SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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kaffakid
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SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by kaffakid » 25 Jul 2016 10:56

I was wondering if anyone could help me with suggestions on where to find out more information on the A&P Centennial store at 4330 48th St NW, Washington, DC 20016. It was originally an A&P, then a Super Fresh, then a Fresh & Greens, and is now out of business. I am looking into the possibility of applying for a Historical Designation in DC. I found this forum last night and it leads me to believe someone may have a notion of where to start.

I am interested in finding some history on whether this store was a "1959 A&P Centennial Store." Does anyone have any advice or someone special I should contact?

I'd be very grateful for any help. Thanks!

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Groceteria
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Re: SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by Groceteria » 25 Jul 2016 16:19

To start, the A&P "Centennial" prototype was built all through the 1960s, not just in 1959. There were also some older stores that were "retrofitted" into this look. According to the DC information page on this very site, the store on 48th St NW first appeared in the DC city directory sometime between 1970 and 1975. It could have opened slightly before this, but probably not much earlier.

Just on a lark, I checked the DC tax assessment database, but the record does not seem to include a "year built" for this particular building.

If you have access To the Washington Post archives (I would imagine the DC Public Library has a subscription) you might do searches for articles and ads mentioning the grand opening.

My best guess is that it probably dates from between 1968 and about 1972.

kaffakid
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Re: SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by kaffakid » 26 Jul 2016 12:31

Groceteria wrote:To start, the A&P "Centennial" prototype was built all through the 1960s, not just in 1959. There were also some older stores that were "retrofitted" into this look. According to the DC information page on this very site, the store on 48th St NW first appeared in the DC city directory sometime between 1970 and 1975. It could have opened slightly before this, but probably not much earlier.

Just on a lark, I checked the DC tax assessment database, but the record does not seem to include a "year built" for this particular building.

If you have access To the Washington Post archives (I would imagine the DC Public Library has a subscription) you might do searches for articles and ads mentioning the grand opening.

My best guess is that it probably dates from between 1968 and about 1972.
Thank you very much for your input. I have combed through the Washington Post archives and I can only find one article on this store. While I am sure there are more, I am running up against a wall. I have tried every search term combination possible.

I found one article in WaPo (attached), dated January 30, 1965, that leads me to believe the store opened on December 15, 1964, but I'm not sure.
WaPo article
WaPo article
I will keep at it.

Grocery Buff
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Re: SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by Grocery Buff » 31 Jan 2021 23:48

Looking for a rough timeframe(s) this A&P store design is from or operated? A family member said they knew of them as A&P's for sure but didn't recall exact timeframes and newspaper archive searches didn't yield much. Based on the ones I've seen on the other location pages and Twitter posts, I'm known it's many decades back now. Further down are locations I'm more familiar with and have sources on.

Unknown Northern Virginia Locations (timeframe)
Woodbridge/Rt 1. area:
https://goo.gl/maps/gKx7ojx7i9aNUcKJ6

Dumfries/Triangle area:
https://goo.gl/maps/GtYH9hwn3ChYauRd7


Known Locations from the SuperFresh era in Northern Virginia:
Woodbridge area: https://goo.gl/maps/R8mMM3v24d6XWSjf9
Manassas area: https://goo.gl/maps/rjMQZAZGwg69GTsy6
Source: Personally having walked into both when they were SuperFresh
Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/ ... tory3.html. (when they closed in 2002).

Warrenton A&P: https://goo.gl/maps/KHduSbMi1GPUYynC7
Source: https://www.fauquiernow.com/fauquier_ne ... years-2018


Non-DC area/Shenandoah Valley:
Lonely SuperFresh > Farmer Jack location in Harrisonburg, VA off i-81:
https://goo.gl/maps/dZiWv1tKkcYRRxMv6
Source: https://www.marketreportblog.com/2019/0 ... nburg.html
Source: https://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-xpm- ... story.html

kaffakid
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Re: SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by kaffakid » 01 Feb 2021 00:30

Thanks for reviving this thread. After posting I was able to find a picture from a former employee of this SuperFresh from January 1996, as it existed before the current (ugly) protruding front fascia was added. I believe this was indeed the original A&P “centennial store” building.

My main question is whether anyone has ever heard any news of one of these centennial stores being designated historic given the look and aesthetic? There is an argument to be made based on the criterion for such a designation (albeit a stretch). Just wondering if anyone has ever been successful (or at least tried).

Article with a picture of the updated fascia: https://federalnewsnetwork.com/governme ... -july/amp/
Attachments
DC SuperFresh Jan 1996
DC SuperFresh Jan 1996

TW-Upstate NY
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Re: SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by TW-Upstate NY » 01 Feb 2021 13:03

It amazes me that here we are 60+ years after the fact when this design made its debut that, even though A+P vacated them all in some cases decades ago, how many of those facades still exist today. For example, in my immediate area, two of them are still around and one still even has the coupola with the weather vane intact. A few years ago, the shingles were even replaced so the owners obviously have no intention of altering it. At one time, I think there was something called the A+P Historical Society (not sure if they're still around) so maybe they would have some interest in your idea-which is a very good one by the way.

BillyGr
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Re: SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by BillyGr » 02 Feb 2021 21:01

Grocery Buff wrote: 31 Jan 2021 23:48 Lonely SuperFresh > Farmer Jack location in Harrisonburg, VA off i-81:
https://goo.gl/maps/dZiWv1tKkcYRRxMv6
Source: https://www.marketreportblog.com/2019/0 ... nburg.html
Source: https://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-xpm- ... story.html
That's the A&P design known as Future store. So it may go back before the Superfresh branding (or not).
TW-Upstate NY wrote: 01 Feb 2021 13:03 It amazes me that here we are 60+ years after the fact when this design made its debut that, even though A+P vacated them all in some cases decades ago, how many of those facades still exist today. For example, in my immediate area, two of them are still around and one still even has the coupola with the weather vane intact. A few years ago, the shingles were even replaced so the owners obviously have no intention of altering it. At one time, I think there was something called the A+P Historical Society (not sure if they're still around) so maybe they would have some interest in your idea-which is a very good one by the way.
I guess many of the places that took over these buildings were just companies that weren't as interested in a standard design, so as long as the building was functional they saw no reason to change it just to make it look different.

And at least one (not here in NY, but the one in Newark, DE near the college) was still open as a Super Fresh until they finally closed up in 2015 - I guess just a good spot with the college right there, with no easy way to expand or replace it over the years.

kaffakid
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Re: SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by kaffakid » 02 Feb 2021 21:27

So has anyone thought about, or heard of, an effort at obtaining a historic designation under the Nat’l Historic Preservation Act?

Grocery Buff
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Re: SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by Grocery Buff » 04 Feb 2021 03:16

BillyGr wrote: 02 Feb 2021 21:01
Grocery Buff wrote: 31 Jan 2021 23:48 Lonely SuperFresh > Farmer Jack location in Harrisonburg, VA off i-81:
https://goo.gl/maps/dZiWv1tKkcYRRxMv6
Source: https://www.marketreportblog.com/2019/0 ... nburg.html
Source: https://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-xpm- ... story.html
That's the A&P design known as Future store. So it may go back before the Superfresh branding (or not).
TW-Upstate NY wrote: 01 Feb 2021 13:03 It amazes me that here we are 60+ years after the fact when this design made its debut that, even though A+P vacated them all in some cases decades ago, how many of those facades still exist today. For example, in my immediate area, two of them are still around and one still even has the coupola with the weather vane intact. A few years ago, the shingles were even replaced so the owners obviously have no intention of altering it. At one time, I think there was something called the A+P Historical Society (not sure if they're still around) so maybe they would have some interest in your idea-which is a very good one by the way.
I guess many of the places that took over these buildings were just companies that weren't as interested in a standard design, so as long as the building was functional they saw no reason to change it just to make it look different.

And at least one (not here in NY, but the one in Newark, DE near the college) was still open as a Super Fresh until they finally closed up in 2015 - I guess just a good spot with the college right there, with no easy way to expand or replace it over the years.
Thanks!
& agreed on how so many have survived over so many years.

Historical Designation:
A few instances where A&P & non-A&P properties have been preserved would be:
I'm sure there might be some older A&P sites that may be (intentionally or accidentally) included in some of the historic neighborhood or historic main street programs out there.

Non-A&P grocery store preservations efforts that have failed:
  • -Safeway (DC) - https://reason.com/2019/01/14/grocery-s ... rical-des/
    -The Penn Fruit one did not go unopposed it said in the article. With it sitting idle now I guess the added cost to adhere to the historic nature of a property can go both ways at times depending on its location, age, quality of its building materials, and desired usage.

rich
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Re: SuperFresh/A&P in Washington, DC

Post by rich » 04 Feb 2021 09:36

You can probably find examples of landmark applications online that would give you an idea of the general considerations.

This store was the last A&P in DC but had been altered and was not necessarily the best example of its design prototype. It also isn't the only remaining centennial in the area. There's one on Boiling Brook Rd in Rockville, near Twinbrook that has been a series of Kosher super markets. And I'm sure there are others.

One retail site in DC that is landmarked is the 1930s Park & Shop center in Cleveland Park (Connecticut Ave at the Metro stop) which, incidentally had an A&P as a charter tenant, along with Safeway. The Park & Shop is an early example of a strip center and was somewhat in its time in that the parking was mostly in front (primary lots for strips often were in back and stores typically had front & back entrances---this pattern lasted into the 50s). You'd have to investigate whether it is a DC or federal landmark. There was an unsuccessful attempt at landmarking the 1940s Safeway in the Palisades neighborhood and that application is online.

A&P built centennials even before the 1959 "rollout" which coincided with the chain's 100th birthday (hence the name Centennial). The earliest one I've identified opened in Sept 1957 in Wickliffe, Ohio and happened to be one where we shopped when I was very young. There's a Pinterest post on this (firewalled) and its been discussed here in the past. That store still stands and has been occupied by an electrical contractor for many years. The Centennials came in many sizes--the most common were 16-19K sf and these are arguably the most attractive---the proportions work well, whereas the smaller 13K sf stores seem stubby and the ones in the 25K range seem too elongated and lose the colonial theme.

The Yuma Street store is an oddity because of being built into a hillside and having the main supply entrance in the basement. Basements were commonly built into supers well into the 70s, probably a remnant of when they occupied small streetside spaces, but often ancillary to the main floor backroom areas. In some ways, this might provide some uniqueness for an application. It was a very tiny store------if not for the basement backroom which I assume fills the site, I would have guessed 13K total--I went there shortly before it closed. It probably replaced one at the shopping center down the hill on Massachusetts Avenue where the CVS used to be a Safeway.

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