Tax Credit Program Highlight: Zales Building

Wichita Falls, Wichita County



Listed in National Register as part of Depot Square Historic District

Historic Use


Current Use

Restaurant and commercial

Total Rehabilitation Cost


Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses


Date Certified

May 19, 2017


Certified for state credits only.


This building was originally constructed in 1884, but is best known for a later occupant. In 1924, Morris Zalefsky opened a jewelry store here, the first of what would become the Zales Jewelers chain, with stores nationwide. Zalefsky was one of many Russian Jewish migrants who came to West Texas during the oil boom of the early 20th century to establish businesses. The company gained success by offering credit plans with $1 weekly repayment, and business expanded rapidly, with 12 additional stores opening in the region by the start of World War II. Company headquarters moved to Dallas in 1946. In recent years, this building was home to other businesses and then abandoned.

Rehabilitation Project

Downtown Wichita Falls Development (DWFD) purchased the building in 2013, as part of its mission to improve downtown. This building sits across the street from the farmers’ market venue, which is a popular downtown attraction. DWFD bought the building in order to rehab the shell and then sell it to a business owner who could finish out the interior, bringing a new business into downtown.

Work completed by DWFD included structural masonry repairs, rebuilding a collapsed roof and ceiling, and replacing non-historic storefronts and windows to better match historic conditions. Notably, the historic prismatic glass transom windows on the two-story building were fully restored.

The building has been sold to a local bakery that will finish it out utilizing the historic preservation tax credits again under a separate application for its project.

Photo Gallery

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  • The first Zales store, circa 1925. (Photo courtesy of Downtown Wichita Falls Development.)