Younker & Brothers, Des Moines, Iowa




View of Younkers from 8th and Walnut Street


The Younkers building from 7th and Walnut Streets


Younkers Parkade an 7th and Locust Streets


Younker & Brothers
7th and Walnut Streets
Des Moines, Iowa 50397 (1899)


DOWNTOWN STORE DIRECTORY 400,000 sq. ft.

Basement
Younkers Budget Store  The Coffee House

First Floor
Men’s Furnishings • Men’s Actionwear • Fashion Jewelry • Better Jewelry • Fine Jewelry • Silverware • Hosiery • Slippers • Handkerchiefs • Gloves • Handbags • The Pampered Pantry • Candy • Bakery • Flower Shop
First Floor West
Toiletries • Cosmetics • Notions • Stationery • Neckwear • Millinery Hat Bar • Boulevard Sportswear • Fashion Street Lingerie • Shoe Stop •

Balcony
The Optician • Books • Stark Travel Service

Second Floor
College and Career Shop • Coats ands Suits • Dresses • Casual Colony • Kay Whitney Shop • Blouse Shop • Blouse Bar • Swim Shop
Second Floor West
World of Shoes • Shoe Salon • Pappagallo Shop • Etienne Aigner Shop • Junior Shoes • Children’s Shoes • Sports Shop • Action Sportswear • Millinery Salon • Fur Salo • Carriage Corner • Bridal Salon • Galerie 9

Third Floor
Collegiate Sportswear • Junior Dresses • Emphasis • Junior Deb Shop • Teen Shop • Young Iowan Lingerie • Young Fashionable 7-14 • Crayon Crowd 3-6x • Toddler Inn • Babyland • Layette Shop • Uniforms • Maternity Shop •
Third Floor West
Daytime Casuals • Fashion Plus • Lingerie • Loungewear • Daywear • Corsetry • Uniforms • Daytime Dresses • Maison Lorenzo Beauty Salon • Canned Ego Salon

Fourth Floor
The Man’s Shop • Wynbrooke Shop
  Men’s Shoes • Sports Shop for Men • Youngmen’s Shop • Boys’ Shop • Boys' Corral  Coin and Stamp Center
Fourth Floor West
Photo Reflex Studio • Gifts

Fifth Floor
Fashions-by-the-Yard • White Sewing Center • Art Needlework • The Tea Room
  The Sweet Shoppe • The French Room • French Room Boutique • French Room Hats

Sixth Floor
Housewares • Small Electrics • Linens • Domestics • The Bath Shop

PARKADE
Lower Level
Sportsman’s World • Luggage • Toys
First Floor
Camera Center • Boulevard Shop • Candies
 • Deli • Bakery • The Pantry

STORE FOR HOMES
Downstairs
Appliances • Records • Sound Shop • Televisions
First Floor
China • Glassware • Crystal
Balcony
Gifts
Second Floor
Carpeting
Third Floor
Draperies
Fourth Floor
Decorator Studios • Gift Studio • Lamps
Fifth Floor
Living Rooms • Chairs
Sixth Floor
Bedrooms • Sleep Shop
Seventh Floor
Dining Rooms • Occasional Furniture • Casual Furniture




BRANCH STORES

Ames (1941)

Main Street

Mason City (1944)
S. Federal & 1st St. N.W.
60,000 sq. ft.











Fort Dodge (1947)
828 Central Ave.

Marshalltown (1948)
22 E. Main St.
37,000 sq. ft.

Sioux City (Davidson’s 1948)
4th & Pierce
162,000 sq. ft.









Ottumwa (1949)
129 E. Main St.


Iowa City (Yetter’s 1951)
111 E. Washington St.
37,000 sq. ft.

Omaha NE (1955)
The Center

Rock Island (1956)

2nd Ave & W. 17th St.

Oskaloosa (1957)
116-118 High St.

16,000 sq. ft.

Sioux City (Martin’s 1957)


 











Austin MN (1958)
Sterling Shopping Center
       
 







Merle Hay Plaza (1959)
Des Moines
195,000 sq. ft.
The Meadowlark

Bettendorf (1960)
Duck Creek Plaza
60,000 sq. ft.

Newton (1960)
1st. Ave. & 17th St.
15,000 sq. ft.

Spencer (1960)
1900 Grand Ave. N.
15,000 sq. ft.

Lindale Plaza (1960)
Cedar Rapids
100,000 sq. ft.






Eastgate (1964)
Des Moines

Burlington Fairway (1967)


Westroads (1968)

Omaha NE
172,000 sq. ft.

Dubuque (1968)
Kennedy Center
126,000 sq. ft.

Davenport (1973)
NorthPark Mall
105,000 sq. ft.

Moline IL (1974)
SouthPark Mall
107,000 sq. ft.

Austin MN (1975)
Oak Park Mall
45,000 sq. ft.

Southridge Mall (1975)
101,000 sq. ft.
The Peacock Room

Sioux Falls (1975)
Empire Mall
105,000 sq. ft.

Newton Mall (1977)
Newton

Westland (1977)
West Burlington
47,000 sq. ft.

Westdale Mall (1979)
Cedar Rapids
100,000 sq. ft.

Crossroads Mall (1979)
Fort Dodge
54,000 sq. ft.

Old Capitol Mall (1980)
Iowa City
60,000 sq. ft.

Southern Hills Mall (1980)
Sioux City
90,000 sq. ft.

48 comments:

  1. I have never lived in Iowa, nor have I ever visited a Younkers store. However, in the 1920s when Younkers at 7th & Walnut in Des Moines was still a new and impressive downtown establishment, my parents, who were students at Drake University, were loyal and enthusiastic patrons. As a child in Boston, I heard considerable reminiscence by both my mother and dad about the role that Younkers had played in their young adult lives. Of particular interest to me was Mother's recitation about the farewell luncheon which she hosted in Younkers' tearoom for her female friends on the day before her marriage... and about the last minute trip which she made downtown to Younkers with her mother and sisters on the morning of her wedding to purchase a girdle to wear beneath her wedding dress. Mother was petite in those days -- about 5'3" and 100 lbs -- so one would wonder if that trip were really necessary. This month is the 80th anniversary of those occasions. Although my parents and everyone else who could have elaborated upon this aspect of my family history have been gone for many years, I did find myself recently thinking about the events of that November so many decades ago.Younkers came into my mind and I did go to the Internet to see if I could access anything about the history of the store. I was both surprised and pleased to run across this site and to see both a picture of the Younkers store at 7th & Walnut and a copy of a directory for its floor space. Perverse as it may seem, I have enjoyed seeing an image of the location where my mother ate only a few hours before marrying my father... and learning of the layout of the store where she purchased the much-chuckled-about wedding corset. My thanks to the person(s) who conceptualized and created this site.

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  2. Dear Anonymous:

    Thank you for such a lovely anecdote. Truly, these institutions were a part of peoples' lives in a way that retailers are not today. Your eloquent comments are touching, and a testimony to the life your parents created for you, with richness and great human value.

    If you could get me your e-mail address, I may be able to send you a page from the newspaper on or about the day your parents were married.

    Kind regards:

    Bruce

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  3. I discovered this web site quite by accident, and was pleasantly surprised to find your section about Younkers! Like many of us of a certain age, I grew up thinking of Younkers as "my store." This is where I visited Santa at Christmas, and always hoped for a gift that came inside a Younkers box (especially the Christmas box that had the Spode Christmas tree on it). My hometown is Sioux City, where the 2 local stores (T.S. Martin's and Davidson's) merged with Younkers long before I was born, and it brought back great memories to see the pictures of both in this section. I'm sure people younger than me do not have the same emotional connection to any store, but it is gratifying to know that the Younkers name still exists. Thanks for sharing these pictures and information!

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  4. Thanks, Dennis!

    I appreciate your comments very much. Younker's was certainly an institution, as it dominated the retail map of Iowa for many years. It apparently took the role as "Iowa's Store" very seriously, if the fond memories of many people like yourself are accurate.

    It seems to me that the department store played a very important role in many people's lives . . . it really was a "bridge" of sorts between people and the producers of merchandise. People put great faith in the store to provide quality and a pleasant experience as well. Today, I think people are more fixed on brand names, no matter how little is behind them, than they are on the retail entity which serves them.

    It may be just the way things are, but to have lost all of what you refer to as "the emotional connection" is in my opinion a great tragedy of our age.

    BAK

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  5. Younkers was center in my Youth,,oh so Big, to my
    eyes growing up. The Fabulous Rarebit Burger, on
    Moms Payday,, Top Quality, above our income level,
    Meet you under the Clock, that special little gift for Mom and Dad,,waiting upstairs for them to be
    Gift wrapped, the old fashioned way...Elevators,
    Moving Stairs,,Big Stuff,
    Oh and Christmas,,the Unvailing of those Winter
    Wonderland, Windows,,Corner of 7th and Walnut was
    always special, Christmas lights everywhere,,Beautiful Decorations inside,,and the
    best till last,,,,Toyland
    On 8th Street, across from the Main Store,
    The Toyland of all Toylands,,Trains set up,,
    all Toys on display,,for your dreams,,Actually
    got a wonderful Christmas Surprise from there,
    in 1947,,Most beautiful Lionel Train Set, you
    could ever dream of,,,will never know, or want
    to know where the money came from,,,but my Parents made sure that i had that set,,that
    i spent so much time at Toyland,,,wishing...
    Wonderful Store, 40s was a great time to grow
    up in Des Moines Iowa,, great memories for sure.
    Guy Craig,,Surprise, Az

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  6. I can totally relate to the aforementioned descriptions. I remember Younkers from my very early youth in the early to mid 1960's. The escalators and the elevators which were then manned by an elevator operator. A real live person! "Going Up?" And that yummy distinct Younkers Department Store smell. Holidays, back to school, everything. I loved going with my mother while she spent countless hours shopping. It really was the creme` de la creme` of department stores in Des Moines, IA.

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  7. Just today I looked up Younkers in Des Moines, IA and found that it closed in 2005. How sad!! The best department store I have ever been in. I have lived most of my adult life in Phoenix, AZ and there is nothing like Younkers out her and there never will be.

    I will be 70 on my next birthday--born and raised in Iowa close to Des Moines and we made trips to Younkers all my life when I lived in Iowa. I used to work at Employers Mutual Casualty Company just a block south of Younkers.

    My mother started work at Younkers after my dad died in 1961 and worked there until she was 68 years old (the last three years were part-time)

    I just feel so sad that Younkers is not in Des Moines anymore--that was really the main thing downtown, and we used to go to Younkers out at Merle Hay at times--it was closer from home when we were not working. I remember the Christmas windows--there was just nothing like it anywhere else around.

    So sad that the people in Des Moines let that store go--I can't imagine what they have downtown now.

    I also remember the Tea Room at Younkers someone else has mentioned. There is nothing like that around anymore. We just loved the Younkers' Tea Room.

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  8. I have wonderful memories of the beautiful windows at the Sioux City store. Visiting Santa in the corner window was always exciting. The (what i considered elderly) ladies that wanted to help you fit a bra was another story as a teenager shopping for herself.

    It was a sad day when the took down the Martin's store. The mezzanine was always decorated so nicely, and you felt like you were walking into a castle or something when you could look up.

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  9. Main Street Keokuk is searching for an image of the first Younkers brothers (Lipman, Samuel, Marcus) for its Walk of Fame. Anyone know where we might be able to locate a photo or a print? Thanks for your help. < iaplowing1@juno.com >

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  10. Does anyone know about Younkers having a music label many years ago? I have a 45rpm record with a Younkers label.

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  11. I have a watercolor done by Kerr S Forman and on the back there is a lable; Younker Brothers Picture and Gift shop. Did YB do framing?
    fuzzhpsn@yahoo.com

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  12. YB did do framing. My great grandfather, Frank Heinze, was a framer between 1910 and 1930 at the Des Moines store.

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  13. I have a Buzza print that must have been framed by your great-grandfather. It is stamped on the back: The Exclusive Picture and Frame Shoppe Frank Heinze, Prop. Des Moines The print is "If" by Rudyard Kipling c. 1910 I would love to hear more about it.
    mjbrower@air-pipe.com

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  14. My cousins wedding reception was at the Younkers Tea Room, just a couple of months before it closed. I loved it and the history. I wonder what its being used for now? I've lived in Des Moines my whole life, and whenever I get the chance, I love driving through the downtown area and try to picture what it was like in the 1920's and '30's.

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  15. Penaaj52@yahoo.com12 August, 2012 20:10

    I found an old tin art work, on the back it says 1946-1950 but it has no name of artest or other but it did have a sticker that says Younker of Iowa. It has either a chines or other on it. Do you happen to have any information on the art work?

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  16. My workplace is on the southwest corner of 7th and Walnut (EMC Insurance). I spent many breaks and lunch hours browsing in Younkers. I purchased many Christmas gifts there. I really miss it now that it is closed.

    One day I was on the number four bus route and said to the driver that I was going to Younkers. He informed me that there was no Younkers on this route. He had to take his words back when I got off at Younker Rehab on the Iowa Methodist Medical Center campus, (If I am not mistaken, Younker Rehabilitation is named for the same family as the Younker stores.)

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  17. I am busy reading Bill Bryson's book "The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid" in which he talks about his childhood in Des Moines during the 50s. Younkers features affectionately in the book. It's great to get on line and see what the store looked like. This book is a must read.... I recommend it to all.

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  18. I grew up in Urbandale, the bedroom suburb of Des Moines, Iowa. I remember that in 1961, Urbandale was experiencing a rapid population growth, and did not have room to house their 6th grade class in their cramped elementary school facilities. The children (my sister included) were bussed daily to the new Younkers store in Merle Hay Mall, where they attended class in an upstairs conference room facility for the better part of the school year. That kind of community involvement is seldom seen today...

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  19. My dad was a department manager at Younkers so I have many memories of being in the store in the 1950s. Two stand out. though. In 1956, when I was in 1st grade, President Eisenhower came to Des Moines for a campaign parade downtown. Schools let out so children could see the president. My mom took me and my brother down to my dad's office which had a window overlooking the parade route. We had a great view of Ike sitting in a convertible passing in front of Younkers. Second, the store was closed on Sunday, but my dad had some paperwork to finish one weekend. He took me with him to the store and I had a such a good time playing dress up in the ladies' shoe and hat depts. Looking back, I can't believe I had free run of that store on a Sunday afternoon!

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  20. I remember Younkers Dept store very well. My father, Myron D.Crawford managed the sewing center in both the downtown and Merle Hay Plaza
    locations. I was deeply saddened when i read it had closed in 2005.I can recall all of the various departments, The elevators with real live operators,the corner window with Santa Claus each Christmas season.What wonderful memories!
    Alan D. Crawford
    Gulf Breeze,Fl

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  21. Younkers was the store memories were made from. My Aunt Mary Cutler was the head baker on the fifth floor for over 30 years. I would hide in the elevator as the operator would say "bridal shop, furs, and Tea Room". then we would sneak out and run down the hall to the bakery and sample all the sweets every woman in a white dress, white shoes and a hair net. I only saw the bargain basement and ate many rarebits. When a restaurant tries to pass off a rarebit I say it's not a real rarebit as it doesn't taste like Younkers. I still have my dear Aunts recipes for all the great bakery items Younkers sold. The pecan rolls, parkerhouse rolls, pies, seven minute frosting, the best of the best. And the monthly newsletter for the employees, what a wonderful family spirit.

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  22. Thanks for that wonderful memory!

    Can you contact me at bakgraphics@comcast.net

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  23. Can anyone come up with the Younkers' recipe for
    elephant ears or also called crispies.

    Thanks,
    Dick Coolidge
    coolric@att.net

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  24. Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant in the basement before it was The Coffee Shop? It would have been during the 40's and 50's.

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  25. I have a gold, metal screen that was used in window displays in the store in Sioux City in the 1950s or 60s. It was a gift from a friend whose Mom use to work at Yonkers. I am finally at a point that I was going to sell it. Would the museum want an item like this? Thanks
    Also, I remember fondly the cage elevators and the people who operated them!

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  26. My mothers grandfather, Christian Yetter opened Yetters Department Store in 1888. After his death, his 3 sons took the helm. Chris, Les and Robert Yetter. Each of them passed away at a somewhat early age and their wives' did not have the ability or resources to keep the store. It was sold in 1949. I have listened to many stories of how my mom worked there in the toy department in the basement and also ran the elevator. She started to work there when she was only 12 years old. She was able to buy the nicest clothes at cost, for many years. She is now 82..!

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  27. Does anyone have a picture of the seven story building that was across the street "STORE FOR HOMES"? Was that the Kraft Building?
    I am looking for a picture of that building.

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  28. In the August 29 Des Moines Register is an article about the development of the property formerly known as Younkers (copyright problem). The article states that the Tea Room was on the sixth (6) floor. In this blog site the Directory states the 5th floor. In 1953 or 4 I worked in the Tea Room and thought it was on the 5th floor. Does anyone know for sure? Perhaps the developers are counting the mezzanine as a floor.

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  29. I would like to know if there was a davidson's departent store downtown, in the 1920's. My grandfather was an electrician there and I have never heard of it, but would like to know where it was located.

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  30. I was wondering if you would know what years Younkers sold furs. A sweet elderly lady we knew gave my mother a black seal fur coat that she had owned. That was in about 1968. My mother has passed away and I now have this beautiful knee length fur coat. I was just curious as to how old it might be. Thank you for any assistance you can give me.

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  31. I don't have a good answer to that question, but maybe a visitor to this blog doees. I would think that they sold furs throughout most of the store's life.
    -Bruce

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  32. I remember shopping at the outlet in Eastgate plaza as a little child in the mid 80s .I was always facinated by the strangly shaped roof on the building .There were several coin operated rides in the entrance that would busy me as my mom or grandma would rummage for bargains.My senior prom was held in the tearoom Downtown long after the stores hayday

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  33. I am the granddaughter of Roy W Richards. He was the VP of YOunkers for many years. I am desperately looking for a copy of the Younkers Ad printed for several years in the DSM Register. The paper does not archive online past 2002. Can you help me. It is priceless to me. i would like to discuss anything more you might have as well. Wendy McDermott wmcdermott@remn.com 913.205.3403. I say thanks in advance.

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  34. I grew up going to Younker's with not only my mother, but her mother. We would occasionally go to the Tea Room for special occasions, but more often to the coffee shop in the basement. Younker's used to have a bargain basement and I remember getting "lost" on one trip with my mother there. I went up on the stairs (where the railings had permanent groves from the ladies' rings who used those stairs), and I was able to see my mom's head so I found her. I was a preschooler, but I so remember the fright of being "lost." As a younster, I took "Charm Classes" in the Tea Room, and learned some social graces. As I got older and began working downtown in an office, I would shop and browse at Younker's almost daily. I would purchase gifts there for friends and relatives. I shopped there for Christmas. I enjoyed lunch there a couple of times a week in the Tea Room. I loved the Younker's Chicken Salad and the beef barley soup. I was and still am so dismayed that the downtown store closed. I am now retired, and since they "overruled" the opening of a Younker's in Ankeny, and they closed the east side Younkers, traveling over 20 miles to shop at a Younker's just does not excite me, so after being a loyal and loving Younker's customer for well over 60 years, I no longer shop there.

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  35. I have a friend looking for the recipe for a champagne cake from Younkers tea room. Does anyone have that? Reply to kcwilliams@q.com

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  36. What is the decor of the Tea Room? Art Deco? Where can I locate good interior photos of the tea room? In color preferably.

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  37. Ah, the wonders of live elevator operators, the book store on the mezzanine and the Red Rooster Room at the Sioux City locations of Martin/Davidson. For a small town kid, it was truly big city life for the yearly trip to these wonderfully massive department stores. Floor after floor of spacious shopping And Christmas! The decorated floors filed with Christmas spirit. Can almost hear the familiar ding of the elevator as it reaches its destination and the operator calls out the number and what goodies were awaiting people on that level.

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  38. I have a hanging light believed to be from the Younker Martin Tea Room in Sioux City. Would anyone have any pictures of the tea room?

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  39. The old Yonkers building in downtown Des Moines has been under renovation recently. Caught fire early this morning, all floors on fire and parts of atleast one wall have collapsed.

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  40. Very sad to say, the downtown Des Moines building was just destroyed today by fire.

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  41. Regarding Davidson's Dept Store (the question posed on Oct 7, 2013)... Davidson's was kitty-corner from Younkers to the best of my recollection. It would have been on the SE corner of 7th and Walnut. Davidsons had at least 4 fours if I recall. It was a very sedate store with clothing plus one floor was furniture with beautiful "model rooms" around the perimeter. My bedroom set was purchased there when I was 12 (1957) and still being used by my mother at her assisted living apt. The Younkers fire has brought back a flood of memories--clothing, dances, books, perfume. Worked at Tea Room during college vacation. Still have the lazy susan the other waitresses gave me as wedding gift. Fantasized about getting an apt there after the renovation but not to be.

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  42. Sadly, the Younkers building burned down on March 29, 2014. It was being rehabbed into retail/housing. No word on what caused the middle-of-the-night fire in which the building collapsed. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/picture-gallery/news/2014/03/29/downtown-younkers-through-the-years/7050159/?sf24422015=1

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  43. Oh the memories... This was the store I got my brand new red rubber boots caught in the escalator at the very top, when I was 5. That was 1961. Sadly it burnt to the ground yesterday. So terrible...

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  44. I worked across the street at DeArcy's shoes. Went there often growing up...

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  45. As a Californian, I share the pain of loyal downtown Younkers shoppers. :(

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  46. I wonder if the individuals renovating Younkers have any idea just how special that place was to so many people. I've been walking down memory lane just reading everyone's comments. I think I'm going to go home and make me a rarebit in honor of this sad day. Probably won't be quite the same as it was when I was younger, but I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can -- even at 65.

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  47. I can close my eyes and tell you where every department was I loved toyland, the xmas window with santa in it as a kid it made xmas magical. I have had a younker's charge account since I was 14 yrs old. Watching it burn was like part of our history going up in smoke.

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  48. The building may be gone but our memories will live forever!

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Comments