EXPERIENCE EVERYDAY LIFE IN 19TH CENTURY FRESNO COUNTY - The General Store
Curator of Public Life, Donna Braden of the Henry Ford Innovation Museum, shares the history of General Stores in America. These neighborhood institutions stocked a variety of goods, yet they were organized shopping environments. Within their planned spaces, customers had ample opportunity to see, feel and even taste the goods. Stores were divided into "departments," such as groceries, tableware, household equipment and hardware. The 1880s-era J. R. Jones General Store in Greenfield Village was one such store.
This store, originally located in Waterford, Michigan, was the first building Henry Ford brought to Greenfield Village. From 1882 to 1888, storekeeper J. R. Jones sold products like coffee, sugar, fabric and shoes here. The store also served as a community-gathering place for customers to exchange news, socialize and pick-up mail.
A store, very much like the one in the video, stood on the Fruit Vale Estate located in Fresno County where Kearney Park is now. Workers on the Estate relied on the Vineyard Store for almost all of their shop needs. They lived on the Estate and were not generally able to travel the nine miles to Fresno. The building also housed a post office. Click on the photo below to take a closer look.
Photo Credit: Exterior of Kearney Vineyard Cash Store. Fruit Vale Estate staff pictured with M. Theo Kearney, circa 1905. Fresno County Historical Society Archives.