Yesteryear: Sears Building
by Pat Sides
The stately red brick building at Fourth and Sycamore streets, pictured here in the early 1960s, has been a presence in the downtown business district since it was built in 1920. It was originally occupied by a hardware store and named after its builder, Col. William H. McCurdy, who also constructed the hotel that bears his name. In 1925, Sears, Roebuck & Co. became the new tenant, making the site the company’s first retail store outside of Chicago. For decades, the Evansville store was a major destination for local shoppers, selling a dazzling array of products. Competition from new suburban shopping centers prompted the downtown store to close its doors in 1975; the building was entered in the National Register of Historic Places four years later.