Monday, September 2, 2013


The Shell of the Former Corner Grocery Store at Alliance and Spear in Arcata

In the neighborhood where I grew up in East Bakersfield, there were four neighborhood grocery stores within a five or six block distance from our house. In those days, the nineteen-sixties, people from our class of neighborhoods frequented these stores. We had nearby supermarkets where our parents did the bulk of their shopping, but the corner store was something that all of us frequented. This was especially true for us kids. We took our allowances, and I took my lawn-mowing earnings and spent money in the small store on candy and soda pop. It is just what we did.

I think another reason these stores survived is that many of them offered charge accounts. One of my friend's mother often sent my friend and I to fetch some things for her, including cigarettes. The store clerk would write down the total on a card that was kept at the register. I suspect that charges accounted for a large part of their sales, and I am sure that they helped keep the store going.

Nowadays, I think the corner/neighborhood store was replaced with the newer style convenience store, and with the little stores in gas stations. I am uncertain as to what caused the demise of this store in Arcata. I think as of ten years ago it was still operating. It looks to me that it will not be restored. It looks like it is being allowed to decay, and I wonder how long before it becomes a hazard. I wish I knew its name.

I have been wanting to photograph this structure for quite some time, but I would only think of it whenever I drove by on some other errand. Last night when I went to bed I told myself to wake up at six. I repeated the command a couple of times, and at exactly six, I woke. So I went photographing in the dawn light.