A year ago almost to the day, I wrote in this space: "Hey Sears: I passed your East 79th Street store a few days ago. From the front, I couldn't tell if the store was open or closed..."
That was May 8, 2012. There's no wondering anymore. "Store Closing Sale" signs have now appeared in the window of the Sears department store, 1334 E. 79th St. Built in 1925, the long, two-story beige brick building with an iconic tower that can been seen for blocks is set to close in July. Designed from plans by architect George C. Nimmons, the store has been a fixture for almost 90 years.
In addition to the 79th Street store in the above photo, the Sears at 62nd and Western, built in 1928 in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood will also close. The two establishments are among the oldest stand-alone department stores Sears built, representing the retailer's expansion from a purely mail-order house--a World War I-era Amazon.com--to a 20th century retail giant. Sears' first stand-alone department store, built in 1925 at 1900 W. Lawrence, will remain open.