Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Brief Look at Abilene's Historic Buildings: the Duckwall Bros. Racket Store

The Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum recently featured the exhibit City on the Plains: A Look at Abilene Architecture. The following is a brief look at Abilene's Duckwall Bros. Racket Store. (Photograph courtesy of the Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum.)

This particular photo was taken in 1912 and features Santa Claus making his debut outside the Duckwall Bros. Racket Store.

On May 10, 1901, a small general store was opened on the west side of Broadway Street.  Just a few short years later, Duckwall Bros. Racket Store moved to their new location across the street (where the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle office is located today).  Also known as a five and dime store, this Duckwall Bros. store had a long history in Abilene.  In some of Bill Jeffcoat's writings from the 1950s, he mentions that downtown Abilene was a bustling place to visit on Saturday nights.  The stores would be packed with customers buying products and getting a bite to eat at a lunch counter, all while children ran around the aisles, often unattended.  Of course, while this particular Duckwall store is no longer in operation, the company has maintained a presence not only in Abilene, but in twenty-three states.  Known as ALCO Stores, the company has over two hundred store locations.


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  2. Duckwall's brings back many memories. I worked in their retail store about 3 or 4 years while I was in highschool. (1952-1956) Saturdays during the school year and every day during summer vacation. Wonderful job to meet new friends and earn money to buy school clothes each fall. It saddens me when I return to Abilene and the store is no longer there.
    Barbara Buhrer Shelton