The sun sets on the Appalachian Mountains on a crisp, beautiful evening in early 1971. In the foreground is the Murphy’s Mart (yes, there’s an apostrophe-s in there, mind you) at Laurel Mall, which was located on Route 119 South between Uniontown and Connellsville, Pennsylvania. This store was the third Murphy’s Mart, opening on February 24th of that year.
“Murphy” of course was the G.C. Murphy Company, “The Pride of McKeesport, (Pittsburgh area) Pennsylvania” – a well-loved variety store chain with over 500 locations at the time, predominantly in the Eastern and Midwest states, but with a sizable base in the South as well, mostly due to a number of buyouts of existing chains. Murphy was a late entrant into the discounting world, having opened the first Murphy’s Mart in 1970, eight years after a couple of its main competitors, Kresge and Woolworth, jumped in. For the next twenty years the Marts would operate, with varying levels of success. Eventually most became Ames Department Stores, and eventually most of those became......er, history.
Including this one, which stands vacant today to the best of my knowledge.
But in 1971, all was bright. And this store would definitely qualify for the ever-growing list of stores I wish I’d seen in their prime. (As the sun sets after a deep snow, that is. Click to enlarge this beauty, if you haven't already.) I’m thinking of putting out bids for someone to design a time machine. Any takers?