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History and Commercial Archaeology of Chain Supermarkets and Other Retailers

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 Post subject: Andrew Williams shopping center oakland
PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr 2009 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri 03 Apr 2009 11:26 am
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Does anyone have a photo of the old Andrew Williams shopping center at Broadway and MacArthur Blvd in Oakland. It was torn down in about 1963 to make way for the MB Center which is now on the location. This will shortly be torn down to be replaced by the new Kaiser Hospital.

I live nearby and grew up with the center in my neighborhood. I would enjoy seeing a picture of the old center.

Thanks for your assistance.


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 Post subject: Re: Andrew Williams shopping center oakland
PostPosted: Thu 14 May 2009 4:16 am 
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Joined: Thu 10 Aug 2006 2:43 am
Posts: 115
See the following link for some discussion about the 1930s Andrew Williams shopping center and the M/B Center that replaced it in the mid-1960s: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=1257&p=7679
I recall seeing a photo (not high quality) of the Andrew Williams shopping center in the Oakland Tribune Yearbook for 1939, 1940, 1941 or 1942. As you know, it was located at the intersection of U.S. 50 (today's I-580) and State Route 24. U.S. 50 (MacArthur Boulevard, then known as "Moss" street) was a major access road to the Bay Bridge that had just opened in 1936. State Route 24 was and is the main highway connecting Walnut Creek and central Contra Costa County to Oakland; the Caldecott Tunnel (then known as the Broadway Low Tunnel) had just opened in 1937. The shopping center (one of the first supermarkets in the U.S. to have a parking lot) likely was located there in the late 1930s to take advantage of the new traffic patterns related to the openings of the Bay Bridge and Caldecott Tunnel.
If you have any memories of the Oakland Andrew Williams store, please post them on this board. Many readers would be interested to learn details about shopping at this pioneering supermarket.


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 Post subject: Re: Andrew Williams shopping center oakland
PostPosted: Sat 09 Jan 2010 5:23 am 
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Joined: Thu 10 Aug 2006 2:43 am
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The story of the Andrew Williams supermarket at MacArthur (then known as "Moss") and Broadway in Oakland, Calif. (operated from 1937 to circa 1963) is a rich one. It truly appears to have been a pioneering "supermarket" in northern California.

It opened on or about March 20, 1937. It was open for business 24 hours per day, a practice that was almost unheard of in the early 20th century. The owners are said to have stopped their automobile on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (then open for just a few months) and to have tossed the keys to the store doors into San Francisco Bay to dramatize their opening hours (presumably a store that is always open never needs a locked door). At the opening in 1937, the store advertised that it offered 20,000 food and drug items in fourteen departments. Its moniker was "the Smart Place to Save." In 1942, its advertisements touted its three parking lots -- many grocery stores in that era had no off-street parking.

An advertisement for the fifth anniversary of the Oakland Andrew Williams supermarket in the Oakland Tribune of March 20, 1942 referred to the store as "one of the largest one-stop food centers in the United States."

By 1947. Andrew Williams had a branch supermarket on Paseo Grande in San Lorenzo, a rapidly-growing unincorporated community in southern Alameda County. Its advertisements touted "OVER 20,000 COMMODITIES ON DISPLAY."

A 1949 advertisement for the Oakland Andrew Williams supermarket promoted its "pre-packaged, self-service fresh meats."


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