Monday, February 15, 2010

The Last of the Melting Snow - A&P '67

At last - the snow is all but melted, save for a few somewhat dingy looking piles here and there.

Oh, I don’t mean today, when half the country has been covered with record snows. That could go on for weeks yet! I’m referring to the scene above, a 1967 snapshot photo (thanks to Mark) of the A&P supermarket in tiny Millerton, New York. Millerton is some 60 miles northwest of Hartford, very close to the point where New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts intersect. They definitely see their share of snow – over five feet a year on average.

The store pictured is an excellent example of a “Retrofit Centennial” – where A&P would take an existing store (usually featuring the traditional round A&P logo, bracketed by tapered rays or the phrase “Super Market”) and construct a new upper facade of siding, a bit of ornamental fencing and its distinctive colonial-style lettering, providing even their humblest stores with a more upscale appearance. Perhaps they lacked the dramatic impact of the company’s new-from-the-ground-up Centennial units, but no doubt most communities considered the new look a major improvement. Throughout the heyday of the 1960’s, A&P rolled out these upgrades on hundreds of stores.

Endeavoring to finish up these A&P posts before the snow finally does melt…


  1. Snow in photos of the 60 s are not as bothersome as the snow thAt won't melt here.

  2. The remodel got across the general point of the Centennial style, but it wasn't a very appealing remodel.

  3. Thanks for that little titbit of history, that was really interesting! :)

  4. What amazes me is how tiny these "super"markets look by today's standards. I grew up with these smaller stores but they just look miniscule, don't they?

  5. A very fond memory of Great A&P food stores.

    While they were smaller sized, these stores did contain everything a shopper wanted at the time, Eight O'Clock coffee, Sunnybrook butter and eggs, Jane Parker breads and donuts, Ann Page condiments, and White House milk.

    Today, many of these former A&P's house limited assortment grocers, dollar stores, offices, etc. They have definitely stood the test of time.

  6. Because of my enjoyment of this site I discovered an old A&P nearby in the "Colonial Plaza" in Whitesboro, N.Y. (outside of Utica). The old store is now a Dollar General, having been converted with the doors moved to the front within the past couple of years. Before that it was an Auto Zone.

    I think it's obvious that this used to be an A&P.

    I have a picture here:

  7. Didi – Surely it’s melting by now, isn’t it? :)

    Steven – I think it’s at least somewhat of an improvement, though, as I would imagine this particular one’s original appearance was pretty drab.

    Definitely doesn’t hold a candle to the stores that were built as Centennials, though!

    Richard – Thanks!

    Mel – No question about it – they were tiny compared to today’s supermarkets. The size of this store, and many others of its era, would be comparable to a Dollar General store (or one of the other ‘dollar’ chains) today. They sure seemed bigger when we were kids, though!

    Andy – Fond indeed – and what a great litany of brands! At least Eight O’Clock still soldiers on, even though no longer under direct A&P ownership. Thanks.

    J.P. – Glad to be able to help identify an old classic – there really are quite a few of ‘em still around. The degree to which they’ve been remodeled determines the ease of identification, of course, but that roofline still stands out in most cases, even if the cupola and fencing is long gone.

    Thanks for the photo link! That’s a really great one, and very nicely preserved. Very glad you enjoy the site, as well!

  8. I hate snow when piles of it get hard as rocks and black and filthy.

  9. Great work! I love looking and reading about the history of A&P as it brings back many memories. I can remember the local A&P in my town and all the changes it went through throughout the years. But you could tell in the early 80's that something was going on and the store closed shortly thereafter. Keep up the good work I enjoying reading about the vintage markets and their history

  10. Oh, we do indeed see our fair share of snow in Massachusetts, though you can't depend on that five-foot average every year like you could in '67! I remember one winter in which we received only 2-1/2 feet total!

    The supermarket looks a bit like a liquour store, though, heh.

  11. Tom – I’m with you on that! I love snow until it’s sat around for a while.

    Anonymous – Very glad you enjoyed this- thanks for the kind words.

    Nightdragon – You know, now that you mention it, it really does look like a liquor store! The combination of the brick and the white-painted wood and the store’s relatively small size.

    And I’d say 2 ½ feet of snow is enough for any winter!