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Living Block

Corner Grocery Store circa 1890s

Historical Significance

Grocery stores were very important to urban neighborhoods at the turn of the 20th century. They provided a place to purchase food and supplies as well as a social gathering spot. It was a perfect place to meet and visit with friends and neighbors and catch up on news while purchasing a few needed items. This store was built in 1892 as Daniel O’Leary’s Grocery and Saloon but sometime in the next few years it became solely a grocery store and was purchased in 1924 by Alex Cassimus and his wife, Lena. Their store was open seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. and stocked items such as canned goods, staples, seasonal produce, piece goods, penny candy, tobacco, a few medicines, and other miscellaneous items. The Cassimus family lived in a house next door that was connected to the Grocery Store through the back room. Living next to the Store allowed Mr. Cassimus to serve after hours customers, if needed. The back room provided the family a place where the adults could watch the children as well as the Store and also take care of financial affairs. On the side of the Grocery Store were wide doors for the delivery of merchandise and the wide porch provided a cool, spot to sit and visit. Alex and Lena Cassimus operated the Store until 1967.

Architectural Significance

The clapboard structure is characteristic of a small commercial operation of its time. It was constructed on the corner of Clay and Dickerson Streets to serve the adjacent Cottage Hill neighborhood. However, as Interstate 65 was built through the area it became the victim of progress and was moved to Old Alabama Town where it opened in July 1982.