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Sunday, 14 April 2013

47 Arlington Street is up for sale !

Every building has a great story (or two or 5) to tell. When I learned via the Twitterverse that the  unique looking house at 47 Arlington Street is up for sale, I just had to dig in.

Its appearance suggests that it once was a grocery store. For whatever reason, that clay tile roof motif was used throughout Winnipeg by grocers in the 1920s, be they independents or part of a chain. In fact, when Safeway set up shop here in 1929 they adopted it as well.

In the first week of January 1922 a building permit was granted to Arni Eggertson for the erection of a $5,000 brick store on the east side of Arlington Street just south of Wolseley Avenue. You might think that this is an odd location to put a store and 101 years ago Wolseleyites felt the same.

A "large delegation of residents of the district" turned up at the January  25, 1922 Public Safety Committee meeting of council to demand that construction be stopped and that this portion of the street be declared a residential zone. The city couldn't do either on the spot so the community mobilized.

March 23, 1922, Manitoba Free Press

Residents created a petition and submitted it at the following week's city council meeting demanding that a bylaw be passed to make Arlington Street from Wolseley Avenue to the Assiniboine River a residential zone. They ensured that delegations showed up at each committee along the way and they finally go their wish on the evening of May 22, 1922.

As for the construction, residents went to court and got a temporary injunction against Eggertson. On March 15 the Manitoba Court of Appeal held a special session to rule on the issue. I cannot find newspaper coverage of the outcome but, as you will see below, the store eventually got built. 

 January 24, 1924, Manitoba Free Press

George Capatas' Arlington Grocery opened - without fanfare - in late 1922 or early 1923. The Capatas family also lived on-site. Perhaps because of the hard feelings, the store barely lasted a year and by December 1923 it was up for sale. 

In the years to come, others would try and fail to make a go of it. In 1924 it was Getty's Grocery, in 1925 it briefly became part of the local Neals Foods chain, in 1929 - 30 it was B. Wing's Yorkshire Grocery, in 1931 Victory Tailor Shop and in 1932 Roy's Handy Shop.

Osmond ca. 1959

In the late 1930s one man finally found success. Harry Osmond opened Osmond's Grocery and his family lived on-site. His son, Harry Jr., was an award-winning science grad from the U of M and daughter Harriet ("Babe") worked in the store with her father.

By the early 1950s Harry was in his 70's and retired. Harriet took over the store and she and husband Henry Michaelis moved in with Harry. 

In the mid 1950s the store became Osmond's Solo Store and by 1960 it was back to Osmond's Grocery. It was operated by Harriet and Harry until at least 1985. The store had been held up six times between 1978 and 1985, twice with knives.

I can't find when Harry died. Harriet died in 1987 and Henry in 1993.

As Neals Store ca. 1925

As Solo Store ca. 1954

So, there you go. If you want to own a house that's not only super-funky but has also changed the nature of the street that it sits on, be sure to check it out !


cherenkov said...

Nice place. Love that kitchen!

Christian Cassidy said...

Yes, pretty spectacular !

home for sale said...

great post..Thanks and please keep posting

Anonymous said...

Looks like you are buying an interior design staging. Ugh vinyl siding.

Erica said...

Thanks for digging in to the history of our house! A lady I know who grew up nearby also seems to remember it being a hair salon at some point in the 70's/80's.

I assure you that's my real furniture, Anonymous, so I'll take your comment as a compliment ;)

In 2010 a wind storm ripped off what seemed to be the original white siding, and vinyl was all the insurance company would help pay to replace. It's remarkably expensive to side your house! It looks pretty sharp in person, IMO.

There are several grocery stores on Westminster just a block north, and even a few along Wolseley (north side), but yep, ours is the furthest south (it's on the block that touches the Assiniboine River). I always thought it'd be a super convenient spot for a store! ;)

Christian Cassidy said...

Erica, yes, there was a barbers at one point. I recall seeing a couple of help wanted ads for one at some point.

I think what happened is because it was two addresses (47 and 49) one was usually a residence and the other retail. It seems that from time to time the residential side hosted a second retail tenant, (for instance the tailor's and a grocery store seem to have coincided for a year, there was also a time when there was both a grocer and a separate confectionery store.)

Maybe Harriet and Henry decided to move out and rent out their space.

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Jen said...

I grew up on Ethelbert in the '60s-'70s, and walked down Wolseley on my way to and from school at Laura Secord. Stopping at Babe's (which is how all the neighbourhood kids referred to Osmond's Grocery) was a daily occurrence for my friends and me. Babe knew us all; she usually saw our report cards before our parents! I spent almost every dime of my Saturday allowances on the penny candy at Osmond's. I'll always remember Harry and Babe.

Paradiseguy said...

Jen, if you remember all that good stuff, you might recall Babe seemed to always have a Grrman Shepherd laying on the floor near the back corner of the store or behind the counter with her.

jk said...

ha, I remember spending my allowance on swedish berries at babe's. it would drive harry crazy because he would have to count out 150 of them! we lived just down the street at 31.