Hemphill-Wells Co., Lubbock, Texas

Hemphill-Wells' store in Lubbock was built in 1950
replacing an older store.

Hemphill-Wells Co. (1922/1950)
13th and J Streets
Lubbock, Texas


Appliances • Barber shop

First Floor
Fine Jewelry • Silverware • Costume Jewelry • Handbags • Gloves • Belts • Accessories • Hat Bar • Lingerie Bar • Hosiery • Cosmetics • Women's Shoes • Children's Shoes • Candy • Fine Foods • Stationery • Luggage • Men's Furnishings • Menswear • Men's Shoes • Gentry Shop

Fountain • Rondeley Room Restaurant • Book Shop • Customer Service • Cash Office • Credit Office • Travel Center • Salon of Beauty

Second Floor
Piece Goods •  Notions • Closet Shop • Bedding • Bath Shop • Linens • Housewares • Kitchen Appliances • China • Glassware • Crystal • Lamps • Gift Shop • Boys' Wear

Third Floor
Lingerie • Foundations • Robes • Uniform Corner • Maternity Shop • Beachwear • Sportswear • Ladies' Dresses • Career Shop • Better Dresses • Signature Shop • Fur Shop • Bridal Shop • Millinery • Coats • Suits • Junior World • Girls' Wear • Toddlers' Wear • Infants' Wear •


San Angelo (1937/1973)
Beauregard Avenue and Irving Street

Big Spring (1946)
214 Main Street

Village Shopping Center (1955)
San Angelo

Monterey (08.25.1960)
50th and Flint

South Plains Mall (04.11.1973)
Loop 289 and Slide Road


  1. Martha Brown Pope27 October, 2011 16:13

    I was raised on Hemphill-Wells in San Angelo, Texas. It was an amazing store, starting from the 2 inch thick heavy glass doors, to the
    smell of leather and perfume...I managed to
    somehow inherit two chairs that were used in the shoe department of the downtown store.
    That location is now the new San Angelo Library.
    Thanks for this website! It is Fun!

  2. Thanks, Martha!

    I wondered how long it would be before someone noticed and commented after I posted the information about Hemphill-Wells.

    I wish I had a nice black-and-white illustration of the newer San Angelo store like the others; perhaps I will acquire one soon.

    Kind thanks again for sharing your memories.


    1. The new Hemphill Wells still shows on Google Earth. You can do a screen capture and grab it. It no longer exists. It is now our new library.
      Is the Hemphill Wells directory that is posted the same as for the San Angelo store?
      Thanks...always fun to see the way things were.

    2. I would have to assume that the San Angelo store had the same departments, but a different floor layout than the flagship in Lubbock. I would like to acquire an ad image of the store from the paper when it opened; it is an interesting building and must have been a fine store in its time. Alas, at present, I don't have access to the local newspaper, so I can't publish a gistoric image or picture.

      Any help a local might like to provide would be very appreciated!


  3. I have searched for years for photos of the Christmas windows at the downtown Lubbock store with no luck. I recently took an art class from a renowned artist, Kathleen Cook in Kerrville, Texas. I found out she was one of the window designers in the 50's and 60's, and even she has no photos. What a shame and great loss. The Christmas windows were magical beyond anything I can describe. Does anyone have ANY knowledge of the existence of any photos?

    Viki Ray

  4. The downtown Lubbock Hemphill-Wells building now houses the operations center of PlainsCapital Bank, where I worked for several years. Although the building has been made over, there are still lots of nooks and crannies to remind you of its former life. It's a really interesting building!

  5. I remember Hemphill Wells in Lubbock, San Angelo, Big Spring. The South Plains Mall location style was more of a Sanger Harris knock off. Love the downtown San Angelo store what a work of urban revival. I also recall shopping at Sakowitz and when I lived in Toledo at Tiedtke's and Jacobson's. And in Fort Worth, Texas Striplings and out on Camp Bowie Blvd Coxes. Memories and days when stores had personalities.

  6. I loved the South Plains mall location of Hemphill-Wells in Lubbock. What a great store. I remember going for lunch in the Gold Room with my mother where models walked around in the latest early seventies fashions. The graphic design on the bags was mid century modern heaven with sheep, cattle, oil wells etc... on amoeba shapes.

  7. I remember Hemphill-Wells at South Plains Mall in the seventies. I lived in Friona, TX about 100 miles nw of Lubbock at the time. It was such a big deal going to Lubbock and South Plains Mall. It was a disappointment when it closed it's doors. It is now A Dillards dept. store. Those were the good ole' days. I now live in NW Arkansas.Beautiful country. I still miss Lubbock. Thanks, Larry Paiz

  8. The Hemphill-Wells store in downtown San Angelo was there through the early 1980's. I worked there from 1968 until shortly before Dillard's bought the stores. J. Culver Hill donated the Lubbock newspaper ad scrapbooks to Texas Tech. I started to work in the Lubbock downtown store under him in 1962. Sue Fletcher

  9. Bruce. have you seen the picture of the downtown San Angelo store at http://www.flickr.com/photos/army_arch/501377154/ ? There is also good info about the stores there. Sue Fletcher

  10. I grew up in the Hemphill-Wells in downtown Lubbock, from the time it opened in 1950. My mother shopped in other clothing stores, but I only liked going to Hemphill's. The staff were so good to children! They treated us as if we were real people! I loved looking at the bones of my feet through the x-ray machine in the shoe department (and spreading x-rays all over Hemphill's, no doubt!) I loved watching the pneumatic tubes. I loved seeing the make-up people blending powder to the exact skin color of the customer, and pressing it into compacts! I loved going up the escalator. I loved walking up to the tea room on the mezzanine for a sandwich. When Christmas came, I was transported into fairyland by the beautiful displays in the windows. I remember how wonderful the Christmas giftwrapping was. There was never a store, before or since, as wonderful as Hemphill-Wells in downtown Lubbock. Thinking of it makes me want to cry--for happiness, because I was blessed enough to be able to spend many years shopping there. I only wish my own children had had the privilege.

  11. I too grew up going to Hempills in Lubbock and saw all of its phases. I still have many items purchased there. What a treasure and way of life we have lost. If any one is familiar with the Margaret,s store that was in Lubbock at the same time, we have an exhibit dedicated to it at the Science Spectrum in Lubbock with original clothing and fixtures from the store.

  12. I too grew up with Hemphill Wells from a baby up until they moved to the mall. My mother would take me shopping there every weekend for so many things, we would shop then go to the Tea Room for lunch and afterward we would go and do more shopping for all the diffent holidays to casual wear. It would be so much fun. One I also enjoyed about shopping there you would never see the samething over and over. It was truly a wonderful & beautiful store. My mother to this day still own several of the shopping bags and she also owns a jewlery box from there and she also have a box from them. I will always cherish the memories of such a wonderful store. Thank for making shopping so much fun. BJ of Lubbock, Tx

  13. Bruce I have several things I would be willing to share. I have an image of the downtown San Angelo store, a scan of the bag design that was mentioned in an earlier post and I have images from microfilm from a special section that was published in the San Angelo Standard-Times when the "new" downtown store opened in the early 70's. Just let me know.

  14. Thanks Robb, for your generous offer . . . if you can e-mail them to bakgraphics@comcast.net, I will be more than delighted to enhance the exhibit with your material. I added you to my google "circle" but I don't know if that means that you can transfer the pictures to me in any more direct way. If you cannot scan them, e-mail me at that address, and we'll find a way.'

    Again thanks, and Merry Christmas!


  15. I was one of the lucky people who got to work at that magical store in downtown Lubbock, Texas, familiarly known as "Hemphill's." The store was directly across the street from Anderson Brothers Jewelers and down the street from Malouf's men's store. I got a job at Hemphill's in the men's furnishings department when I was fresh out of high school in 1976; my bosses were Kenneth Leslie and Walter Wright, both true gentlemen. In our stockroom we had some antiquated stock that should have been in a museum -- including 1920s detachable shirt collars in their original boxes. (Hemphill's policy was that they would accept returns of any merchandise, no matter how old, no questions asked.) The eleven exterior display windows, which featured theatrical-style lighting and a strip of "paint with light" spotlights across the entire back wall, were accessed through the various stockrooms on the ground floor, so we saw the display staff frequently. I was intrigued by what they were doing, so after a few months I transferred to the display department to work for Verne Wiggins (she and her husband, "Wig," were known throughout the country for their incredible Christmas window displays). I look back on that job as the most fun I've ever had in my entire professional life. I worked there full-time until I started college, then continued off and on throughout the rest of my college studies. As visual merchandisers, my coworkers and I got to explore every nook and cranny of that store (including the roof, where we would take large props to spray-paint), and of course we knew nearly all of the store employees. The store carried top-quality merchandise and featured--all packed into a relatively small space--a fur salon, travel agency, bookstore, restaurant (called a "tearoom"), and an open mezzanine-level lunch counter, where you could perch on a stool and observe the first-floor goings-on from above. The cosmetics department kept records on its customers so it could custom-mix face powder for them; many of the salespeople knew their customers and would give them a call whenever something came in that they thought they would like. Hemphill's gift-wrapping was second to none. It was a remarkable level of customer service that's now, sadly, a thing of the past! --Brad in Santa Monica, CA

  16. Thanks for sharing your great memories, Brad. I worked in the store in Lubbock from April of 1962 until April of 1968 when I moved to the HW store in San Angelo, Texas to be the Ad Manager there. The advertising office of the Lubbock store was on the mezzanine straight down the hall from the elevator on the right, Culver Hill, an exceptionally good man, hired and helped me throughout my careeer of near 20 years with the store. Sue Fletcher

  17. I have 2 of the Italian angels used in the store windows in downtown Lubbock. My mom bought them at the closing auction and left them to me. She used them in her windows every Christmas at 17th and Slide. As soon as I purchase a home I will use them as well.

  18. I recently listed an old Hemphill-Wells paper sack on ebay. it is very large with great art of oil wells and cotton and the classic h/w Logo.
    has some damaged areas but lots of great real estate for crafting, etc... please search ebay for:
    1980's paper sack from Hemphill-Wells Dress Lubbock, Texas cotton and oil wells

  19. For the past year and a half I have been putting together a collection of photos of San Angelo in the 50s ad 60s for my 50th reunion. I am currently trying to find specifics about the cafeteria that many say was located in the basement of the downtown Hemphill Wells. I have photos of and remember Luby's being in a building behind Hemphill Wells (late 50s), but I have read several sources that mention a Furr's Cafeteria. Was the cafeteria in the basement of the San Angelo H-W a Furr's or a Luby's? Was it totally inside Hemphill Wells or did it utilize the Luby's building with a passage-way to H-W's basement? What were the years? Do you have any pictures? Many, many thanks for any help. Cathye Moon

  20. Aaah the memories as a youngster in Lubbock. I loved their windows all year round but Christmas was a wonderland, setting the mood for the holidays, especially when the temperatures were on the warm side. It was a great disappointment when the malls surfaced with no windows to dress up for Christmas. And it's hard to believe no one has any pictures of those magical scenes! Now one must travel to Chicago to see delightfully dressed windows around the old Marshall Fields building. How sad.

  21. There was a Furr's cafeteria across the alley on the Irving Street side from the new HW building in San Angelo. There was never a cafeteria inside the store.

  22. I worked for Hemphill's South Plains Mall location in the 80's. I worked the children's department and absolutely loved it. This was during the time that the Madam Alexander dolls were collected and we always had these priceless dolls put away for those special customers who could afford to buy them. I'll also never forget getting in Cabbage Patch Dolls and having them open the front doors downstairs to a stampede of people running up the escalators. Such great memories of a time gone but not forgotten. :) Regina Jones Havens

  23. My sister worked at the downtown location and when I was only 16, I bugged the hell out of Vic Hines to work at the mall location. He finally hired me at 16 and I worked in Boys & VIP (Polo) and in the rotunda area. At 17 for a history project, I made a model of the first downtown location based off of pictures and info from Mr. Wells. Wish I still had all that stuff, not sure if I even have a picture of the model. Arthur Johnson

  24. Someone above asked about the various departments in the stores. The old San Angelo store...that beautiful, classic building with the arched windows above the doors had five floors plus a basement. My father was a buyer and ran the fourth floor which was gifts, china, drapery fabrics, housewares and lamps. The fifth floor was a work room where drapes were made and upholstery was done. The third floor was ladies ready to wear, the second floor was a mezzanine which held a book store, the boys department and the offices. Men's wear, shoes, jewelry and cosmetics was on the ground floor. I don't remember a barbershop in the basement, but it was "bargain" good including Levi's brand jeans.

  25. My father was a buyer for Hemphill-Wells and ran the 4th floor. How could I get an image of the "old" store, the one with the beautiful arched windows over the doors. It was torn down to make way for the store that's now used as a library.
    Mary Rogers mary@maryrussellrogers.com

  26. I remember going to Hemphill-Wells at South Plains Mall as a young single mother. I had moved to Lubbock because I had been hired to teach 7th grade math, my very first job out of college. Another friend of mine, also a single mom teaching in Lubbock, and I used to meet at the Gold Room for lunch. It was so much fun. I wish I could find their wonderful custard recipe. It was the best ever.

  27. Hey Mary Russell Rogers! Your father, Bill, was a distant cousin of mine. My maiden name was Hardy. I moved from Lubbock, where I had worked for the downtown store under Culver Hill for 5 years, to San Angelo to be Advertising Manager in 1968. Your Dad was a fine man. I have many fine and fun memories of him

  28. Just this past weekend I bought five maple-and-glass display cases that I think came out of a Hemphill Wells location. The restock drawers at the bottom were lined with Hemphill Wells' packing/wrapping paper. I will try to make a scan of the paper and send it in.

  29. In my late sixties now, but I fondly remember many shopping experiences at HW downtown in Lubbock.
    It was truly a one-of-a kind for Lubbock. One of the memories is of the "chime/bell/whatever" that
    could be heard often as we made our way through the building's departments......not sure if
    it was from entrance door openings, for employee communication or some other purpose, but it
    was a very unique sound that I've not heard anywhere else. Is anyone familiar enough with it to identify what it was and what was its purpose ?

  30. What a great bunch of memories! I also grew up in the '60s going to the downtown Lubbock location--the tea room, reached by an escalator with plexiglass hand rails, the pneumatic tubes, the luggage department and especially the travel agency where they generously gave me all kinds of brochures for exotic cruises, some of which I still have.

  31. I remember the wonderful windows especially at Christmas in the downtown Lubbock store. It made me want to go to Chicago and New York to see the windows since I knew they couldn't rival Hemphill Wells. I loved going up to the mezzanine to the Tea Room with my momma and having a sprite with lime and a cherry in it. If if was very good she might take me to the bookstore on the mezzanine as well and I might get a new "Little House" book. I loved that they carried the little dresses that Buffy on Family Affair wore. Hemphill Wells was always a very special place for me. My momma was an alterations lady there from 1969-1971. Visiting her at work was such a treat! Hemphill Wells was shopping at its finest. I hate that it's gone. It was a special time I could spend with my momma as well.

  32. Thank you for your lovely memories . . . it sounds like your Momma was a dear woman and I appreciate being able to share your memories, as I am sure are other visitors to this site!