Thursday, September 22, 2011

The J.W. Crook Grocery Store on Edmundson Avenue

I always liked this photo that I found on the Pratt Library website some time ago. It reminds me of the neighborhood I grew up in and how everyone always congregated around the corner stores.

J.W. Crook Stores Co. 1929 From the Digital Collections at Enoch Pratt Free Library
 By the time I was growing up, these corner stores where dying off along with the City itself. The 60's and 70's brought many changes to Baltimore. The industries that supported our city started to leave or go under and little stores like this one became huge chains with "super" stores.
I remember going up to the corner store in Medfield called Rudy's to get freshly butchered meats with my mother or to buy penny candies with my friends. The owners knew us all by name, so if one of us "took" something, it would get back to our parents fast!
J.W. Crook Stores Co. was among one of the first grocery store chains in Baltimore. I found several listings for this chain in the 1922 Polk's Directory for Baltimore. Note the sign on the front of the store at 1626 Edmondson Avenue in this picture. It says "Stores Everywhere". Little did they know what was to come. This row of houses is now all boarded up and dilapidated much like the rest of the West side. I look at this picture and wonder where these people might be now. The children in the picture must still be alive. I wonder if they ever come back to the "old neighborhood". If they do, it must be sad for them. It makes me sad just to compare the "then and now" photos.

Screen shot from Google Maps from a similar perspective.

Photo I took in early Sept 2011

Check out the Digital Collections at Pratt Library here:
Digital Collections at Pratt Library
Take a look at some old and rare Baltimore City Directories:
Baltimore City Directories at University of Maryland


bigshawndatruckr said...

I Googled the term "Ghost Signs" after viewing decals from an outfit that makes them for railroad hobbyists & UR site was the 1ST with pictures. As I was scrolling through the pics I saw this one and thought that must be Baltimore! I lived in the city as a youngster, before crime & blight forced us to flee to the rural suburbs. Nice pics! The Pratt has a great archive! Here's a video I saw on YouTube last year of Baltimore & the metro area.

BaltoGirl said...

Hi bigshawndatruckr,

You might like my flickr set "Baltimore Ghost Signs". Take a look:

I plan on posting to my blog using some of these pictures. Check back in few days. Thanks for the video link!