Sears Crosstown in Memphis: From Catalogues to a Concourse

By Bill Haltom

When it opened in 1927, Sears Crosstown, now Crosstown Concourse, was the southeastern regional warehouse and distribution center for the Sears Catalogue mail-order empire. Each day, more than forty-five thousand orders were processed by more than 1,500 workers. As a result, Sears Crosstown became known locally as “the Wish Building.” For more than half a century, the iconic building and its surrounding neighborhood flourished until the decline of Sears in the 1980s. For decades, the once dynamic destination for commerce was vacant and shuttered. Then a unique group of Memphians emerged to resurrect Sears Crosstown with a plan most thought was impossible. Bill Haltom, a native Memphian and writer, tells the story of “the Wish Building”—its past, present and future.

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