“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Wichita Falls in Wichita County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

The Zale Legacy

The Zale Legacy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 22, 2016
1. The Zale Legacy Marker

In the early 20th Century, the Wichita Falls oil boom attracted several immigrant Russian Jewish families seeking a better life. One such immigrant to the town, Morris Bernard Zalefsky (1901 - 1995), began to learn the jewelry trade from his uncle, Sam Kruger. Zalefsky opened his own store inside a drug store in Graham, but due to Klu Klux Klan activity in the area, he returned to Wichita Falls in 1924.

Zalefsky Americanized his name to Zale, opened his own store at this location on March 29, 1924, and created the Zale Jewelry Company with his family. Opening stores in nearby states, Zales expanded inventory, offered easy credit, employee stock options, sales training and used aggressive advertising. the company acquired other jewelry stores nationwide.

Zale Jewelry Company survived the Great Depression and became even larger after World War II. In 1946, Zale moved his headquarters to Dallas. In 1951, he and his family established the Zale Foundation, providing scholarships and social service grants to minorities and the less fortunate. By 1958, the company changed its name to Zale Corporation, was listed on the
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Stock Exchange and became the world's largest retail jeweler. In honor of Morris and his wife, Edna Lipshy Zale, the family continues to support the community and people of Wichita Falls.
Erected 2016 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 18283.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNotable Buildings. A significant historical date for this entry is March 29, 1924.
Location. 33° 54.785′ N, 98° 29.392′ W. Marker is in Wichita Falls, Texas, in Wichita County. Marker is at the intersection of 8th Street and Ohio Avenue, on the right when traveling east on 8th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 800 Ohio Avenue, Wichita Falls TX 76301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John F. O'Donohue (within shouting distance of this marker); J. A. Kemp Wholesale Grocery Building (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of Gorsline's Fashion Livery Stable (about 400 feet away); Site of St. James Hotel (about 500 feet away); George Alonzo Soule (about 700 feet away); Henry C. Luecke (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Wichita Falls Bank Robbery of 1896 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Charlye Ola Farris (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wichita Falls.
More about this
Original location of Zale Jewelry Store. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 22, 2016
2. Original location of Zale Jewelry Store.
As of the date of this entry being posted, the store is for sale.
Although marker indicates 2015, it was erected in May, 2016.
Also see . . .  Texas State Historical Association article about Morris Bernard Zale. (Submitted on August 12, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Additional keywords. Zales
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 12, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 504 times since then and 78 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 12, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Jul. 22, 2024