fiesta dinnerware mixing bowl sets on an incredible clearance deal at a mall in Denver. Instead of making multiple trips, I was given a couple versions of the device above (although the wood portion was made of plastic). I "manned up" and made the trip through the mall balancing a dozen heavy pottery bowls. These things work. Although I was pretty exhausted when I got to my car, there were no blisters or cuts on my hands.

We were surprised to see a Harzfeld's branded version of the bags holder last week in the collection of Gary and Elaine Kabrick. They invited Michele and I for a visit, along with Gary's brother, Arthur, and his wife, Karon. We had a great time learning about the brothers' parents, who met at Harzfeld's in the late '20s. Their great aunt also worked at Harzfeld's. We heard some stories and saw some wonderful ephemera, including many Holiday cards sent from the store's long time president, Lester Siegel Sr. More on our visit in the future.

We may be posting only once a week for a while as our manuscript for Harzfeld's: A Brief History has a deadline coming soon. If all goes well, the book will be available before the end of the year.