JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Corner Grocery: 1941

September 1941. "Grocery store on main street of Ranchester in the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming." Photo by Marion Post Wolcott for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

September 1941. "Grocery store on main street of Ranchester in the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming." Photo by Marion Post Wolcott for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

The Horse That Couldn't Be Ridden

I was surprised to see Steamboat the buckin' bronc on Wyoming license plates as far back as '41. As it turns out, Wyoming placed the famed steed on their tags in 1936, and it's the world's longest-running license plate motif!

in focus

And yes, notinfocus, the credit card was offered by a gasoline company.
Origin and History of Credit Cards

Old Streetview Shows Possible Fire Hydrant

I believe it is corner of Main and Dayton as noted in a previous comment. If you virtually "drive" down Main, streetview switches to 2007 pics. Then turn around and just go to up the intersection. Look at the building and you'll see this. It looks like a derelict fire hydrant at the corner of the building.

I'm not that old

But as a boy in the early 1960s, I still remember small rural stores with those swinging screen doors. To this day I can still hear the creaking sound they made as they opened, then slammed closed by a long spring attached to the center section. It makes me smile :-)


This actually appears to be in Dayton, a few miles west of Ranchester. I've noticed previous instances where the photographer, after visiting dozens of towns during a day's shooting, might get a bit off track and maybe misidentify a town as the previous one, or some such.

If you go to this location and zoom in you'll see that the bridge in the distance matches. And, the window pattern and front entryway of the brown house appear to match the 2-story white house just past the gas station.

Interesting that the doorway of the gas station and the structure that replaced it are both on the diagonal. I can't imagine it's the same building, but maybe they reused the foundation.

Had to Wiki some

SOCONY => Standard Oil Company of New York.

Vacuum Oil => seems to allude to the destillation of crude oil.

Credit cards. Anybody remember the why the numbers were embossed? Signing cabon copy credit card slips after they have been run through an imprinter?

One stop shop?

Perhaps the man in the hat is the proprietor of the Corner Grocery and Mobilgas, and perhaps he is also the sheriff. Then he could fill your grocery order while he fills your gas tank while he writes you a ticket for parking too near the hydrant. Might as well get one of those cherry nut ice creams advertised on the sign while you're there.

Possible current location shot

From Google Streetview. Corner of Main and Dayton. Ranchester, Wyoming.

Way out west

Legs that far apart have spent a lot of time on a horse.

I think they did start as a gasoline company thing.

By the early 50s my father had Gulf and Texaco cards. I didn't hear of Visa/Mastercard/etc until many years later.

Fire Suppression

There's a lot going on in this photo. Signage, gas pumps, old cars and the credit cards that I didn't know existed so early. What caught my eye was the fire hydrant. I live forty miles south of Boston and we have no hydrants. Piped water isn't available here and it's not as rural as it seems.


A sign just like the credit card sign, but a little worse for wear, is available on ebay right now.

Needs a nose job

The deviated septum on the lead auto will probably produce a snoring problem when it's garaged. If it's ever seen a garage, that is.

Loyal to his brand.

The Corner Grocery advertises Lee Jeans but the gent under the sign is wearing his tried and true Levi's.

Give the fire hydrant a ticket?

No fire hydrant shall park within 15 feet in either direction of any vehicle for any period of time.


We visited there on our cross-country trailer trip in 1976. We decided to stay in nearby Sheridan, and tackle the Big Horns in the morning. I recall the town looked a lot like it does in this photo. We went to church there and found a congregation of nice, friendly people. The church was old, and a mishmash of styles, but it had central air! Thanks for the memory.

Credit cards

I'm embarrassed to realize I don't know anything about the history of credit cards. So they used them in 1941! I thought they were a new thing in the late '70s when I first got one. Maybe they were a gasoline company offering at first?

Roaming in Wyoming

Instead of sitting here in front of my screen, nipping out from work to check Shorpy, I’d rather be in a car on that dirt road. I’d drive across the bridge in the distance (over the Tongue River?), then turn around and come back over the bridge even slower than before, then I’d pull off the road, listening to the gravel crunching under the tires, to fill up from the Mobilgas pump, only because the red Pegasus is more cool than the Metro pump. Then I’ll wake up and find myself back at work in 2021.

What a gold mine of old signs.

Being a minor collector of old advertising memorabilia. A veritable windfall if I could go back in time with $50.

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Accessibility Statement | Site © 2023 Shorpy Inc.