Thursday, November 24, 2016

1916 Thanksgiving Grocery Ad Shows Frequent Corner Stores

The Thanksgiving ad from 1916 shows part of the network of old neighborhood grocery stores. I don't think there's any great lesson here, but it is interesting to think about how they were spaced more for walking distances than driving distances.

November 27th, 1916
Here are the businesses and addresses keyed to the current map of Salem.
Hardly any of the storefronts remain, and most of the lots have been redeveloped, either with newer houses or with larger commercial development. While it's not possible at the moment to dive very deeply into any of these, as corner grocery stores in the context of pre-autoist neighborhoods a few are immediately interesting.

Ward Richardson's cabbagery is located on Hickory and Front, right in the footprint of the Salem Alternative. It would have been ruralish in 1916. Melwood's would have been in the old Hollywood neighborhood before urban "renewal," and Harlan's near the train depot before the Hospital razed everything in that neighborhood. The Highland Grocery is right by the old Herbert Hoover house. Schmid's is on the old Geer line. Streetcar routes are nearby many of them, too.

The ad, with its gauzy, swirling pilgrim figure, I read as influenced by art nouveau. If you love design and art history, maybe you'll be able to characterize it better. It's a striking contrast from the more conventional, and somewhat grim, iconography of 1915.

November 20th, 1915
Maybe with war on the horizon, the chopping block wasn't so funny any more.

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