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The 'Super Market': 1940

The 'Super Market': 1940

May 1940. "The 'super market' in Durham, North Carolina." Back when self-service groceries were enough of a novelty that photographers put the name for them in quote marks. 35mm nitrate negative by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

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Broadway Taxi

Broadway Taxi changed its name to Broadway Yellow Cab in the 1970s, and was still operating in the mid 1980s -- its depot was on Hunt Street.

Super A&P Market

The big sign on the roof looks like steel-embossed and porcelain enameled panels. They last forever. An unmolested version is a very sought after commodity today.

Coffee

"How I miss Bokar Coffee"
There was also a stronger brew -- Rokah.
Check my math.

[Your math does not add up! - Dave]

Not so fast, Broadway!

Gimme a minute to write down that phone number.

8 O'Clock

My memory goes back to when I was about 3, and my parents would take my maternal grandmother (she didn't drive) to the A&P in tiny New Freedom, Pa. I would gravitate quickly to the 8 O'Clock grinder area just to smell the coffee being ground.

Here I am now, at 74, typing out this memory, and I'm sipping a mug of 8 O'Clock Original. Just think of me as "hooked for life."

A Night to Remember

by Walter Lord was on the paperback carousel at the A&P on 11th Street in Waco, Texas, in 1955 -- my first exposure to the Titanic tragedy. I mentioned it to my mother and she told me she was 10 when it sank. She added it to her tab before checking out, and I was hooked on Titanic from that point on.

Much obliged

... to archfan for the info. I am aware of the many recipes for "original" Spanish Bar Cake and have a few stored in my recipe file. A friend made one for me some years ago and the result was, shall we say, close but no cigar. Since we know that certain childhood memories are far more likely to be emotional than factual, it's possible that nothing not bought at the A&P, rung up with one of those gloriously chunk-kachunky cash registers and coming from my mother's hand will do it for me. But I do plan to make the recipe that I think would most approximate what I remember, and if it truly does the job, I will report back. As for Jane Parker, all I can say is that she's got her nerve charging $36 for that. Nope!

Shopping for nostalgia

AleHouseMug - A coffee roaster in Burbank has bought the rights to Bokar Coffee and has attempted to recreate the taste.

JennyPennifer There are multiple recipes for Spanish Bar Cake, if you bake. Or you can order one directly from the Jane Parker Bakery. They supplied the cakes to A&P originally, and claim to be using the original recipe now. The only downside is that they cost much more than what you paid at A&P.

Y'all are on your own for those home killed fryers.

A&P cake ad

I remember it well

The A&P will forever be to me one item: Spanish Bar Cake. Every now and then Mama would buy one -- dark, spicy, applesaucy cake studded with raisins and nuts and coated with a generous layer of cream cheese icing featuring a fork-tine design that resembled corduroy. We couldn't wait for a thick hunk of that cake to land in our hands. To smell it was almost as good as to taste it.

I love this photo

And it looks for all the world like the building and market that was used in the movie "Driving Miss Daisy." I remember when most "supermarkets" looked like this - I was born in 1945 and I remember as early as 1948 going with my mother to the local Kroger store that was in a building smaller than this one. Great photo. More, more.

Back when ...

... you could park your bicycle on a sidewalk without a lock.

Three Blends

How I miss Bokar Coffee.

Your meter is running

Even the cabbie couldn't pass up the home killed chickens! Love the brush lettering. Reminds me of my old Speedball text book. We used to go shopping with dad at the A&P when we lived in Cockeysville, MD in the early 60's. I can still smell the coffee when you passed the grinder! They had an A&P in Mathews, VA when my folks moved there in the mid-70's.

Tasty Times

Because who doesn't remember fondly when advertising Fryers as being "Home Killed" wasn't seen as a major selling point?

Long gone now

A&P Supermarkets dominated Durham all the way into the 70's. Here is a little history of this one on Rigsbee:

https://www.opendurham.org/buildings/rigsbee-avenue-super-market

I sometimes park here

As J. W. Wright pointed out, the A&P at the corner of Rigsbee & E Chapel Hill is now a parking deck. The Post Office across the street is unchanged, and seems to be in good shape.

There were about a dozen A&P stores in Durham in 1940, but most were the old-fashioned small stores, not the new-fangled super markets.

That's the Post Office in the background.

The current location of the old A&P is now a parking deck.

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