Baldwinsville History Mystery: Jan. 2, 2019
Question: This home was added to the village streetscape almost 200 years ago. During those years it has undergone significant remodeling to keep up with the times, both in terms of style and technology. Do you recognize the house? Do you know its location or any of its residents?
Last week’s answer: Last week’s History Mystery featured a photo of the interior of the Third Ward Market with its owner, J.W. Pooler (second from the left), and personnel, right of Pooler, Henry Tyler and Ray Ellison. The man at the far left is unidentified. A specialty shop that dealt solely in meat, poultry and meat products, the Third Ward Market was opened by Pooler circa 1882 at 45 E. Genesee St. Then known as the “Third Ward business block,” today the site is a parking lot serving ACE Village Hardware.
The Third Ward Market was one of several village meat markets that advertised regularly in Baldwinsville’s Gazette and Farmers’ Journal. The shop offered beef, lamb, mutton, veal, pork, chicken and turkey as well as “homemade sausage, bologna and frankforts” (sic). Butcher J. Westley Pooler and his assistant meat cutter Henry Tyler also dressed deer for area hunters. Meat was cut to order while the customer watched.
Much of Pooler’s product line was displayed along the walls along with the tools of his trade. Large saws, a sharpening steel and a hanging scale are all on hand while a paper-wrapped packet is on the counter.
As technology evolved, orders could be placed by telephone. Telephone service came to the village in 1897 and by the beginning of the 20th century, local merchants were including their phone numbers in their newspaper ads.
Large shop windows showed off merchandise while also supplementing the lighting provided by oil and gas fixtures. The “supermarket,” a one-stop, serve-yourself food emporium, had as yet to come on the scene. Breads and pastries came from the bakery. Canned goods and produce came from the grocer. Cleaning products and implements came from the hardware store.
Shopkeepers stood behind the counter and pulled items from shelves and cases as the customer recited their list of needed supplies and inquired about freshness, flavor and various other attributes of the products. The customer’s needs and wants were part of the conversation as the shopkeeper strived to provide personalized customer service.
A succession of owners followed Pooler. The gasoline powered engine, electricity, World War I’s drain on manpower, and the emergence of women from the home into the work place converged. The age of the supermarket had arrived. Larger well-lit stores featured departments and aisles filled with shelves of “serve yourself” products. Wheeled grocery carts held more than conventional hand baskets. Refrigerators preserved more foods for longer periods of time. Cashiers freed up specialized employees who could now dedicate their time to their areas of expertise.
The term “supermarket” doesn’t appear in the local newspaper until 1940; however, the concept was already in practice. Historians of the retail food industry hold that introduction of the concept was unveiled in 1916 by Piggly Wiggly in Tennessee. Overhead was reduced, time was saved, and socialization was curtailed. The change seemed massive, and Wegmans was yet to come.
Email your guess to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 315-434-8889 ext. 310 with your guess by noon Friday. If you are the first person to correctly identify an element in the photo before the deadline, your name and guess will appear in next week’s Messenger, along with another History Mystery feature. History Mystery is a joint project of the Museum at the Shacksboro Schoolhouse and the Baldwinsville Public Library.