15 S. Adams Street, Petersburg, VA

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Dave
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15 S. Adams Street, Petersburg, VA

Post by Dave » 13 Oct 2006 10:21

I finally got around to taking a copule of pictures of this store down the road about 20 miles from Richmond. I thought it was vacant the first times I passed it, but to my surprise, it is open, though I haven't had time to go inside. My guess that it was a Safeway. Per the property records, it was built in 1950 on 1.44 acres, has 9,852 square feet and a full basement also of 9.852 square feet.

I haven't seen a tree growing out of the top of a pylon before. It appears to be a tree-of-paradise, which is an invasive alien species around these parts.

Any guesses? And no, "IGA Foodliner" doesn't count (actually, it's "OOD INER" in this case).

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Groceteria
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Post by Groceteria » 13 Oct 2006 11:31

Safeway was my first thought as well. The other "possible" that came to mind would be Food Fair, but I think they arrived too late in Richmond for this to be one of theirs.

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Post by TheStranger » 13 Oct 2006 13:55

Didn't Safeway used to have a two-tone paintscheme for the pylons? (The photo of the Turk Street store on this site, and the Canoga Park store on Charles Hathaway's, each had that look going...)
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Post by justin karimzad » 13 Oct 2006 14:57

I am 99% sure that this was an early 1950s Safeway. The decorative brick pattern seen near the "Food" section of the sign was a Safeway trademark. Also, the front entrance, including the two sets of doors and the marble tile at the base of the front, as well as the streetlights and rear brick smokestack, and the barely-visible display window on the front, all scream Safeway. If you went inside, I'll bet you'd see ceiling tiles with a brick layout (such as these at a 1952 Tacoma Safeway that burned down a year later; http://search.tacomapubliclibrary.org/i ... 15944AM677), another early 1950s Safeway hallmark. Some photos of the aforementioned (chared) store can be found here; http://search.tacomapubliclibrary.org/i ... 22627PM557
http://search.tacomapubliclibrary.org/i ... 22627PM557
http://search.tacomapubliclibrary.org/i ... 22627PM557
Another great well-preserved, unpainted example of a classic early 1950s Safeway is Dom's sporting goods store at 1870 First St. in Livermore, CA. You know, we all know that the Marina period was one of the most architecturally consistent eras of Safeways, but it seems to me that early 1950s Safeways tended to be also, sometimes even more so. For instance, the Marina specification basically just called for a laminated wood beam, arched roof, with stone concrete walls and floor to ceiling windows at the front. However, the variables came with the shape of the arch (i.e. how sharp the curve is, whether it's straight or curved on the sides, e.t.c.), the type of stone that faced the concrete, and much of the interior and engineering, including the ceiling tiles, light fixtures, streetlights, entrance doors, e.t.c. From my observation, the early 1950s specifications tended toward a single prototype such as this market, with the same brick walls with the decorative brick pattern, two sets of double doors on the front, marble tile on the base of the front, display windows, a brick smokestack, a tall pylon tower, the same streetlights, the same brick-pattern ceiling tiles (and not just any ceiling tiles in brick pattern, but the same exact brand and model in every case), and maybe even the same fluorescent light fixtures. I learned this rather unexpectedly when a couple of former early 1950s Safeways in California looked like a clone of each other and of the one at 849 W. 6th ave. in Eugene, OR that I mentioned in another thread. Now that I see that the prototype even existed on the other end of the U.S., I'm even more impressed at Safeway's uniformity in the early 1950s! At the same time, 1960s Safeways in the aforementioned regions are not so similar. It seems to me that the uncompromising specifications were relaxed towards the mid to late 1950s. Even though it seems like Safeway folowed that footprint in the early 1950s that I dragged on about, maybe there were exceptions, such as the now closed Monterey, CA Safeway that definetly opened in 1951, but does not follow the master plan. Either way, I think we can safely say that this Food Liner was an early 1950s Safeway that followed the standard footprint. If anyone would like me to explain anything I mentioned, or has anything to add, feel free to say so!
Last edited by justin karimzad on 13 Oct 2006 15:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by rich » 13 Oct 2006 15:16

In the 50s, most chains built stores of about the same size--approx. 15,000 sf. There were exceptions like Food Fair and Fisher Foods (Cleveland) which built larger stores fairly early on, but until the end of the decade, they all tended to build the same rectangular boxes. Except for places like SF, NYC, parts of Boston, Chicago, DC, and a few other places, this footprint could be placed just about anywhere, and typically could use the same architecture (and details) in a large strip center, a neighborhood strip, or a large suburban "plaza". With this kind of standardization, you got subtle things that were distinctive to chains like Nationa Tea's use of buff brick and pylons or Colonial's fondness for corrugated metal, but really distinctive designs like the ones that Gruen did for Penn Fruit or Jewel's common use of ceramic facing were rarities. There was more variety in size and architecture later on as chains began to add service departments and expand areas like frozen foods, but couldn't always fit these bigger stores into all locations, so more variation in size, although chains like A&P and Kroger were more likely to keep 50s store sizes and adopted cookie cutter designs (buff brick fronts for Kroger and A&P's red brick centennials). The early marinas in DC that have been closed seem to have hovered around 22,000 sf, whereas the pylon/box stores were more like 15-16,000 sf.

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Post by Steve Landry » 13 Oct 2006 16:15

Spot on Rich :)

Side note: Food Fair used a decorative marble on their stores for years (usually a glossy rose colored marble).
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Post by Dave » 13 Oct 2006 18:08

I'm certainly glad to read the responses. Food Fair I doubt because the Richmond Food Fairs appeared around 1959-1960, later than this store.

Although there is not a labelscar per se, there are 13 or 14 holes on each side of the pylon, along the top edge, that aren't in symmetrical rows.

There is a similar store of similar vintage in Richmond that has 9,108 square feet per the property record that was a Safeway. I don't have pictures of that example (yet) because it's in a fairly dicey neighborhood. That's my best guess, but I was surprised by a store in Richmond that I would have sworn was a Safeway that ended up being a Colonial.

Justin's comments are interesting, and I'll go even further to say that Safeway had a prototype design going back in the 1940's as well.

Anyone else have an example of trees growing out of a pylon on a store that's still open? :)

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Post by storewanderer » 14 Oct 2006 01:31

This store is still open?

What is being sold inside? This could be interesting.

Appears as if it closed as IGA Foodliner and something else has gone in.
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Post by Dave » 14 Oct 2006 18:56

storewanderer wrote:This store is still open?

What is being sold inside? This could be interesting.

Appears as if it closed as IGA Foodliner and something else has gone in.
It's still selling groceries. It's still isted in directories as an IGA, but not on the IGA website.

The street it's on was closed for a while as part of a new bridge project and associated work a couple of years ago, but has since reopened. The owners definitely saw a decline in business while the street was closed.

When I went by the other day, it had customers going into the store, but no cars in the parking lot - I mean none. I don't know where the employees park.

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Post by Groceteria » 16 Jul 2007 01:18

Having seen it in person yesterday, I'm even more convinced that it started out as a Safeway. Wish I'd had time to go inside.

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Post by Dave » 16 Jul 2007 06:16

Groceteria wrote:Having seen it in person yesterday, I'm even more convinced that it started out as a Safeway. Wish I'd had time to go inside.
Isn't the tree nice and healthy-looking?

I did get an opprtunity to check out a couple of early 1970's phone books for Petersburg and it was an independent, Adams Street Market, at that time. Haven't had the opportunity to dig back farther.

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Post by Groceteria » 17 Jul 2007 16:04

Per an email correspondent researching in city directories, this store was a Safeway in 1954 and 1957. Presumably, it didn't have a tree growing out of its pylon at the time.

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Re: 15 S. Adams Street, Petersburg, VA

Post by carolinatraveler » 08 Nov 2008 23:17

I was in this store about five years ago, and it is a relatively intact 1950s Safeway. It is WELL WORTH A LOOK INSIDE!

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Re: 15 S. Adams Street, Petersburg, VA

Post by Dave » 15 Nov 2008 14:28

Unfortunately, the tree growing out of the pylon has been cut down...

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Re: 15 S. Adams Street, Petersburg, VA

Post by Groceteria » 19 Nov 2008 00:54

carolinatraveler wrote:I was in this store about five years ago, and it is a relatively intact 1950s Safeway. It is WELL WORTH A LOOK INSIDE!
I may be through there the week after Christmas, and if so, I'll stop by. Are there still some decent original interior elements?

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