Victory demo: crushing for founder's granddaughter
While the unceremonious demolition of the art-deco glass storefront of the old Victory Shoe Store on the Downtown Mall has angered city planners, preservationists, and fans of the classic storefront–and contributed to some spirited discussion on the function of the BAR, property rights, anonymous comment posting, and “unconsciously bourgeois pathology”–for Ethel Crowe, it’s been like losing a piece of her life.
“It has made me so sick, I can’t tell you what it has done to us,” says Crowe, whose Russian immigrant grandparents, Isaac and Freda Kobre, opened the store in 1921.
“I was born in that store,” says Crowe, “That’s all I ever knew. It has been crushing. I hope they can put it back the way it was. But it will never be the same.”
As Crowe reveals, her grandparents put a new store front on the building around 1947, modifying what was already there.
Crowe says her parents, Tillie (“Miss Tillie,” Crowe says people called her) and Bernie Miller, eventually took over the store and operated it until 1995, when Tillie passed away. Crowe says she managed to keep the store going for another year, but finally closed and gave all the shoes away to charity.
“We were there for 75 years, that’s a long time,” says Crowe, struggling for words to describe the loss.
Crowe said she’s already called the building’s owner, Joe Gieck, to ask why he demolished the store front; his explanation that the glass was cracked was not well-received by Crowe.
“I hope something is done,” she says. “Maybe a petition to have it restored.”