Built In 150 Days

August 26, 1927

Judging from the publicity in advance of the event — the previous day’s editions carried 11 stories on its front page — the opening of Sears Roebuck at Crosstown was a major moment. The 17-story, $5 million retail and mail-order plant employed 1,000, had its own four-bed hospital ward, and transformed the Crosstown neighborhood. Even a new rail line spur connected the store to the main line so inventory could flow in and mail orders flow out.

Amid all the pageantry, Sears officials worried Memphis consumers wouldn’t understand this was more than a mail-order plant; it was a full retail store where customers could inspect goods and purchase them on site.

One small bit of Memphis trivia is born out in the pages of pre-opening publicity: It took only 150 days the construct the cavernous building.

One other fact: 47,000 people passed through the doors on opening day.