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.

Just returned from a snowy weekend in New Jersey, with side trips to Philadelphia and (drum roll, please) Wilmington, Delaware? Why the drum roll? Because I now have the data in hand to complete Groceteria’s 50th state, which I promised to do by the site’s 20th anniversary this summer. That’s coming soon, but for now, here are some recent additions and updates:

The store above is a still-standing Food Fair on Brunswick Avenue in Trenton NJ. There’s another one that’s even better here.

Also, I’ll be visiting the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne next month and will be filling in a lot of holes using their massive collection of print city directories from around the country. That trip will also take me to Detroit, Toledo, and possibly Lansing and Milwaukee. More soon.

We interrupt the Canadian content for a whole lot of Rhode Island, since yer humble host will be visiting the area later this week. I will have very little (if any) time for sightseeing and photos but I should at least be able to spend some time in the library updating the location data.

Lots of fresh new Canadian content coming soon, including new and expanded location lists for various cities in Ontario; expansion of the ones for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta; and new photos. Watch this space!

Until then, enjoy this photo of an A&P in Cambridge from 1996:

In case you don’t follow on Twitter (and you should), I thought I would backtrack and add archived posts from the road. I may change my mind and decide this is a stupid idea. Who knows?

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The updates continue, although it’s mostly smaller ones this time around. In the background, I’ve also been actively tagging photos to add in the coming months.

The latest:

Also, I’m about to embark on my annual autumn trip to Canada. I’ll be in Toronto and maybe either Ottawa or somewhere in Southern Ontario. Follow me on on Twitter for updates!

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This one was just an extra cool find. It was quite obviously built as an A&P, probably in the 1940s. You can even make out the labelscar on the parking lot signs if you’re there in person. It’s located on Taylor Boulevard in Louisville, right across from Churchill Downs. From the shape of the sign, I would guess it may have been an A&P at least until they switched to the pill-shaped logo in the 1970s. And what’s really cool is that it’s still a pretty popular spot and it’s still selling groceries with very few modifications in its more recent incarnation as the Pic Pac IGA.

I love finding stores like this.

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I spent the weekend in Baltimore. If you follow me on Twitter, you saw a pretty amazing collection of photos from around the city–not amazing because I’m such a great photographer but because there’s so much supermarket history still standing in Baltimore and so much of it is in such recognizable condition. Acme, Food Fair, A&P, Penn Fruit, and more. It’s all there. I did library research as well and there will be much more soon.

But do check out the past few days on Twitter…really.

(Photo above is from an item in the Maryland Department, Enoch Pratt Free Library.)

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Groceteria is on a road trip through southern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Washington DC. And I’m live tweeting pictures from the road as I run across interesting stores. Follow me on Twitter if you want to see them pretty much as I do. Or wait for the full photo library to be posted a little while after I get home.

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Just got back from a conference in Morehead City NC and thought I’d throw up a few pictures I grabbed in cities along the way back. I only had my phone camera with me, so the quality is somewhat lacking. Above is a beautiful former Colonial store at 1201 Broad Street in New Bern. It was closed so I was unable to determine if there were any interesting interior remnants.

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This former A&P is at 919 Broad Street, also in New Bern.