Through the course of this thread, I've cycled through most of the larger chains that have done business in Milwaukee over the last 90 years. Now it's time to cover what was once the biggest chain of them all: A&P
According to the table, no fewer than 234
A&P stores existed in and around Milwaukee between 1930 and 1979. More than two-thirds of these locations were small neighbourhood stores from the pre-supermarket era, housed in small storefronts in pre-existing buildings. One of the few exceptions may have been 4735 W Center St
, a small single-story building constructed in 1929 that may have housed an A&P from day one. (This store is listed as 5830 in the 1930 column.)
Combing through Milwaukee A&P locations on Google Maps in chronological order, I was overcome with a sense of deja vu
...since the company's store development in Milwaukee paralleled their patterns in Greensboro, NC
! One difference I noticed between A&P in Milwaukee and their development in smaller cities, however, was that their late 1930s/early 1940s consolidation into larger supermarkets was more gradual: The company kept a small handful of 1930s-era stores open into the 1950s and even 1960s. 2018 S 1st St
in the Bay View neighbourhood seems to ahve been the last one standing.
The post-1930s supermarket era is where my interest in historical A&P locations picks up. A few of these in the 1940s continued to open in the storefronts of multi-story buildings, but most were stand-alone. A fair number of stores from this era have been demolished, but others survive, and a few locations are special enough to warrant specific mention:
* 1314 W Mitchell St
. A small store that opened by 1940, closed by 1950, and still survives with original upper-wall edging and floor-to-ceiling windows. David snapped a photo of this one
* 911 N 27th St
. This might be the nicest A&P artifact
in all of Milwaukee: A well-preserved building with an intact porcelain enamel tile facade and a "hump" on the front wall where the A&P roundel would have fit. The city assessor says it was built "about 1940." Now the home of Mattress City.
* 3103 S 13th St
and 2670 N Buffum St
. These stores are very similar, and both are examples of larger, later (circa-1950) A&Ps with corner entrances that survive intact. Both stores also appear to have been built with front and
back doors in an effort to give pedestrian sidewalk access and parking lot access equal priority.
* 3532 W North Ave
. A small 1950s building with fieldstone accents and a short pylon; still standing in original condition as National Coatings & Supplies.
* 5727 W Burnham St, West Allis
. Yet another perfectly-intact older store that retains the A&P "look," this time with a stairstep front wall. Still stands as Sundberg's Genuine Appliance Parts.
* 3565 S Howell Ave
: An improbably sleek and modern non-Centennial store that opened by 1960. David took a picture of this one, too.
* There are also three
1940s and 1950s stores that were given Centennial roof-peak facelifts in the 1960s and still survive as such: 7924 W Buleigh St
, 7326 W North Ave
, and 430 W North Ave
. (I'm a sucker for Frankenstein stores with visible traces of multiple eras.)
* And speaking of Frankensteins: Here's 6901 W. Oklahoma Ave.
, a 1956-vintage store that got an ugly 1970s mansard makeover, and now houses American Science & Surplus. The most remarkable thing about this property is that the current tenant reused the 1970s capsule-shaped A&P signframe!
I wonder if this is the only trace of that logo left in Milwaukee?