When walking up to a store, you quickly form a first impression. If the store looks old, you may decide it's out of touch or that it has a long history. If it looks new, it could be considered fresh and modern. Storefronts are reflections of the times in which they were first built, renovated, and quite possibly destroyed as well. Through the photos in this exhibit, you can see how some of these storefronts have changed, in some cases dramatically, over time.
This picture comes from a post card sold by the Boston Store and proudly displays its "new parkade" on South Franklin Street, as well as the Boston Store basement. The Buick Roadmaster in the shot helps us to date this image to the 1950s.
In 1893, the employees of the Fowler, Dick and Walker Boston Store posed beneath the store's mural of George Washington and Christopher Columbus for a group photo. The Boston Store was founded in 1878, suggesting that this photo was part of its 15th anniversary festivities.
The Simon Long Clothing Store, originally on South Main Street, was one of many stores operated by members of the extended Long family, including Isaac and Jonas Long who would go on to found the Isaac Long store and the Jonas Long store, respectively.
Pomeroy's Victorian-style storefront, seen in this photo, remained in place until the mid-1900s and was then covered by an aluminum facade that suited the style of the 1950s and 1960s. Pomeroy's was once the Jonas Long store, founded in 1860. It was rebranded in 1927.
Pomeroy's continued operating until June 30, 1982, when the lease expired and it was turned over to the city of Wilkes-Barre to become the home of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, which is still located there today.
Pomeroy's mid-century aluminum facade was a focal point of Public Square, as seen in this 1962 photo. What other landmarks stand out on Public Square?
This photo of the beloved Percy Brown's store and resturant was taken in 1960, fifty years after the store was founded in 1910. The building was demolished in 1993, and now Movies 14 and a parking lot occupy the space.
While the focal point of the photo is the Bicentennial Parade in 1969, it also documents some of the stores in downtown Wilkes-Barre at the time. You can see the Isaac Long store, Walker's Shoes, Triangle Shoes, and GAC Loans.
Another view of Public Square from the mid-1900s shows S.S. Kresge Co., Isaac Long's, Walter's Shoes, and Miner's Bank in the background. S.S. Kresge, which was founded in 1897, would evolve into the Kmart department store chain in the 1960s. The Kresge store on Public Square opened in 1955.
The Neisner Brothers' Store, which was located at 41-47 South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, opened on August 15th, 1925. It was neighbored by the Paris Corset Shop and Gartmans Womens Wear.
This Fowler, Dick and Walker sign dates to the 1930s or 1940s. It lights up to attract attention.
This Fowler, Dick and Walker Boston Store sign is shaped like Pennsylvania. It was made in the 1960s.