Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Butt-Fugly Building of the Week-- December 13th

CVS/Pharmacy #1545 (aka Acme Markets, aka Thriftway, aka Food Rite aka Tyson and Griswold Residences)

1500 Spruce Street

Surprised? Image from Google.
                         I've always hated this building... its dirty, outdated, and scars a spot that should have a much taller building. This building, like the old Crane Company Showroom, confirms that butt-fugly buildings definitely existed before 1940. The construction date of this building is actually quite shady, because it is really the super-mangled form of two really old mansions. Real Rap.
                        This corner started as two massive homes that were built some time between 1830 and 1850. Though many different families flourished in the two gigantic houses, the most famous people who lived in them were super-businessmongers Frank Tracy Griswold and Dr. James Tyson. Some time between 1917 and 1930, the first stage mangling began. The Philadelphia-based Acme Markets took on the properties and formed them into this ugly supermarket, leaving the upper floors of the Tyson residence somewhat intact. The row of mansions on the rest of the block got knocked down to be the parking lot some time in the 40's.

How it looked in 1950.
                     The spot uglied-up the corner of 15th and Spruce for decades, finally reaching its ultimate form in 1977, when the building went through seven months of renovations and all evidence of the Tyson residence was removed.

This 1986 picture pretty much sums it up.
The interior after the grand reopening in 1977.
                       The 1977 interior stayed relatively unchanged all the way up into 2007 or so, though it looked like a decroded piece of crap by then. Acme gave up on this building by the early 90's and the spot became a Thriftway and later the crappy-ass Food Rite Market by the end of the 90's.

As Thriftway in 1995.
                     For some reason, this piece of shit is historically certified... though the file for it has no architect or build date listed. I'm guessing it's certified because this dirty piece of shit is one of the only remaining Acme Market buildings from the era when they had neighborhood stores. I'm not the only one who thinks this thing is shit... the Avenue of the Arts Master Plan from 1999 demolishes this motherfucker and replaces it with a pocket park.

I'd call it Shitzod Park, but that's just me.
                         Like many of the things in that Master Plan, it never fucking happened. A few years ago, CVS/Pharmacy rolled in and renovated the building into Store # 1545. They TRIED to make the place look nicer, re-windowing openings that the Food Rite Market closed up and painting over the fucked up bricks from the 1977 renovation. Good try, but this building is just beyond help. Even when you go into that CVS you notice how the floor is all crooked and uneven. Just put this fucker out of its misery already.

The only picture I could find from the Food Rite era. Check out how dirty the place was. This pic is from some blog article from the late 90's about where you could find Jolt Cola. Anyone have a pic from the exterior of Food Rite?


  1. I'm surprised Acme was still there as last as 1986.

    There are still several original Acme markets in lower NE Philly doing other duty, so original Acmes aren't all that rare.

  2. Bad architecture makes me twitch, but at least with your website I know I'm not suffering alone.

  3. I wonder why they took down the Tyson property.

  4. I shopped in that Acme when I was a PCA student - what a dreary grocery store!