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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Cocoa Island: 1935

Cocoa Island: 1935

Washington, D.C., circa 1935. "Interior of D.G.S." The District Grocery Store at Seventh and E streets S.W. You'll come for the savings and stay for the sawdust! 8x10 acetate negative, National Photo Company Collection. View full size.

 

Hey I'm not that old

And I remember sawdust on the floors of the supermarket! (At least on rainy days.) Specifically Market Basket in Massachusetts, in the 1990s. It was always such a mob scene there, it was my least favorite place to go shopping as a kid. They don't have sawdust on the floors anymore but the stores are still wonderfully low fi and retro in style. They haven't updated the employee 'uniforms' since the 1970s at least.

Is that lye I spy behind the bakery counter? And penny candy on the far end of the island?

Got Pep??

Beautiful place to do your grocery shopping, everything is neat as a pin...except one item. One box of Kellogg's Pep cereal is upside down. And to the "elf rising" comment all I can say is this, surely(hopefully)that was not a lagitimate question.

Elf rising.

Elf rising (paper sacks). What does it mean? Uprising? Opressed elves uprised? It sounds funny for me, really.

[Self-rising flour. - tterrace]

corner market

I well remember sliding around on the saw dust with my mother chatted with the butcher. As well as the free bologna slice.And the produce man washing the field dirt off the vegetables in a big white claw foot bathtub in the stock room.
I think they could stack lose eggs deep in a box like that because the shells where thicker back then. The broken wasted eggs I see in "protective cartons" at the market nowadays is amazing, what a waste.
Hey, I found the white bread, but I don't see were they put the chips and salsa!

Where's My Shopping List?

Wow, I'm surprised to see that Bisquick and Milk-Bone were aound back then. Bisquick seems lke such a 60's product. The Hershey's Cocoa box hasn't changed much.

It must have been a headache to keep all those cans and rows so straight and perfect.

Re: Campbell Soup Cans

For rich.n If you did not know this, there is currently a limited selection of their tomato soup with four different Andy Warhol repro labels in the exact colors Warhol used in his famous artwork which is quite unique. I found mine at Target but don't know who else carries them. Very nifty to display in your kitchen, just FYI.
P.S. I don't know how long their shelf life would be.

Deco-catessen

Love those art deco light globes, as well as the very precise and graphic regimentation of all the cans and bottles on the shelves -- I think Busby Berkeley may have had a hand in "staging" that display. Also, if Oxydol will consider reviving that art moderne package now, I'll take a whole case!

Light fixtures

I imagine those would bring a few bucks on eBay these days!

Egg Pressure

Who knew you could pile eggs that deep without breaking the ones on the bottom.

I'm not cleanin' that up!

I remember as a kid that we would spend our time "ice skating" around the floor at the local butcher while mom shopped. But then again, we did not have a large crate of eggs on the floor!

Washington Flour

Wilkins-Rogers Milling Company was located on the Georgetown waterfront. The building was converted to condominiums in the 1970's, but the company lives on with a mill in Ellicott City, Md.

In the 1950's, four brands were advertised together under the banner "Home Town Products." They were Washington Flour, Wilkins Coffee, Mann's Potato Chips and Schindler's Peanut Butter. Later, Wilkins Coffee TV commercials brought the Muppets early fame.

Sawdust and Tabs

I have a dollar with me so I'll have a box of Rice Krispies, Hershey's Cocoa, a box of Milk Bone and some Oxydol.
Oh wait a minute. Those cakes look good too. I'll take one of them and put the total on my tab.

I am old enough to remember sawdust floor supermarkets, but just barely. My grandmother lived in Brooklyn, New York City and had a supermarket named Packers which did that. They cleaned up their floors by the late 1960's.

She also had a corner grocer with a store like this. He had no sawdust but he did run a tab. When she wanted to watch her boring soap operas, she would send me to that corner grocer to buy a pint of ice cream. By the time I walked to the corner, picked a flavor, they wrote it down, gave me the box, and I walked back to her apartment, got a spoon, and ate it, the soap opera was over. It was a very smart way to shut a 5 year old up.

Campbell's Soup Can Genius

In this form of grocery store you can see the genius of Campbell's can labels. Very distinct as they line the back walls of the store.

Brings Back Memories

I remember going to the grocery store with my mother and she would buy her meat from a display just like this one. There would be someone behind the counter and Mother would make her selection. The worker would weigh it, then wrap it in white paper, and place the price on the paper. I remember how strange it was when she began to select her own prepackaged meat from an open display.

Sawdust on the floors

Common use for sawdust in grocery stores/butcher shops (and bars) was to absorb dirt and liquids and thus easier to clean up. Does not sound very sanitary and is probably one reason its use being discontinued... and needless to say fire marshalls had something to do with stopping this practice too.

 
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