Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring, 2009 Page: 7
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tion of sales that Dallas businessmen eagerly
adopted and advertised to their customers.8
During WorldWar II the store's ads featured
a Rosie the Riveter-like image to encourage
Dallas women with offers of layaway plans and
divided payment accounts to stretch their dollar
further. In 1947 Kahn's proudly advertised its
75th anniversary and its affiliation with Stetson
Hats since its earliest years. The store had grown
so large that it had display windows on Elm,
Lamar, and Main Streets.9 That store was razed in
early 1969 to make room for Two Main Place, a
planned extension of One Main Place that never
happened. To raise capital for future expansion,
the family agreed to a 1969 merger with a New
York firm, but it did not work out as planned.
Despite having five branch stores in the suburbs,
by 1979 the store that had served five genera-
tions of customers was closed. The downtown
E.M. Kahn store had lasted 107 years.10
hile E.M. Kahn apparently got to Dallas first,
three of the four Sanger brothers were close
behind him. They had already opened a series of
stores in communities as the Houston & Texas
Central Railroad built northward: Bryan,
Hearne, Calvert, Kosse, Bremond, Groesbeck,
and Corsicana. They had also established a good
reputation as businessmen. As the H&TC built
toward Dallas from Corsicana in early 1872,Alex
Sanger checked out Dallas. He must have liked
what he saw, for brothers Lehman and Philip
Sanger arrived shortly after to rent a place in
anticipation of the arrival of the railroad. Alex
was put in charge of transferring goods from the
Corsicana store to Dallas before the train
steamed into Dallas in mid-July 1872. He
became manager of the Dallas Sanger Brothers
establishment when it opened on the court-
house square shortly after the train arrived.11 It
would not be considered much of a store at first
glance by one fellow: J.W Campbell, a freight
hauler who had brought the merchandise from
Corsicana for Alex Sanger, told his daughter the
building was "part wooden frame and part
tent."12 But one of those 1872 customers
thought it was something special, as she wrote
We lived in Lancaster when I was just a
growing girl and came over to Dallas to shop
at Sangers. Dallas at that time was a mere
spot on the horizon. Afew houses and stores.
We felt as though we had been in a city when
we came to Sanger's and met the gracious
gentlemen at the door. The small store alone
was a bright spot, full of beautiful things,
regardless of the fact that it was one room
with a stepdown to the division dividing
womens [sic] articles from mens [sic] wear.
There were no walls-no concrete--just the
Within a year Sanger Brothers had moved
two blocks east to the corner of Elm and Lamar
where it built a 10,000-square-foot building.
With that move it became the largest retail busi-
ness in the state overnight. The store had a top-
hatted greeter named George Eubanks who
assisted the ladies from their wagons and drove
the wagons to the closest hitching post."4 He was
a forerunner of today's valet parking.
The store introduced both technological
and social revolutions to the field of merchandis-
ing in the years before the turn of the century:
1879: Hired the first woman clerk and
offered free home delivery
1881: Became the first business in Dallas to
install telephones-six of them
1882: Installed electric lights in the store,
although Mayer's Beer Garden got them at the
same time, with both claiming to have the first
1889: Produced Sanger Brothers Monthly
Magazine, devoted to "Fashion, Literature, Art
and Home Comfort," priced at five cents/issue
or fifty cents/year
Sanger's continued to expand its store and
bring innovations to the buying public into the
early twentieth century. In 1911 it installed the
first "moving stairway" in the Southwest.15 In
1919 it used a biplane to fly a package to its
Waco store. By the end of World War I the
Spring 2009 LEGACIES 7
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Dallas Heritage Village. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring, 2009, periodical, 2009; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth66966/m1/9/: accessed April 22, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.