The dynamic of neighborhood change sometimes injects a note of variety, or even whimsy, into a streetscape. We ran across what we think is an example of the latter recently. Might this fellow be a character from Shakespeare, or a grand Italian opera? Or maybe he represents a certain style of historical dress, one consistent with the architecture of the building he graces, which itself stands out amidst its row. Where is this building?
Answer next week.
Last week’s Hidden Treasure Hunt answer: One reader did recognize the name on the building we showed you last week: it was an S. S. Kresge Co. store. Kresge was a rival of F. W. Woolworth Co. in the five-and-dime business, and its stores could often be found close by Woolworth locations in neighborhood business districts like the one where this store is located. Founded in 1899 and headquartered in Detroit, Kresge was one of the first companies to venture into discount department store territory; it opened its first Kmart in Garden City, Mich., in 1962. Like retailer Dayton Hudson would some years later, it eventually changed the company name to that of its discount store division, renaming itself Kmart Corporation in 1977. In 2004, the company, recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, acquired another American retailing icon, Sears, took the name of its new acquisition and moved its headquarters to Sears’ home of Hoffman Estates, Ill., outside Chicago. The retailer, now known as Sears Holdings, continues to struggle to find a winning retail formula today.
That reader put the store in the wrong neighborhood, though: this particular former Kresge store is in the 2800 block of West Girard Avenue in Brewerytown. Others like it survive across the city.
Photos by the author