Gone, but not forgotten
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse rodeo was quite an event in Georgetown during the 1950s. Folks looked forward to activities such as “Western Week,” when members of the Sheriff’s Posse patrolled the square on horseback. Folks found not wearing western clothes were “arrested” and thrown in the makeshift “jail” erected on the courthouse lawn. Locals flocked to Gold’s Department Store on the square to stock up on western wear all year long—but especially before rodeo time.
Gold’s featured one of the largest hat selections in Central Texas and hand-blocked the lids right on the premises. Whether the hat was a Rancher, Cattleman, Open, Rodeo, Telescope, or another popular shape, Gold’s used steam and millinery skills to handcraft custom creases into the hats. This tedious process involved measuring, steaming, and drying to achieve just the right look. Gold’s also put names on western belts, a special service in those days. “I remember that the store always smelled like leather when you walked in,” recalls longtime Georgetown resident Patsy Bracamontez, who visited the store as a girl. “It was the department store for western wear. Come to think of it, was the department store in Georgetown, period.”
The first Gold’s Department store was opened in Bartlett in the early 1900s by I. Gold, who came to Texas from New York as a boy, intending to become a clothing salesman.
Cut from the same cloth, Gold’s son, Harry, heard Georgetown’s call and opened the 105 W. 7th Street (the north side of the Square) store in 1936. Gold’s Department Store enjoyed great success and expanded several times during its seven decades in business, including adding an upstairs area. According to historian Donna Scarbrough Josey, Harry Gold also restored the building’s original storefront, using existing photographs as his guide.
More than a decade after the store closed its doors, Georgetown still remembers Gold’s.