A while ago, Donald Homuth, formerly of Fargo and now of Salem, Ore., received a copy of the Fargo Central High School Cynosure newsletter which included a story about grocery stores in Fargo years ago.
“That brought to mind the small neighborhood groceries in Fargo when I lived there in the ‘50s and ‘60s,” Don writes "Neighbors." "They were the ones that moms would send the kids to on errands.
“We either rode our bikes or walked. Yes, in the winter, too.
“Several of those stores in the two neighborhoods I lived in come to mind,” he writes:
“Herb’s Grocery, located on 10th Street North between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. When my mom told me to ‘go to the store,’ that’s what she meant.
“I recall it had a metal pop cooler that used water and had a device where you put in a nickel and could take out one bottle at a time. He also had comic books which we weren’t allowed to read. Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls and Nut Goodies were a nickel.
RELATED COLUMNS: He wasn't the only fan of the old Fargo Cafe that used to serve up tasty food downtown | This reader appreciated a poem about small-town living | That time Johnny Cash came to Moorhead and killed some time sailing warped records 'like Frisbees into the Red River' | His wife's family likes to eat lutefisk for breakfast | The search continues for the names of these Merchant Marines
“Massey’s Grocery. It was on Eighth Street North just south of 12th Avenue.
“In my memory, the proprietor was French, and he always had a singing canary in a cage by the window.
“The building was later taken over by Jon Lindgren, who became mayor of Fargo in the late ‘60s, and was used as a bike shop. I would stop in there on my walk to and from Ben Franklin school, especially to warm up in the winter.
“I don’t recall the name, but there was another small grocery on the corner of 11th Street and 11th Avenue North, just across the street from the old Roosevelt School building, which was then being used as a headquarters for the USAF Ground Observer Corps. I recall that its entryway was diagonal, aimed at the corner of the intersection. To my recollection, it needed paint, but never got it. In the spring, the owner always kept a good supply of marbles for the kids who played in the back of the school
“There was another store on 10th Avenue North just west of Seventh Street. It was kind of a crummy building, and never had much of a selection. The owner or clerk had a really bad disposition. We didn’t go there much.
“Later on, when my family moved to Fifth Avenue South after my dad died, we didn’t go to those stores any more.
“The closest one to our southside house was Sticklemeyers’ Grocery, which was on the west side of 15th or 16th Street South, in the middle of the block between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. It had a really sparse inventory, but when Mom needed something ‘right now,’ we rode our bikes to that one.
“I know there were many others in Fargo. I can’t recall their names or locations. After 65 years or so and being 2,000 miles away, I just have vague visual impressions of seeing them scattered around town.
“I dimly recall one that might have been on 13th Avenue South near the high school football field, but I’m not sure.
“I suspect your readers will remember many more.”
Do you, neighbors?
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.