Once Marketed as Kentucky’s ‘Oldest Dept Store,’ This Chain No Longer Exists
I've been around long enough to remember the tail end of the old-school department store. Anderson's in downtown Owensboro was about as good an example as you could find in the area. It closed in 1988, and due to the late 20th-century movement from downtown shopping to mall shopping, we haven't really seen anything like it since.
The Classic Kentucky Department Store
But Anderson's did keep up with the times. When Towne Square Mall opened in 1977, Anderson's added a second location. In retrospect, it sort of represented a passing of the torch. Over in the western wing of the mall was a department store that had long been established in Louisville before opening here in Owensboro.
Bacon's Department Store -- Gone But Not Forgotten
After using my 20/20 hindsight again, it occurred to me that Bacon's Department Store was very much in the spirit of Anderson's. By that I mean, if BACON'S had established itself downtown like Anderson's had, it would have maintained that old-school vibe just like the one that was once in downtown Louisville.
Good Lord...Bugle Boy. Anyway, where was I?
The History of Bacon's Department Store
Bacon's Department store dates back much further than its 1953 opening in the St. Mathews suburb of Louisville. In fact, it was in 1845 when Jeremiah Bacon opened his first retail store near Market and Hancock Streets. Bacon and his sons enjoyed great success and were overseeing 63 departments in a massive 6-story complex. A bustling shopping district helped Bacon's maintain that success. But the turn of the century marked changes in the family dynamic, and the business was sold to New York City-based H.B. Claflin & Company, which, in turn, went bankrupt in 1914.
But Bacon's Department Store kept its head above the fray, opening multiple locations in Louisville and then, of course, in Owensboro. The St. Mathews store was soon joined by ones in Shively and then in the old Bashford Manor Mall. Now, how's THAT for a blast from the past? Just like this. By the way, I wonder who still has a blazer they bought at Bacon's in 1985.
By the 1990s, interest in the chain was winding down. By the end of the decade, Bacon's--once marketed as Kentucky's "oldest department store"--had become a thing of the past, having been acquired by Dillard's from its parent company, Mercantile Stores.
Of course, Owensboro never got a Dillard's Department Store. When Bacon's left, that space in the mall became Lazarus, followed by Macy's. And now THAT'S gone. But I'll never forget Bacon's.
I mean, remembering trying on slacks, shirts, and coats may not sound memorable to you, but when I find a good big & tall department like Bacon's had, it is pure bliss.