Odenton History: General Stores, Part 3
The Odenton Heritage Society Museum will be open from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, with a special display about general stores in town.
From 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, the Odenton Heritage Society Museum will have an open house, featuring a display on general stores in the Odenton area.
The society has provided articles outlining the history of each store, and Patch will re-print them with permission. On Thursday, Patch offered a history of Pumphrey's store, provided by the Odenton Heritage Society.
Friday featured an article about Taylor's Store, once located on Route 175.
Today, we present this article about Whittle's Store, written by Douglass Whittle, research director of the Odenton Heritage Society.
My grandfather, Charles Augustus Whittle, Jr., took over the Watts family store as a young man. It had been started by his mother’s people on May 1, 1869, down by the railroad tracks in Odenton, about where the present station is located. This store burned down on June 3, 1928 from coals from a train. They saved all the contents of the store and lost only the building. They moved the contents into the little vacant bank building behind it, and that was the store until about 1940 when it was moved to the small building on Route 175 across from the original Methodist Protestant church and cemetery.
I was born in 1947, so my memories are from the 1950s. My grandfather was assisted by his brother, N. Peter Watts Whittle, who was retired. The store was very small. Many of the food stuffs were behind the counter, and you had to ask for them when you came in. It had electricity to power the meat slicer and meat keeper. But one of my fondest memories was of the penny chewing gumball machines that also contained little toy charms that I loved to get.
Another thing I remember most was the soft drink cooler. You could buy soft drinks and take them home, but if you wanted one to drink right then you took one from the cooler. It was a large metal box next to the door as you went in. It had just about every flavor one could imagine and was a favorite of mine. I think over time I tried them all. Even more than the considerable candy case since as a kid I was often indifferent to candy, but I loved soda pop.
There were a number of small country stores like his in the area. As I remember how small it was compared to the large supermarkets of today, one might wonder how such small concerns could take care of the needs of people. And yet they did. Most of the groceries and supplies the average family needed could be had at these small stores. Can goods, bread, milk, eggs, cheese, meat, (my grandfather dealt with Esskay), laundry and dishwashing supplies. Most anything a family needed. The storekeeper was always a friend that you could count on to supply your needs.
The Odenton Heritage Society Museum is located at 1367 Odenton Rd., Odenton.