Samuel Kress founded S.H. Kress & Co. in 1896 and developed five-and-dime stores nationwide. Kress was an avid art collector and took pride in creating beautiful buildings, such as the one built in 1910 in downtown Salisbury.

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Kress Plaza History

Samuel Kress founded S.H. Kress & Co. in 1896 and developed five-and-dime stores nationwide. Kress was an avid art collector and took pride in creating beautiful buildings, such as the one built in 1910 in downtown Salisbury.

 

S.H. Kress and Co. opened in Salisbury on September 17, 1910 at 300 South Main Street. The first Kress store was opened in Memphis, TN. Founded by Samuel Kress in 1896, S. H. Kress & Co. became a prominent five-and-dime chain known for its abundance of reasonably priced merchandise, as well as for its beautiful buildings located in the downtown districts of cities across the country. The Kress company's strong commitment to architectural excellence led it to form its own architectural division, charged with overseeing all aspects of store design.
Samuel Kress was a collector of fine art, who took great pride in his company's buildings. He viewed his stores as architectural gifts to the communities in which they were located. Known for erecting expensive buildings and using the finest materials, Kress constructed stores that were typically more elaborate than those of its competitors. During the Depression, Kress took advantage of falling labor and construction prices to build some of its most elaborate buildings, called "superstores."

 

As main street preservation programs took hold in the early 1980s, determined activists who recognized the value of protecting early commercial architecture saved Kress buildings, along with other older structures vulnerable to demolition. Many of the stores have been reused as offices, restaurants, and retail shops, furthering the purposes of downtown revitalization. Because of these efforts, the architectural heritage of S. H. Kress & Co. can still be seen today on main streets across America.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 September 2009 15:43