Detroit Sneak Preview

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Groceteria
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Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by Groceteria » 11 Nov 2019 21:27

I'm still working in this section and will be adding maps, photos, and more location lists for some suburbs, but here's a sneak peek:

Detroit Chain Grocery/Supermarket Locations, 1930-1974 and 2003

Detroit Area Timeline

This will likely be the biggest location list I will ever do, because the only four cities that were larger than Detroit through most of the 20th century (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles) did not have city directories published after the late 1930s or early 1940s. There are over 2200 addresses and some of them required some extensive cross-checking. This was a major project and I'm quite proud of it.

Enjoy. I'll try to get the rest posted shortly and give it an official premiere.

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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by mburb1981 » 15 Nov 2019 20:56

Amazing job! You've included the entire city of Detroit, and with the enclave cities and the Grosse Pointes too! You sure are accurate in how big Detroit was, as it reached a peak population of almost two million in 1950. I have a few additional notes for your consideration:

*Detroit underwent a citywide address renumbering that took effect on New Year's Day 1921.
*About the street suffixes, yeah, both Detroit and many of it's suburbs have long preferred not to, in most cases, include suffixes on their street name corner signs.
*The same PDF document where I found the opening dates for Meijer's Toledo-area stores also lists these opening dates for their city of Detroit stores: 1301 West Eight Mile Road opened in 2013, and 21431 Grand River Avenue opened on June 14, 2015.

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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by Groceteria » 16 Nov 2019 12:15

Thanks! I'll update as appropriate.

There's still a lot more to come in this section, including photos, maps, and some suburban additions, among other things, but I'm taking a break this weekend.

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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by mburb1981 » 29 Nov 2019 15:39

Was going to post this on my thread, but this will do. For when you add my Downriver communities lists, I have stumbled upon a Kroger that I didn't even know exist:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/92760331@ ... datetaken/

Southgate's very first Kroger store opened at 14803-14807 Dix-Toledo in the 1950's, back when the area was still Ecorse Township. It lasted into the 60's and became Curly's Fruit Market between the 1970's and 1990's before being demolished for a Carraba's restaurant.

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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by Groceteria » 04 Dec 2019 20:27

For those who are interested, I'm starting to add my Detroit photos to the site:

https://www.groceteria.com/place/us-mic ... o-gallery/

Should be finished by the weekend.

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Andrew T.
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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by Andrew T. » 04 Dec 2019 23:15

Excellent!
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by rich » 08 Dec 2019 11:12

You're missing some Farmer Jack (and possibly Food Fair locations)---it may be that they didn't provide complete info in their directory listings. They had a long running store that went up after the '67 riots on 12th Street/Rosa Parks, that you have only for 2003. They also had a store on Wyoming near Seven Mile that would have dated to the 60s. I would guess there were other that weren't captured. In general, I'm kindof surprised there weren't more supers in the 50s/60s around key business districts like Grand River/Greenfield, Livernois/Seven Mile and Grand River/McNichols/Lahser in Redford. One would have expected 3-4 chains to be in and around those places. I wonder if the chains had a norm of under reporting. Some chains didn't publish listings of their individual stores in the yellow or white pages, either.

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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by Groceteria » 12 Dec 2019 21:22

These 2200-plus addresses have already involved literally WEEKS of work, two trips to Detroit, hours spent in a library with no HVAC in an August heatwave, and MORE hours individually cross-checking hundreds of missing C.F. Smith locations from 1935 in a colder version of that same library. This is how I spend my vacation. From my job. As a librarian.

I very much appreciate those of you who have actually recognized all that effort. I don't do this for the adoration, but because I like it. All the same, it's nice to feel that people appreciate the effort, even when it may sometimes be only 95% correct/compete. Suggestions are welcome. I want to get things right. But a little acknowledgement of what's already been done is nice, too.

I DO currently have access to the full Free Press archives, which is something that's not true for most cities, so I'm augmenting where possible and where there are things that jump out. In the later years, though, stores were often less likely to list addresses in their ads, particularly in big cities, so that will be hit and miss.

The city directories generally had some level of canvassing as part of the process, which makes them far more reliable and consistent than phone books (which are essentially useless) but there are always issues, again particularly in bigger cities. Unfortunately, I do not have access to the full directories for cross-checking addresses as they have not been digitized and I don't live anywhere near Detroit and will not likely be returning there till after the spring thaw.

So Detroit will continue to be a work in progress. I have to take a little break from it now because I've been looking at it for so long. I'm going to work on another city for a while and then take my holiday vacation (which will NOT be spent in the Detroit Public Library, with or without HVAC) and I'll be back to finish up this section after the first of the year.

Until then, most of the Detroit section is done anyway:

https://www.groceteria.com/place/us-michigan/detroit/

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Re: Detroit Sneak Preview

Post by rich » 13 Dec 2019 17:10

In the distant past, I've done various kinds of geographically-based estimates and distributions of various things---city directories were good for residential and multi-family (they would enumerate these well even if no one was identified as a resident/tenant) housing, but the commercial stuff could be inconsistent and they seemed to rely on chain retailers and other businesses to buy listings and could be lax when they didn't.

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