History of Montgomery Ward


The original Montgomery Ward factory opened in Chicago, 1860s by a young man named Aaron Montgomery Ward. Ward had started the company in hopes to send store orders through the mail to customers, by railroad. Unfortunately, their entire supply of inventory was wiped out by the Great Chicago Fire. By 1872, the company was able to recoup and send their first mail order out. Below is a quick continued history of the iconic Montgomery Ward Company:

  • Montgomery Ward first started with selling farming equipment then later aimed towards clothing and home essentials
  • Aaron Ward partnered with his brother-in-law George Thorne as the business grew
  • Montgomery Ward began advertising through various catalogs
  • Jordan Marsh & Co., John Wanamaker, Sears, and Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. all began mail order after noticing the success of Montgomery Ward
  • Ward’s 240-page 1883 catalog listed 10,000 items, making it the largest catalog to be published to date
  • Ward and Thorne turned partnership into a corporation in 1889
  • Around 1920s, Ward began opening up retail stores to exhibit catalog merchandise
  • Montgomery Ward opened 208 stores by 1928 and by 1929, 531 stores
  • 1934- initiated telephone orders

Business continued to boom for Montgomery Ward throughout the decades. Today, it is the ninth largest US privately held retailer in the country.

Although unfortunately the closest location to us is not in business anymore, one of the retail branches of Montgomery Ward used to be located in Portland. Today, the building remains and the neon red lettered sign atop the original building once reading “Montgomery Ward”, now reads “Montgomery Park”.


Pictured below is a vintage black and white polka dot Montgomery Ward raincoat, perfect for our rainy spring afternoons. We are featuring it in our store, so feel free to come on in and try it on!

Thanks for reading!


Categories: Features by Sarah, UncategorizedTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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