A Trip to the Corner Store

The 1910 Colorado Springs City Directory lists 132 retail grocers. This was back before the advent of the household refrigerator. Prior to the shopping carts and turnstiles of the first self-service grocery store. In the days when chicken cost 18 cents a pound and you could get a stalk of celery for a nickel.

This was when there was an independent grocery store on every block in Colorado Springs. Well, at least 132 blocks.

And quite a few of these neighborhood buildings are still around. I took a random sampling of 16 addresses from the 1910 retail grocer listings; only 4 of the original structures have given way to parks and parking lots. The other 12 are still standing. In fact, 2 of those are still serving as local groceries!

Here’s a quick look at some of Colorado Springs’ more interesting historic grocery facades:

717 N. Weber Street, 1904

1910: David Wishart Groceries, Meats & Bakery Goods

Today: Centennial Reproduction Services

749 E. Willamette, pre-1903

1910: George W. Dawes Grocer

Today: The Little Market

1528 N. Tejon Street, 1909

1910: Counts Bros. (Francis M. and Lewis M.) Grocer & Meats

Today: J.V. Bruni & Company 

501 N. Wahsatch, 1904

1910: Charles L. Binkert Grocer & Meats

Today: Stoner’s Coin-Op Laundry

117 E. Fontanero, pre-1900

1910: Thomas J. Morse & John H. White, Grocer & Meats

Today: (in planning) Tamyonka Lofts and The Fontanero Market

Photo Credit and Info for historic photograph at top: copyright Pikes Peak Public Library District. Gift of Clarence Shemwell, Image 001-543. Pictured is Bridger Grocery in 1909. Located at 24 N. Tejon, JH Bridger Wholesale and Retail sold “Groceries, Meats, Poultry, Fruits and Vegetables”. This building is currently home to Blondie’s Nightclub in downtown Colorado Springs.

…..

Resources:

Colorado Springs City Directory, 1903-1910 Volumes.

“Advertisement.” Colorado Springs Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colorado. (January 8, 1910): p. 12.

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25 thoughts on “A Trip to the Corner Store

  1. Nicely written! And I like how you included the credits. It’s pretty amazing how those buildings have not only lasted the test of time, but that they are still serving as a vital part of their communities.

  2. That’s amazing how preserved most of those buildings are! It is so encouraging to see that they have been maintained and are clearly loved! EXCELLENT post!!!

    • Isn’t it wonderful, that so many of these buildings are still around? The 16 listings that I chose for this post were all on the North-ish/East-ish side of Colorado Springs. I may have to go back to the list of 132 and check out how many are still on the South/West side, just for fun. And, thank you!

  3. thanks for checking out my blog and following. love your blog! will be following you from now on! 🙂

    • Isn’t that a great shot? Our regional library has an amazing collection of historic photos, all available to stroll through online. And, me too–I love knowing where a building came from, and what it’s story is.

      • Our house is about twenty years old, so fairly new, but our front door is totally different, old fashioned, heavy wood with eight rectangular panels of patterned glass. It kills me not knowing where it came from!

        There was a short TV series on the ABC (Australia) recently called ‘Who’s been sleeping in my house’ where they dug up the history of some historic houses. Great stuff!

      • How interesting! I would wonder about that door all the time too–so intriguing, the stories of houses…And, that TV show sounds fantastic, I’m going to have to see if they have any episodes available online.

  4. How amazing that so many of them are still standing! The exterior of the store in the first pic seems so “western” to me. Something about the shape of the roof…

    • I know–I really wasn’t expecting to find such a high percentage of the original buildings still around. Colorado Springs has such great pockets of historic architecture though, I shouldn’t be too surprised.

    • Thanks for reading! I love that the corner grocer is making a comeback, with the example of the Fontanero Market reaching back to its roots, renovating and reopening as a neighborhood store again.

  5. Thank you for this wonderful story. I just found this today, many months after you first published it. My great grandfather was Charles (Pops) Binkert who ran the grocery at 501 N. Wahsatch. Although they did not stay long in Colorado Springs, it was special place for Charles and Nora. It is where their two children were born; Roy (1907), my grandfather and his younger brother John (1909). They eventually settled in the Los Angeles area by way of Twin Falls, Idaho and Lake City, Iowa, his home town. He was an independent grocer his entire professional life. Thank you again!

    • What a nice memory! Thank you for reading housestory, and even more so for sharing this great personal piece of the building’s history. I will think of Pops and Nora whenever I drive by this building now!

  6. I can tell you a few things about the grocery store on 117 E. Fonanero. It was still open in the 60s, and had a soda fountain, my sister took me there a few times. I do not think it will be reopened as a business, the neighbors have the final say, and they are mostly against it. One by one, the business in the Old North End are closing, and being converted to single family homes. The building is completely gutted inside, down to the studs and under floor. I tried to buy it earlier this year, but the owner thinks it is worth far more then it is. I wanted to live in it, would have been nice, two turrets, what more could you ask for?

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