Road trip alert

Big road trip a-comin’

Since I’m doing a conference presentation in Cleveland the second week in April, I decided it would be a good jumping off point for a midwestern road trip where I’ll visit some old friends, do a big chunk of research, spend time in a city I’ve been wanting to explore more extensively for twenty years, and cover some new territory.

The intinerary:

  • Cleveland: Conference presentation and sadly not much else, but Cleveland is (relatively) close by and I get there somewhat regularly anyway.
  • Milwaukee: First visit since 1998. I’ve been threatening to spend some time there ever since and this is my chance. I’ll also be visiting a friend who recently relocated about forty miles away. I’ll also put in some time at the library, naturally.
  • Grand Rapids: I’ve never been there despite the fact that there was one point where we almost moved there when I was a youngster. I’ll be visiting an old friend from San Francisco I haven’t seen since 2006 or so.
  • Fort Wayne: This will be the hardcore research portion of the trip. There is a wonderful place there called the Genealogy Center. I don’t do genealogy, but I use many of the same tools for¬†Groceteria. This place has a massive collection of print city directories (my primary tool) that fills in many of the (very numerous) holes in Ancestry’s collection. I’ve planned two days. I am a big geek. Plus I haven’t been there since 1997 either.

I’d also planned to spend a few days in Detroit/Windsor, but I’m backing off on that for now because I have too much going on here to be gone for that long and because I’d like to spend more time there. Thus I may merge this with the annual Thanksgiving road trip to Canada this year.

Anyhow follow Groceteria on Twitter for real-time updates. Recommendations on things to see welcome.

One thought on “Road trip alert

  1. Rich

    April 3, 2019 at 12:36pm

    You should try Toledo. I don’t think any place has been such a graveyard of old chains, and with the Toledo Blade available via Google Newspapers, it’s relatively easy to research. Big Bear (Columbus) had 3 stores there in the mid-50s, gone by the early 60s; Borman (Food Fair–Detroit) had several stores in the mid-50s, then came back in the late 70s with a single, huge Farmer Jack (in an ex-Topps) that lasted at least into the late 80s; A&P brought the Farmer Jack name back to Toledo briefly in the 00s–with new builds and former Churchill locations; Marsh was there briefly in the late 50s via its acquisition of Bellman’s with 5 or 6 stores; National (Detroit Div) was there 57-63 with 4 stores; Allied was there as Wrigley/later Packer in the 60s, and as K-Mart Foods; First National had at least one Edwards Food Warehouse in the mid-80s at Miracle Mile. A bunch of indies consolidated as Foodtown in the 50s and then one of them split off as Joseph’s only to be acquired later by Foodtown. Foodtown (now departed after being destroyed by Spartan) and Kroger soldiered on, later joined by Meijer. A&P came and went and then briefly returned–at one time they had 2 warehouse buildings and covered a territory that included SE Michigan and NE Indiana.

    Also, Toledo has one of the best art museums in the US and admission is free–the annex has glassmaking on the weekends.

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  2. Author


    April 28, 2019 at 12:24pm

    I had to pull back on the Detroit part of the trip for various reasons, but I am planning to do it and Detroit either this summer or this fall.

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