Saturday, December 25, 2004

The Belk Archive

LiveMalls is pleased to present The Belk Archive, a tribute to America's largest family-owned department store company, Belk, Inc.

The first LiveMalls post was a Belk department store, and pictures of the company's stores have helped form the backbone of LiveMalls.

The Belk Archive would not be possible without the generous contributions of Patrick Richardson, who gave LiveMalls exclusive access to his extensive collection of Belk photos and memorabilia. I thank Pat for his help to provide the internet with a unsurpassed collection of all things Belk. Please check this page regularly, as I will be adding more memorabilia as I receive it.

A final note: this archive is neither sponsored or endorsed by Belk, Inc. or its subsidiaries. I do hope that they are honored and not offended, because it's all done out of love for their company.
Belk logos from 1967 (left), 2007 (center) and 2010 (right)

The current Belk logo first appeared in October 2010.

This version of the Belk logo first appeared in 2007 and was replaced in October 2010.

This classic Belk logo first appeared in 1967 and was replaced in 2007.
Display World magazine; June 1968.

Display World magazine; June 1968

An employee photo outside Belk in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, circa 1910. (Pat Richardson)

Parks-Belk Co., Kannapolis, North Carolina. Postcard view (store at left), circa 1920. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

An interesting photo of William Henry Belk (left) meeting with James Cash (J.C.) Penney from February 17, 1950. W.H. Belk said they were "friends first, then competitors occasionally." (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Monroe, North Carolina. circa 1955. (Belk, Inc.)

Belk, Monroe, North Carolina. A typical shopping scene from the 1950s. (Courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk-Harry, Salisbury, North Carolina. Newspaper advertisement, circa 1930s. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Monroe, North Carolina. Harvest Sale w/ William Henry Belk enjoying the proceedings, 1950. (Courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Belmont, North Carlina. Exterior view, sometime in the 1950s. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk-Gallant, downtown Newnan, Georgia. Christmas toy display (with Belks "Big Boy" wagons!), 1954. (Pat Richardson)

Belk-Tyler, downtown Ahoskie, North Carolina. Store employees welcome Santa, 1955. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Clarksville, Tennessee. Washington's Day Sale, 1958. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Monroe, North Carolina. Remodeled exterior, sometime in the late 1950s. (Courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk Corporate Headquarters, Charlotte, North Carolina. Womenswear vendor doing a presentation for buyers during the 1960s. (Photo courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Pattern Room, circa 1960s. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Grand Champion Steer on the main floor, circa 1960s. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Music department, circa 1960s. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Leesburg, Florida. Christmas display with live deer, circa 1960s. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. "Subteens" department, circa 1950s. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Juniors department, 1960 (Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Window display, 1954 (Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Hickory, North Carolina. Harvest Sale window display, 1954. You gotta love the canned veggies along the bottom (Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Asheville, North Carolina. Harvest Founder's Day Sale window display, 1954. William Henry Belk, company founder, is the man in the portrait (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1962. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, 1962. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Institutional advertisement, 1966. (courtesy of Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. View of columns and display windows, 1966. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Aerial view of exterior fa├žade on Tryon Street with wall sign on former Efird's building, 1966. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

A Belk measuring glass from the late 1960s with the company logo and slogan on the side. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, SouthPark mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Artist's rendering of proposed Sharon Road facade, 1969. (courtesy of Pat Richardson)

A postcard from Belk in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, circa 1970. (Pat Richardson)

Early 1970s Belk advertisement, Charlotte, North Carolina. FabricFair was Belk's chain of specialty fabric stores. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Easter ad, 1970 (courtesy Pat Richardson.)

Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Exterior entrance with lighted roof sign, circa 1974 (courtesy Pat Richardson)

How about a gas station at Belk? This is a photo from the "Belko" service station at Belk, Parkhill Mall, Tarboro, North Carolina, circa 1975. You could even use your Belk/Leggett charge to fill your gas tank. (Pat Richardson)

Belk Budget Store & Belk II, Charlotte, North Carolina. newspaper advertisement, May 1976. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Print advertisement, July 4, 1976. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

Late 1970s Belk bag

Belk Beery, Independence Mall, Wilmington, North Carolina. Exterior entrance, circa 1979. (Gordon Schenck)

Belk-Beery, Independence Mall, Wilmington, North Carolina. Escalator well, July 1979. These pictures were taken the week before the store opened. The escalator well featured a glass-sided elevator -- framed by antique brick, marble, and wrought iron -- in the style of the antebellum houses in Wilmington. (Pat Richardson)

Belk-Harry, Salisbury, North Carolina, circa 1980. (Pat Richardson)

Belk FabricFair, Salisbury, North Carolina, circa 1980. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carlina. Print advertisement 1986. (courtesy Pat Richardson)

To celebrate Belk's 100th Anniversary in 1988, associates received a special birthday card which featured a unique collage featuring memorabilia from Belk and Leggett’s' first 100 years in business. Above is the outside and inside of the card. (Pat Richardson)

To celebrate Belk's 100th Anniversary in 1988, a unique collage featuring memorabilia from Belk and Leggett’s' first 100 years in business was created. Here is a diagram of some of the items on the collage. (Courtesy Pat Richardson)

An original hang-tag banner celebrating Belk's 100th anniversary.

>Belk-Yates, Thomasville, North Carolina. Changing the lights in the Belk "B", 1988. (Pat Richardson)

Matthews Belk, Eastridge Mall, Gastonia, North Carolina. The California Raisins celebrating Belk's 100th Anniversary, October 1988. (Photo courtesy Pat Richardson)

Belk, Charlotte, North Carolina. Oprah Winfrey makes a benefit appearance for Belk on October 8, 1988 -- she even held a Belkie Bear! (Photo courtesy Pat Richardson)

former Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, during demolition, 1989. (Pat Richardson)

Leggett, downtown Hampton, Virginia, Summer 1989. Closing of the store (symbolized by the mannequins wearing the Leggett bags) -- the new Leggett had just opened at the Patrick Henry Mall and the downtown store was almost closed. (Pat Richardson)

Leggett (now Belk), Tanglewood Mall, Roanoke, Virginia, 1990. The store opened in 1973. (Virginia Film Office)

Picture inside one of the Belk Outlet Centers--Gastonia, NC from 1992 (note bag in front of picture). These would later merge with the Belk "Tags" stores -- these were a different division of Belk outlet stores. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, SouthPark mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Store employees on Level 2 trying to get the new addition of the store ready for business (note the areas in the back of the photo with the construction plastic--only about one-fourth of the new section was complete at the time). This is from Sept 2001. Frequent LiveMalls contributor Patrick Richardson is on the right. (Photo courtesy of Pat Richardson)

A t-shirt given to Belk employees to celebrate the completion of the remodel of Belk, SouthPark mall, Charlotte, North Carolina in 2002. The shirt was cortesy of the general contractor. (Pat Richardson)

Belk, SouthPark mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Mall entrance, circa 1995. (SouthPark mall)

Belk, SouthPark mall, Charlotte, North Carolina. Fairview Road exterior entrance at night, circa 2003 (courtesy Pat Richardson)

site of former Belk, downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Skywalk that used to lead into the store from the Overstreet Mall and a commemorative plaque on Trade Street, 2008. (Pat Richardson)

former Belk, Cannon Village, Kannapolis, North Carolina. Front view, June, 28, 2008. (photo by Pat Richardson)

former Belk, Cannon Village, Kannapolis, North Carolina. Rear view, June, 28, 2008. (photo by Pat Richardson)

Previously on LiveMallsBelk, Burlington Square, Burlington, North Carolina
Hudson Belk, Cary Towne Center, Cary, North Carolina
Belk, Eastland Mall, Charlotte, North Carolina
Belk, Northlake Mall, Charlotte, North Carolina
Belk, SouthPark mall, Charlotte, North Carolina
Hudson Belk, The Streets at Southpoint, Durham, North Carolina
Matthews Belk, Eastridge Mall, Gastonia, North Carolina

Belk, Four Seasons Town Centre, Greensboro, North Carolina
Belk, Oak Hollow Mall, High Point, North Carolina
Belk, Parkway Plaza, Lexington, North Carolina
Belk, Monroe Mall, Monroe, North Carolina
Hudson Belk, Crabtree Valley Mall, Raleigh, North Carolina
Hudson Belk, Triangle Town Center, Raleigh, North Carolina
Belk, Cleveland Mall, Shelby, North Carolina
Belk, Independence Mall, Wilmington, North Carolina
Belk, Hanes Mall, Winston Salem, North Carolina
Belk, Charlottesville Fashion Square, Charlottesville, Virginia

Belk, Piedmont Mall, Danville, Virginia
Belk, River Ridge Mall, Lynchburg, Virginia
Belk, Liberty Fair Mall, Martinsville, Virginia
Belk-Harry, Salisbury, North Carolina
Belk, Tanglewood Mall, Roanoke, Virginia
Belk, Valley View Mall, Roanoke, Virginia

23 comments:

  1. Your posts on the history of Belk are very interesting. Do they still operate a store in the downtown Charlotte area, or am I right in interpreting through your posts on Belk that they closed their downtown Charlotte store in the late 1980s?

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  2. Thanks for the compliments! Unfortunately, the Belk in downtown Charlotte closed in 1988. It was a big loss, and I'm betting they wished they had kept it, seeing as the area is experiencing a renaissance.

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  3. OK, I see then. Thanks for clarifying my question on the status of the (now former) downtown Charlotte Belk store, Stephen.

    -Allan

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  4. I am so grateful for your pictures of the downtown Charlotte Belk store. For years i have searched for a picture of that store. It was a key element of my childhood-- most all of our family shopping was done there, and going was always a treat. I'll never forget the fourth floor toy department. the bargain basement, and the snack bar. Thanks for a trip to the 1960s again, I'm very grateful.

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  5. Thanks for the pictures of the downtown Charlotte store. I, too, remember well the 4th floor toy department, the mezzanine lunch counter, two cafeterias, and the elevators with the red and white lights. Does anybody remember the staircase just inside the Trade Street entrance that led directly to the basement? It was removed in later years. I remember the round door handles on the 1956 addition and the alley that you had to pass through to get from the 1938 basement to the 1923 Efird's building basement. I remember the classic sound of the paging device (chimes) and a very 1950s looking floor model water fountain up on the 4th floor of the Trade St. building. Remember the cursive lettering spelling out "Cafeteria" in the 1956 basement? It seems that you couldn't pass through from the 1908/1938 building into the Efird's building on the first floor; you had to go up to the upper floors to do that. Remember the entrance into Woolworth's from the first floor of the 1938 building? There was also a very old-fashioned staircase sort of hidden behind the elevators in the 1908/1910 building that had very elaborate railing; this staircase went from the basement all the way up to the 5th floor where they had offices and storage. (By the way, I rescued a transom from one of those offices and have it installed in my 1935 home.) What a sad loss for Charlotte. Does anybody remember anything else about the building?

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  6. Thanks for all the information. I just learned more about the place from one post that I'd ever known!

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  7. I love Belk's! Your site is fascinating. Thanks for putting it up!

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  8. Years ago my mother purchased one of the Belk drinking/measuring glasses at an antique store. She had fond memories of Belk, and the glass was one of her favorites. My brother accidentally broke it one day and we've been looking for a new one ever since. I was wondering if you knew the person that took the picture of that glass, and if so, knew where I might be able to get one. Thank you so much! If you wouldn't mind, it might be easier to just e-mail me back (klreid@suddenlink.net). Thanks again!

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  9. The photo came from the collection of frequent LiveMalls contributor Pat Richardson. I don't know if he owns the glass or if it was a photo of someone else's.

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  10. There is some nice Belk stuff here! The photo showing the remodeled Belk in Monroe, NC would be 1960 according to a Belk publication printed for the opening of the Belk Store at the Monroe Mall in 1979 after it moved from downtown. Name of publication, "Monroe, N. C.: The First Belk Store". A little trivia for Monroe: We had only one escalator, ever, and that was the one in the Belk's on Main Street, installed in 1957 (it only went up!). Unfortunately, the escalator was torn out in 2008. Thanks for the blog!

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  11. Thanks for sharing your memories. That's pretty funny about the escalator.

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  12. I also grew up in Charlotte during the 50s and 60s. Back to school meant going "downtown" to Belk's and buying school clothes. We loved the basement cafeteria, and I remember a bookstore on the mezzanine. In one section of the store (the old Efird's building??) the elevators had glass doors with accordian gates behind them...you could see the "works" of the elevator going up and down through the doors. And also in that older section, there was a narrow wooden escalator. Those old days are gone forever, but thanks for the wonderful job of preserving our memories through photos.

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  13. Thank you for sharing your memories and your kind comment.

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  14. So sad that most of the downtown department stores are now gone. I first came across Belk while vacationing in South Carolina with my family in the early 1990's. Everytime we would go to Charleston, I would have to make a stop at Belk. A few years ago, the Proffitt's Department Store chain was bought by Belk and to my surprise they opened one in Ashland, Ky. 30 minutes from my house. I will say now that I am BIG FAN of Belk. It is definitely one of my favorite Department Stores. Thank you for a view into their past. So sad that their downtown flagship store is gone. I am an avid collector of any memorabilia dealing with downtown department stores. The store I remember from my childhood is Lazarus. We would make monthly trips to The downtown Lazarus store. It was such a treat. 6 floors of shopping not including the Bargain Basement complete with a drug store. We will never go back to the days of the elegance that was the Downtown Department store. I miss those days and hate that I came into this world when most of them were on their way out. At least I got to experience a few of those years. Thanks for your site. It is very interesting. I have bookmarked it! I will visit often. Charles

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  15. I appreciate your bookmark and thank you for sharing your memories, Charles.

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  16. I also miss the days of the different Belk's stores with the partner names. Each store was special in its own way; you knew you were in Gastonia when you saw "Matthews-Belk" or in ROcky Mount with "Belk-Tyler's" (and so on). The old hyphenated naming system made each store--and each town--unique. Nowadays, there is no retail distinction to communities.

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  17. I have a great picture of the Belk store, with a huge lightening bolt over it. Do you want it?

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  18. Thanks! Any pics of the mezzanine lunch room? Those were often wonderful spaces designed in a special style unseen since.

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  19. I use to work at the Belks at Southpark back in the early 80s in the furniture dept as stock. On the 3rd floor was display dept and way in the back corner were ALL the Christmas displays they had used in the past at the Belk store in downtown Charlotte. I remember asking several times if I could purchase a few of them and all I ever got from the manager of the store was "I will check and see". I really wish I had gotten 1 or 2, God only knows where they are now.

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