Montgomery Ward


Like other downtown Huntington Businesses on 3rd. Avenue, Montgomery Ward was
inundated by the record-setting 1937 flood.  Note; the U.S. Coast Guard boat tied
 upat the corner store. This photo was taken after the Floodwaters had
receded quite a bit.


HUNTINGTON  In 1872, Aaron Montgomery Ward, a traveling dry goods salesman,
 started selling to farmers by mail through a one-page catalog list. By inventing the
 general merchandise mail-order catalog, Ward could keep prices low through
bypassing the middlemen, like small-town shopkeepers
 and itinerant salesmen.

By 1883, the company's catalog, which became popularly known as the "Wish Book,
" had grown to 240 pages and 10,000 items. In 1896, Wards encountered its
first serious competition in the mail-order business, when Richard
 Warren Sears introduced his first general catalog.

In 1926, the company broke with its mail-order-only tradition when it opened
its first retail store in Plymouth, Indiana. It continued to operate its catalog
 business while pursuing an aggressive campaign to build retail outlets
in the late-1920s. In 1928, two years after opening its first outlet,
it had opened 244 stores. By 1929, it had more than
doubled its number of stores, to 531.

In 1931, after the Huntington Theater closed, Montgomery Ward opened a store
 in the former theater building. Located on the southeast corner of 3rd
Avenue and 8th Street, the building had been built as
 the Davis Opera House in 1884.

Like other downtown businesses on 3rd Avenue, Montgomery Ward was
inundated by the record-setting 1937 flood. Its employees sold boots,
 flashlights and other items to eager customers who rowed their
 boats up to the store's second-floor windows.

Montgomery Ward struggled financially in the years following
World II and was forced to begin closing some of its stores.

The Huntington store was closed in 1960. Manager Larry Morris said the
store had employed 71 workers. The following year saw the Bazaar
 discount store open in the former Montgomery Ward location.
Today, three popular places to eat  Peace, Love & Little
Donuts, HWY 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries and
Charlie Graingers, a specialty hotdog
 restaurant share the space.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Nov. 12, 2018.


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