Cowtown Yoostabes, Corner Edition: Neighborhood Grocery Stores (Part 2)

Here are some more buildings (see Part 1) that yoostabe neighborhood grocery stores. (At the bottom of this post is a city directory listing of retail grocers in Fort Worth in 1920.)

richmond-at-mayThe corner of West Richmond Avenue and May Street on the near South Side was typical of the golden age of neighborhood grocery stores.: It had more than one grocery store.

richmond-29-cdAt 402 West Richmond was the grocery store of G. H. Williams. Across the street at 407 West Richmond was the grocery store of Mark R. Livesay.

richmond-402-west402 West Richmond Avenue.

richmond-402-west-1927In this ad listing four hundred Fort Worth grocers who sold Ko-Pa no-caffeine beverage in 1927, I have enlarged the listing of G. H. Williams.

richmond-407-westAcross the street is 407 West Richmond Avenue.

richmond-407-livesay-1929Mark R. Livesay sold Kirk’s Original Cocoa Hardware Castile Soap in 1929. So did the stores of Clarence Saunders. Saunders had founded the Piggly Wiggly chain but by 1929 was head of a competing chain.

grocery helpy selfy vickeryThis 1927 building at 2673 East Vickery Boulevard made a career of housing grocery stores. First it was one of Jack Long’s Helpy Selfy stores, then an A&P, a Safeway, and Lee’s Food Market. (Update: This building has been demolished.)

In Fairmount at 1209 West Myrtle Street the front of W. H. Anderson’s store has been restored.

This is the front before restoration.

The new signage reads ” W. U.,” but all newspaper ads and city directory listings are “W. H.”

Other grocery stores listed in this 1931 ad are S. S. Dillow, Turner & Dingee, and Helpy Selfy.

Mrs. Pauline Harlow operated a grocery at 2460 East Rosedale Street across from Sycamore Park.

Mrs. Harlow sold Topp Cola, which appealed to budget-minded youngsters because a bottle contained sixteen ounces for the same price as the ten-ounce soda pops.

watsonstore2Typical of neighborhood grocery stores was the Watson family store on Fitzhugh Street in Poly. This article appeared in the Fort Worth Press in 1964. (Clip from Sherry Newman Mallory.)

The building that housed the Watson store, which survived from 1918 into the 1960s, is gone now. But these buildings survive:

safeway on rosedale 57In 1957 this building at 2918 East Rosedale Street was Safeway store no. 325.

grocery piggly wiggly college1930 pigglyIn 1930 half of the Old Home Supply building on College Avenue in Fairmount, as the ghost sign shows, was Piggly Wiggly store no. 15.

On the near East Side, this building on the corner of Tennessee Avenue at 1201 East Leuda was built about 1911. It long ago lost its face: awning, windows, door.

But almost a century ago Adolph Schilder operated a grocery store in that building. It continued to be a grocery store into the 1930s. Next door lived ex-slave Hattie Cole.

grocery 614 nw 22 1930 bolesIn the 1930s this was the neighborhood grocery of A. B. Boles on Northwest 22nd Street on the North Side. A false front on an old wooden building such as this one is an indication that the building once housed a business. The name of the business was printed in large letters at the top.

4704 bryceOn the West Side the building that today houses Carter Bowden Antiques at 4704 Bryce Avenue at Camp Bowie Boulevard was Donley & Walker Grocery & Variety Store in the 1920s and 1930s.

grocery bransoms thrifty withitaBransom’s Thrifty Supermarket on Wichita Street near Oaklawn Elementary School.

grocery nashvilleOn Nashville Avenue at Avenue B across from Meissner Funeral Home, this was an F&M Food Market.

grocery mitchell villageAt Mitchell and East Berry streets, the Village Food Mart is now a church.

grocery a.l. davis berryOn East Berry Street, this was an A. L. Davis supermarket.

Here are three more from a time when people went to the corner market, not the Central Market:

corner markets(Top) Another false-front building. William Peavler opened a grocery store across from D. McRae Elementary School at the corner of Millet and Bishop streets in 1920 in a building dating to 1915. It is now a residence.

(Center) John Beckelman ran his grocery store on Little Street from 1932 to 1953. He lived next door.

(Bottom) W. R. Hester, among others, ran a grocery store across Alston Avenue from Daggett Elementary School in a building dating to 1922. In 1923 the grocery store in that building was owned by Samuel J. Sammons, a Confederate veteran.

yoostabe collupIts footprint looks tiny now, considering the treasures it once held. This is the foundation of William B. Collup’s grocery and market at the corner of Bishop Street and Avenue N, across the street from D. McRae Elementary School.

collupThe writing on the left wall is: “W.B. Collup Gro. & Mkt./Ernest McGhee/and His Showband/Coming Soon.” Ernest McGhee is a veteran local musician. (Photo from Tarrant County Historic Resources Survey.)

yoostabe cards

They tell me that Collup’s sold groceries. But many of us boys knew Collup’s as the nearest fix for our addiction: baseball cards. I diverted all my lunch money from the cafeteria at D. McRae to the cash register of Collup’s for six years, buying baseball cards (and that gum you could shingle a roof with). I graduated weighing only eighty-seven pounds, but by God and Gehrig, I had me a genuine Mickey Mantle card! Of course, for every Mickey Mantle I unwrapped, I unwrapped seventy Joe Nuxhalls.

Neighborhood grocery stores are largely history now. But some of the buildings where they yoostabe remain, reminding us of a time when doctors made house calls, drugstores had soda fountains, gas stations were full-service, and heroes batted cleanup in Yankee Stadium.

Below is the 1920 city directory listing of neighborhood grocery stores in Fort Worth. These stores were overwhelmingly mom-and-pop operations. There was only one national chain: Piggly Wiggly had three stores, and they were in residential neighborhoods and small in comparison with today’s chain stores. The other two companies with more than one store in 1920—Turner & Dingee and Sandegard—were locally owned.


More posts on grocery stores:
Cowtown Yoostabes: Five of a Kind and a Sole Owner of My Name
Cowtown Yoostabes: Jack Long Helped Those Who Helped Themselves

This entry was posted in Cowtown Yoostabes, Downtown, All Around, East Side, Life in the Past Lane, South Side. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Cowtown Yoostabes, Corner Edition: Neighborhood Grocery Stores (Part 2)

  1. Don Young says:

    Do you have any info at all about Tanners Market in Meadowbrook on Hampshire Blvd?

    • hometown says:

      Don, not much. Joel Haskins Tanner (1893-1992) on his draft card in 1942 listed his occupation as owner of Tanner’s Food Store at 5051 Hampshire.
      Tanner Grocery and Market did not advertise much in the Star-Telegram. I find the store listed (just name and address) in ads for multiple grocers in 1949-1950. Wife Georgia worked in the store as a clerk. The Tanners lived next door.
      Tanner still owned the store in 1969. He was living in Austin when he died. His obit does not mention the store. He was a Navy vet of WWI.
      He is buried in Mount Olivet.
      After Tanner the store at that address went through several owners. A 1979 aerial photo seems to show the Tanner store building replaced by a smaller building or reduced in size. By at least 2001 the Tanner residence was demolished.
      In 2002 store owner Tadesse K. Gabena was fatally shot in a holdup.

  2. Terry Valderas says:

    I lived at 1450 Wetherbee (now West Allen) in the 80’s when it was a music studio. It was formerly Griffith Brothers Grocer in the early 1900’s which became Turner Dingee Store #3. The owner told us it was a small community grocer in Fairmont all through to the 70’s when it fell into disrepair and was remodeled into a recording studio. It is now a high dollar loft and the address changed to Fairmont. It’s a great old building haunted by the shoppers of the past!
    By the way, I read this blog every day and have for the past two years since I’ve been back in Cowtown. Also have your great book! Hope to see you on the bike trails sometime, Mike! Keep up the stellar work…

    • hometown says:

      Terry, thank you for your kind words. And for the reminder: I included the building in a post on old signs but forgot to include it in this post on neighborhood grocery stores. I have added it to Part 1.

  3. JS says:

    In the 70s, I grew up going to the store you mention on Alston Ave across from Daggett Elem. We called it the Little Store (as opposed to Tiny Mart two blocks away on College Ave). Would love to see some vintage pictures, but having trouble finding any online.

    • hometown says:

      I find no mention of it in Michael McDermott’s book on Fairmount. The first grocer I find listed there was Samuel J. Sammons in 1923. He was a Confederate veteran.

  4. Beth Fitzgerald says:

    Tillery’s Grocery Store on Forest Park Blvd was a great independent grocer. Building is still in great condition located on the corner of Forest Park Blvd and Huntington Ln. Home of Griffith, Jay & Michel, LLP.

    • hometown says:

      There must have been hundreds of such small stores at one time and dozens of their buildings still standing. I grew up on the East Side and am personally familiar with only a handful that were in my neighborhood. But as I explore other parts of town I see little buildings that “look” like they could have been a neighborhood store in another life.

  5. nancy brownlee says:

    Miller and Hanger Grocery persisted into the late 1960s in the 4100 block of Camp Bowie- next to Mott’s. My step-dad’s shop (Vernon’s) was at 4100, and all the stores in that 3-block stretch were the small businesses people needed to live their lives- a grocery, a bakery (Harper’s Bluebonnet), dry cleaners, a small florist’s, a little jeweler, a shoe repair, a hairdresser’s (us!), a barber- and Rockyfeller’s! Now it’s gentrified beyond all comfort, mostly antique stores. A person could starve to death.
    I lived in Poly when I was younger, and wore a track between my grandmother’s house and Bransom’s. There was Galloway’s on Wichita, too- catty-corner from Oak Lawn. The building is long gone.
    I love your blog, Mike, even if I do get misty, sometimes.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Nancy. The older I get, the more my memories of childhood resemble a “Little Rascals” comedy”: Was there ever really such a simple time of small neighborhood grocery stores, lightning bugs, horny toads, muscle-powered lawnmowers, metal roller skates and chalk hopscotch grids on sidewalks, returnable pop bottles, home delivery of milk and bread, the Fort Worth Shopper, the Poly Herald, the Fort Worth Press, and 49-cent turtles at Mott’s?

  6. Tim Hatcher says:

    Crowder is the name! Thanks for correcting me. “Crocker” didn’t sound quite right, I realize. I see in Google Maps that the building seems to have been replaced. Do you happen to know when the Crowder store closed?

    • hometown says:

      Tim, it was still there in the 1971 city directory. That is the latest city directory I have access to.

  7. Tim Hatcher says:

    Loved reading this post! Brought back memories of a small grocery store in Ridglea in the early 60s, near the vicinity of Tex Blvd and Hemsell (a residential neighborhood). Seems like it may have been a converted garage, rather than a more formal structure, and was run by a Mr. Crocker, if memory serves correctly. We called it “Crocker’s Store” and would walk to it occasionally to buy snacks and sodas. I have never found info about it anywhere on the web.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Tim. I have wondered if some of the small stores situated on the short side of a residential block beside an alley were converted garages. By the way, there was a Crowder grocery store owned by Albert R. Crowder Jr. at 3316A Olive Place near the area you remember.

  8. Doug Sutherland says:

    In the 40’s and 50’s there were 3 neighborhood groceries in a 300′ span. Hotop’s at 3246 S Adams, Woodall’s at 1008 Shaw and Blue Ribbon “Walter’s” at 1008 Shaw. All structures are still there and in good condition.

    • hometown says:

      It was the same in Poly, Doug, in the 1950s. I don’t know how they competed with each other and with the larger stores such as A. L. Davis, Worth Food Mart, Houlihan’s, and, of course, Buddie’s. Some were no larger than a two-car garage.

  9. Thaddeus says:

    I don’t Harlow’s Grocery, Jack and Florence Elizabeth Harlow. 2460 E. Rosedale, in Poly?

    • hometown says:

      Thaddeus, I remember Harlow’s. As a kid I bought sixteen-ounce Topp Cola sodas there when playing baseball at Sycamore Park. When it comes to any aspect of Fort Worth history, space (and limited reader interest) always makes any sampling incomplete.

  10. Michael Lavender says:

    I lived on Crouch St., about a block from the A. L Davis store. It was just across the street (then Tarrant Road) from what I think was a YMCA at the corner of Edgewood Terrace and Tarrant road.
    Walking to the store was high adventure for me in the 50’s.

    • hometown says:

      Michael, I remember my family shopping at that A. L. Davis, probably as we were going to the family farm south of Arlington before the lake was built.

  11. Ramiro Garza says:

    Hi Mike. Thanks, brought back many memories. I spent my middle school to high school years at that store on Wichita St. Mom (and sometimes dad when he wanted to check out the meat department) would shop there for our daily bread (unless mom made tortillas, ha). Sometimes a cute cashier would be working and I would go in, but mostly I waited in the car for what seemed forever (mom liked getting out of the house)

    • hometown says:

      I was not in that store often, but for some reason I associate it with Gerry Elser, a big guy I played East Side baseball with. He probably went to Forest Oak. I musta seen him in that store once.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *