1940 Sears Building
2224 Broadway opened its doors for the first time on October 17, 1940 as an “Ultra-modern” Sears. According to the Galveston Daily News, the new store would be “…one of the super-stores of the entire Sears Setup…modern in every detail and the model for subsequent stores to be erected for the concern.” The architects were Zimmerman & Morgan of Longview, with R.R. Rapp, associate architect and native Galvestonian, as supervising architect for the project. Built for approximately $100,000, it extended 120 ft. on 23rd and 100 ft. on Broadway. In addition to sponsoring a local architect, on opening day Sears promoted a Southern Industrialization sale emphasizing merchandise manufactures in the South. Supporting Southern products and companies was a common practice of the Sears & Roebuck Company at this time.
After nine years of service, the store was remodeled and “modernized” in 1949, by turning it windowless and expanding the building to 160 ft. on 23rd and 120 ft. on Broadway. They also added air conditioning, a new credit store, and reorganized the show floors: the furniture department, workshops, and music section are on the second floor; offices, girl’s teenage fashion, and a credit store on the mezzanine; and men’s and infant clothing, shoes, electronics, and sporting goods on the first floor. Again, this store interior was to be used as a model for new Sears’ buildings in customer convenience and appeal. The architect who helped with the remodel was Bartlett Cocke of San Antonio. However, on February 20, 1969, after 29 years of business at 2224 Broadway, Sears closed its doors and moved to its new location at the newly constructed Galvez Mall site.
The next business to open in the building, on November 13, 1969, was United Distributors and Jewelers, jewelry and imports store. Similar in operation, United offered such goods as jewelry, fishing equipment, sporting goods, and home décor. United served Galveston for five years at this location, and in 1974 they too closed down.
The building remained vacant for approximately one year, when in late 1975 Fred F. Hunter, a printer and office supply company, moved into what was then listed as 2228 Broadway. This represents an address change for the building, where both 2224 and 2228 appear in the City Directories. The building designation was either split into sections or renumbered. His store remained in operation until sometime between the years 1982 and 1983. In 1983 the building was put up for sale in the newspaper, still listed as Sears at 2228 Broadway. It was finally purchased by the Salvation Army in 1985, now listed as 2222 Broadway, which began its groundbreaking renovations May of 1986. Ultimately, for many years, this building represented a distinct and visible landmark along Broadway, one which local islanders remember to this day.
Today, the Sears Building is home to Galveston Historical Foundation's Preservation Resource Center, the Center for Coastal Heritage, and the Architectural Salvage Warehouse. Preservation and Conservation staff are on site and available Monday thru Friday, and the Architectural Salvage Warehouse is open for business Wednesday thru Saturday, 9am - 4pm.
The Architectural Salvage Warehouse
The Architectural Salvage Warehouse (ASW) is located on the first floor of the 1940 Sears Building located at the intersection of 23rd and Broadway. ASW sells historic building materials for the repair, rehabilitation, and preservation of Galveston’s built environment. All proceeds from the warehouse go towards operating funds for Galveston Historical Foundation Preservation and Conservation.
When searching for a particular item, it is best to check in often because new donations are frequently received.
Have resources to donate?
The Architectural Salvage Warehouse always accepts donations of surplus historic materials. Donations can be dropped off during regular business hours Wednesday – Saturday, 9AM – 4PM, or arrangements for a pick-ups by contacting Craig Cahill at 409-750-9108 or email@example.com.
GHF is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization, and all donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
Hours of Operation
Galveston Historical Foundation:
Monday thru Friday: 10am - 5pm
Architectural Salvage Warehouse:
Wednesday – Saturday: 9am - 4pm
Note: Hours may be seasonal and subject to change.