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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Corner Grocery: 1921

Corner Grocery: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921, looking up Georgia Avenue at Howard Place, and Jacob Katzen's grocery, dealer in Velvet Kind ice cream and Whistle. Another Harris & Ewing glass negative from the "traffic" series. View full size.

 

The corner stores

The Ma and Pa corner stores were commonplace in the East. I grew-up in Baltimore during the 1940/50s.

On two blocks of Frederick Ave in SW Balto, the 4 corners were occupied by a pharmacy/soda fountain, a bakery, a grocery store, and a butcher shop. Oh, how I enjoyed the smells of the bakery -- bread, pastries, cakes, and pies. The grocery store was cramped and you had to ask for the items you wanted.

Some of those stores survived into the 70s. On the two blocks I referenced, 3 are gone and the butcher shop is a liquor store. Not the atmosphere of my youth.

Relic of Gentler Times

Although I can recall horses (and their wagons) delivering milk, vending produce, and soliciting scrap in the neighborhoods of some eastern cities as recently as the late '40s, I'd submit that even in 1921 a horse-drawn conveyance used non-commercially was something of an unusual sight on the streets of DC.

Big Gulp

The corner store has been swallowed up by Howard University's School of Social Work:


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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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