Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Safeway at the Health Department

Boring government building or a disguised old supermarket? You decide!

Cross-posted from Safeway and Albertsons in Texas Blog

In October 1950, Safeway opened store #249 in Bryan, Texas, when they were a much smaller company than they later grew to be. It was likely from the Dallas division originally.

Used to be here! (1960)

Now it's here! (1971)

In the mid-1960s, Safeway rebuilt their store directly behind their old one. The reasoning for this was never fully explained, especially since the store was only 15 years old at the time and there were no serious issues reported in the press (foundation issues, right of way clearance).

In 1986, the store closed, probably to distance from the newly-acquired Weingarten store just a bit down the road. The replacement store would last as a Safeway as just a few years before becoming an AppleTree. It would be the last AppleTree until Kubicek sold out around 2009.

Sometime within the next 5 years of 1986 it was remodeled into the Brazos County Health Department, though I could've sworn that they've done an exterior remodel in recent years--the old one was distinctly grocery store-shaped. Regardless of what they did to the front, there's some rockwork on the side of the store: that's one sign that it was a Safeway, I suppose.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Scoates Hall

This picture is from Flickr, but I still took it myself.

Who loves old buildings? I do! I took these pictures of the 1932-built Scoates Hall (officially at 333 Spence) in June 2012 shortly after renovation plans were announced (I think Scoates was last renovated sometime in the 1950s or 1960s, I have a hard time believing that a lot of what I was seeing was 1930s vintage). Unfortunately, I didn't have good picture taking skills or a good frame of reference to where these were (the floor plan threw me a loop, you can't directly access the two halves of the building, and even the second floor connections require some maneuvering), so the pictures aren't entirely adequate. I can however tell you that the water fountain in one shot is totally gone, the stairs were reinforced with new guardrails (the old rails used to terrify me--especially since they were below a taller person's center of gravity), and the new hallways look nice and shiny, though of course something is missing from before renovation.

Check out the shots here, on Flickr.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Zachry Engineering Center: End of an Era

We'll be exploring this one soon enough.

In late 2014, I was planning to hurry up on the last posts before closing the blog indefinitely to focus on new endeavors, and Zachry was supposed to be one of the "big posts" the blog had gotten some fans from. It opened in 1972 originally and I have a full suite of photos (though many of the videos are still in storage) on my website, Carbon-izer. The building closed in February 2015 for a massive remodel that pretty much gutted the building (I haven't yet gone inside, but based on my experiences from The Commons, which was so offputting that I refused to rewrite the post, it's probably for the best). It doesn't cover the Zachry Snackery, as it had been closed for several years prior to my exploration, and doesn't cover the Einstein Bros. Bagels that was briefly in Zachry from fall 2012 to its closure. The modern "Zachry Engineering Education Complex" (ZEEC), as opposed to the "H.B. Zachry Engineering Center" (ZEC, though I have also heard it as the "H.B. Zachry Engineering Building") reopened in 2018 and has a Starbucks inside (like many other A&M buildings these days).

Updated June 2019

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Former Piggly Wiggly at Texas Avenue & Rosemary

The building in its original form as Piggly Wiggly. It doesn't look like this today, thanks to a later facade re-do. Courtesy John Ellisor via and The Eagle.

Even before the late Luby's served its first piece of fried fish, we had the first local location of Piggly Wiggly across the street from it. First opened in 1963, I can't nail down when it exactly it closed, but it seems to have been around 1980, give or take a year (and why it had an even number despite being on the odd-numbered side of Texas Avenue I don't know).

Piggly Wiggly in our corner of the world was owned by Piggly Wiggly Red River Co., which mostly owned the stores between I-20 and I-10 plus north of Dallas-Fort Worth, including Waco-Temple-Killeen, Conroe, Georgetown, Sherman-Denison, and Bryan-College Station. This was their first area store. In 1983, these stores were sold to local operator Six Star Foods, which kept three stores plus a store in Hearne limping along until they were closed in 1985.

Unfortunately, the Piggly Wiggly here didn't even last to the point where it was sold to Six Star Foods. Instead, the store closed, and in 1981, part of the store (suite B) was reopened as a discount grocery store, Jewel T. Owned by the same company running the Jewel-Osco stores in the Chicago area (and a play on the name "Jewel Tea", their original name), Jewel T was a discount store reportedly similar to Aldi and took residence in older-generation grocery stores. Unfortunately, details are sparse on this elusive store, and it didn't last long. In 1984, The Jewel Companies were bought by American Stores, and Jewel T was sold off to Save-a-Lot, but the Texas division was bought by Grand Prairie-based Shop-N-Sav and renamed Texas-T.

In 1994, Texas-T was bought from them by Save-a-Lot's parent company, SuperValu, and converted to Save-a-Lot (the rest of the Texas T stores were) before closing for good a few years later. It's not surprising if Save-a-Lot closed soon after, a failed stand in College Station is pretty much forgotten (and hey, that was an old Piggly Wiggly, too!)

After Save-a-Lot closed, it became Jacque's Toys & Books, a local upscale "learning toys" store. Now, Jacque's would claim it's been around since 1986 (the "start of business" time), but not in that space. It was originally called "The Toy Box" and located at 3806 South Texas Avenue (later home to Brazos Blind & Draperies) and in suite A from 1990 to 1998, and then jumped to Suite B following Sav-a-Lot's closure. Jacque's closed in September 2016.

If I have my chronology right, the left location (suite A) later became Brazos Valley Christian Books (coincidentally, located at 3808 Texas Avenue in the early 1990s) and later Pack & Mail, which closed in the latter part of the 2000s. It's now been subdivided once more, as you can see in my pictures. Because I don't have actual address-based directories, I haven't been able to ascertain what was in suite A after Piggly Wiggly's departure.

It's important to note that although Piggly Wiggly was at 4300 Texas Avenue, but while the shopping center is still called that, none of the stores have that address (which makes sense, at some point the address was corrected). Even before Sav-a-Lot left, there was one other "grocery store" at the center--at 4303 Texas Avenue (opened in 1988, as long as I can remember), was Brazos Natural Foods. The store had long been a purveyor of organic and gluten free items long before the mainstream supermarkets had them, but the store closed in early 2021. There are also additional storefronts on North Rosemary Street. 700 N. Rosemary is vacant (no clue what was there), 702 N. Rosemary being the long-time home of water purification company Jacob's Well (though the picture on their website is not of this location), and 704 N. Rosemary being Laina Salon (and formerly Nori's Hair Studio, though indications are it essentially renamed...and for a short time was "Nori's Hair Studio & Reflexology). The addresses jump to 710 N. Rosemary, and this was Awards & More, which was located here from 1999 to around the mid-2010s (it has since relocated). Today, the space being occupied by Curious Collections Vinyl Records & More, which has been here since 2017.

The current Google Maps imagery shows Aggieland Preschool Academy at the old Jacque's and Lone Star Quiltworks and BCS Fitness on the left.

UPDATE 07-22-2021: Rename to "Former Piggly Wiggly at Texas Avenue & Rosemary", minor rewrite, especially involving the backstory of some tenants and adding the Rosemary tenants.
UPDATE 06-27-2023: Lone Star Quiltworks closed in February 2023 (owner retired). TexAgs mentions it here.