Mindwarp: Kresge’s

Is there anything more iconic of the American main street than the five-and-dime? In Philadelphia, every major avenue–from Broad Street to Point Breeze Avenue–boasted at least one. The most popular chain was Woolworth’s. But close behind in Philadelphia was Kresge’s.

The first S. S. Kresge store was opened 1897 by Sebastian Spering Kresge, a traveling salesman who sold to Frank Woolworth’s stores. The Kresge chain grew rapidly and by 1929 there were 597 stores. A few years before Kresge’s death in 1966, he and the company’s president opened a new store: K-Mart. The last Kresge stores in the US closed in the mid-1980s.

While the Philadelphia stores themselves are gone, many of the buildings remain and the majority stand relatively intact. Before browsing the pictures that appear below, I encourage you to download the music that greeted customers in the early 1960s. The music, which was salvaged from a demolished store, can be found HERE.

Click on the blue dot to see the thumbnail photo and address. Have a picture of an old Kresge store not on the map? Send it to us and we’ll add it to the list.


View Former Kresge stores in Philly in a larger map

About the author

Rachel Hildebrandt, a recent graduate of PennDesign, is a native Philadelphian who is passionate about the changing city she inhabits. Before beginning her graduate studies in historic preservation with a focus on policy, Rachel obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College and co-authored two books, The Philadelphia Area Architecture of Horace Trumbauer (2009) and Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan (2011). She currently works as a program associate at Partners for Sacred Places.



1 Comment


  1. Very interesting. I’ve noticed the Kresge name on some of these places but never knew the history of it.

Trackbacks

  1. Hidden City | victorianvanities.org Blog
Recent Posts
Wary Neighbors Keep A Watchful Eye On Threatened Kenworthy House

Wary Neighbors Keep A Watchful Eye On Threatened Kenworthy House

October 1, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Developer received stop-work order from L&I, a slow year in Center City office space deals, 13th & South development news, and Rodin Square construction begins today > more

My Favorite Place: Carman Garden Skating Rink

My Favorite Place: Carman Garden Skating Rink

September 30, 2014  |  My Favorite Place

Take a peek inside Carmen Gardens, where we'll be celebrating the Hidden City Daily's third anniversary this Friday, October 3rd > more

Demolition of Fishtown’s St. Laurentius More And More Likely

Demolition of Fishtown’s St. Laurentius More And More Likely

September 30, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Chaput decertifies Polish church, how to connect The Circuit, residences coming to 36th & Market Science Center project, and City Council reportedly mulling over selling PGW > more

The Legend Of Midtown Village

The Legend Of Midtown Village

September 29, 2014  |  The Shadow Knows

Chemistry labs, karate, puppet theater, and a prostitution ring? The Shadow strikes again! This week we hear about the Guilded Age real estate mogul Felix Isman and his bay-windowed beauty at 13th and Sansom > more

A Councilman And An Army Of Volunteers Clean Up The Delaware Riverbank

A Councilman And An Army Of Volunteers Clean Up The Delaware Riverbank

September 29, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Over three tons removed from Delaware River, scaffolding goes up around Lit Bros., a petition for better development at Clark Park, and four new homes in Roxborough > more

National Liberty Museum Hopes To Inspire An Appreciation For Freedom

National Liberty Museum Hopes To Inspire An Appreciation For Freedom

September 26, 2014  |  Morning Blend

The National Liberty Museum updates its exhibitions, AAA claims vested rights for Pennsport project, Google to drop “Temple Town” designation, and some surprise storm water management work next to Dickinson Square Park > more