900 Indiana Ave.
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
This is one of the more famous buildings in downtown Wichita Falls. The Perkins-Timberlake Dept. Store at 900 Indiana Ave. was built in 1919. While doing my research, I discovered something interesting about this building. It was originally designed to be a theater, although a theater never opened in this building. It was built, then opened as Perkins-Timberlake.
For those of you who are architecture or map geeks, below is a colored copy of the 1919 Sanborn Fire map and it shows the theater that actually became Perkins. According to the Library of Congress, "The Sanborn map collection consists of a uniform series of large-scale maps, dating from 1867 to the present and depicting the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of some twelve thousand cities and towns in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The maps were designed to assist fire insurance agents in determining the degree of hazard associated with a particular property and therefore show the size, shape, and construction of dwellings, commercial buildings, and factories as well as fire walls, locations of windows and doors, sprinkler systems, and types of roofs. The maps also indicate widths and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers."
The first map below dated 1915 shows that houses were originally on the corner of 9th and Indiana Ave. They were demolished and the large building on that corner was built as show in the 1919 map. Although we may never know why the building was originally built in 1919 as a theater with a section in the back for a stage and scenery and a mezzanine as shown in the 1925 map, we do know that it became Perkins the year that it was built. Perhaps the Olympic Theater had grand dreams of becoming a large theater and then decided to downsize to only the small theater as shown in my last blog, at which time Perkins-Timberlake snatched up the building? I would love to find some kind of newspaper article about this row of buildings to find out what the plan was, but I guess we will never know.
Perkins had a bargain basement and ladies would save up their pennies all year long just so they could say they bought their daughters Easter dress at Perkins-Timberlake! This place remained Perkins-Timberlake until 1980. The demise of the downtown and Sikes Senter Mall opening left only the one location at the mall.
The building remained vacant for many years then it became a dental equipment business under several names in 1993. A few years later, Alley Cat Vintage Mercantile opened up their shop and stayed there until they moved over to 15th and Lamar. The building remains empty today.
1915 Sanborn Map showing houses before Perkins was built.
1919 Sanborn Map showing the Perkins building was originally going to be a theater.
1925 Sanborn Map showing the Mezzanine. Even though this map shows it was built in 1920, the 1919 map shows the building on their map.
1920's photo of what Perkins- Timberlake originally looked like.
1960's photo of Perkins-Timberlake when it was "modernized."
The books I have written are available at Heritage Antique Mall at 1503 Lamar Ave. across from Coca Cola or at Picker's Universe at 1000 Indiana Ave. across from the library. They are also available on Amazon at