Watertown Neighborhood Grocery Stores: Brown and Fosters c.1900 Located In The Taggart Block
The Taggart Block on Public Square and Franklin Street was home to several neighborhood grocery stores, including Brown and Foster’s.
During its time in the Taggart Block, Brown and Foster would serve the public with a number of offerings, often advertising in the Watertown Daily Times. Fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, string beans, Bermuda onions, new cabbage, also home grown asparagus, lettuce, rhubarb and spinach were advertised fresh every morning.
A variety of Heinz’s goods, plains sweets, sweet mixed and sours could also be found there. Cookies, cases, ginger snaps, too. If it was fish you were looking for, fresh pike, white fish, trout and bullheads were common, as were salt mackerel, salmon, ciscoes, finnan haddie, smoked halibut and bloaters.
Like many of the old grocery stores, its lifespan would appear to be between five to ten years as the owner sold off all goods and services in 1903 to another entity that would run the store under a different name.
According to the Watertown Daily Times, there were as many as 87 neighborhood grocery stores operating in the city back in 1907. While there will always be a place for chains – some of them serving up a number of fond memories themselves such as the much-beloved Mohican, there’s something about the neighborhood stores and their place within our communities, and particularly our childhood memories, that made them endearing.
Over the years, more and more large grocery stores infiltrated the area offering more competitive pricing, and larger varieties of goods. A&P, Weston, Super Duper, P&C and many others have come and gone through the years and while the neighborhood grocery stores are (very) few and far between, if you look around, you still might see a little mom and pop store… somewhere.
In an ever-evolving world, it’s the chain stores themselves who now face stiff competition from the likes of large conglomerates such as Sam’s Club and Walmart, or the likes of Amazon.com. While some of them may be able to boast even MORE offerings and DEEPER discounts, they’ll never aspire to be, and thusly never match, the quaintness of the old neighborhood grocery stores.
As one astute commenter, Lee Crandall, wrote on the You Haven’t Lived in Watertown, NY if- Facebook page–
In most American cities our zoning laws have put this type of store out of business. So now we miss out on the interaction with neighbors, drive miles to a big box store, get less exercise, and waste fossil fuels to get the stuff that used to be at the corner store.
A list of neighborhood grocery stores in Watertown over the years include the following below (feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for any additional ones not mentioned.)
Aboud & Bahou
Academy St Market
Boora’s Soda Shop
Breen Avenue Market
Brown & Foster’s, Taggart Block
California Fruit Market
General Store, Coffeen Street
Clay Street Market
Cooper Street Market
Derrigo’s Fruit Stand
Evans Groceries (P.H. Evan’s Groceries)
Gayle Street Market
Gotham Street Market
Habeeb Bros. Red & White
Hickey’s Grocery Store
Johnnie’s Fruit Stand
LeRay Street Market
Meadow Street Market
Rocky’s Fruit Stand
Tony’s Fruit Stand
To view more stores like this in Watertown, N.Y., click here.