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HF Preservation and Conservation advances the preservation and revitalization of Galveston’s historic neighborhoods, buildings, and cultural resources.  We work to further GHF’s mission of preserving through research, education, outreach, and advocacy.

We encourage new construction that is sensitive to the island’s existing buildings and neighborhoods.  As Galveston’s historic districts have illustrated, the preservation of our heritage has a positive economic impact. In the fall of 2012, Preservation and Conservation relocated to the historic 1940 Sears and Roebuck building located at 2228 Broadway.

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224 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.

Sources:
Galveston Daily News March 1, 1940
Galveston Daily News October 17, 1940
Galveston Daily News March 10, 1969