Bill Ferrell Furniture 2025 Leopard St. TU 2-7663 Lester & Leopard.Across from Mario's Barber Shop and slightly across from everyone's favorite greasy spoon Noe's Café. Ok, closer to Gulf Radiator that Noes. This was a big, two story building in 1960s/70s with huge glass windows in front. Even after hurricane Celia Aug 3rd, 1970, new glass put in. I used to go into this place just for the ice cold water, and to look at things our family could not afford. In the mid to late 60s, if we needed furniture, we sometimes got it from Sears up Leopard 6 blocks, as they had Lay Away.
Braslaus was the gorilla in the furniture showroom and probably dominated furniture sales along Leopard in 1960s, I don't know as was a kid. Just observation you know, more important things to do like dig in track receptacles behind these stores and find cool boxes to make forts.
I can tell you I would walk along going to water cooler and Coke machine which was located almost straight back from front door, and sometimes rub my hands on the new couches, chairs, to see the materials. Why? Hell, I don't know but still do it 50+ years later, and probably picking up more germs than legally allowed by law that even antibiotics can't help. But still do it. Caught my dad one night looking thru the windows here, I honestly will never know if he was getting ideas, or looking to buy, just never asked him.
Never saw anyone smoke cigarettes in the building but near back ice water and Coke machines there was I guess a break room, could small the smoke. A cool marketing ploy by Bill Ferrell Furniture was leaving COLOR television sets on almost up against glass. And sound on too. Color TV was a big thing in mid 1960s, few had them, we didn't, none or our neighbors either. So people driving down Leopard see color TV in window, and turn around, stop, and get out of car to check it out at night. Those stood out like a sore thumb at night. Inside it was a maze of couches, tables, chairs, beds, all sorts of nice items including up and coming MOD things for I guess hippies?
"Hey kid! don't touch nuthin!"
We were not allowed to play with black kids "on the other side of freeway"
I-37 was pretty much the wall, fence, whatever wish to call it then, The Cut loomed on other side, and "our side was no blacks" then, Mexicans, white, some Germans, so forth. Funny is that some of the Mexican kids went to Crossley in The Cut. But could not play with some of the kids they went to school with. A number of mommas & poppas had these restrictions, I wondered how many kids in The Cut could not come over to "our side". Well, sometimes those black kids would walk up to Beil's next to Ferrell Furniture. Buy candy, bread, eggs and what not for their folks. And a few times, the kids from "our side" would be sitting side by side with them on the sidewalk watching Flintstones, Gilligan's Island and other funny evening shows after dark. Never a problem. Would have been a problem if momma knew, as would have gotten Mister Belt to my ass you know.
Eventually all good things come to a end, and one day Bill Ferrell Furniture closed. I can't tell you if they moved away like Braslau's did, ok, didn't move, just opened another place near Woolco on Staples in I think Caramel Village across from the then thriving Parkdale Plaza, or just closed up shop. I could not imagine a place existing like that on Leopard street now, big windows, nice televisions near windows on at night, nah, Leopard street abandoned long ago when I was still living there. Maybe why I write about it.
PHOTOS: Photo #1 Bill Ferrell Furniture as it looks today on Leopard, Central Office Equipment. The façade on front bottom changed, smaller windows so guess no smash & grabs. This angle, Beil's would be on the left.
Photo #2. Suddenly I have a craving for Whataburger. This was actual room, orange couches, wall paper looks like stripped from nearby Waurderburger, orange carpet. If you didn't live thru this time, this was called MOD furniture. Ow, my eyes!
Photo #3. Ferrell had not only living room settings, but other room settings like bedrooms. So you could walk into a area, see what everything looked like together. Braslaus also did this as did Suniland up off Staples.
Another story there though. This good looking early 1970s furniture still looks modern today.
Photo #4. Sofas that turn into a bed? What type of sorcery is this? Our Aunt Barbara (of the Barbara Brister clan off Mildred street) had one, and so did out Aunt Kat. As kids, Tommy & me would try to figure out this Rubic's cube.
I walked past a opened one in full bed position in Ferrell's one day, and thought how cool would it be to sleep on that! No springs sticking out of it, no rats run across you when sleep. Ok, the rats would still wake you up when they ran across you, big 4-6 taco sized rats. They probably would have ate new couch too, sigh.
Photo #5. If Bing Crosby says you have to buy a pink La-Z-Boy, you do it. These were extremely popular at not only Ferrell's, but Sears, Braslaus too. I personally liked the ones with wood armrests. The at relatives house, we didn't have stuff like this and didn't know how to act when we sat on them, sometimes rocking them completely over, wheeeee, do it again! You can still find this album on ebay for about $20 new.
Photo #6. I am standing on top of The Hill of Death in 2018 here, before it was torn down part of I-37 mess. Coca Cola in foreground, and straight down Lester Street can see Central Office on Leopard, so can see proximity to our house, which was just off to left in photo.
Photo #7. Bill Ferrell Furniture building from Beil's side (east) you know the Missouri Pacific railroad tracks ran right behind here, the alley still there! It dead ended at Bekin's Moving on doss block away though. For all the times I went in this building of Ferrell's, for the like of me, I can't tell you a damned thing about upstairs, they did have Titanic like stairs to go upstairs, very attractive, but I don't recall going up there, probably just too intimidated as a kid you know, since salesmen "got my eye on you kid!' thing.