If you’re in real estate, you know right now there’s nothing hotter than walkability. People are tired of driving stressed all day, hunting for parking. They yearn to walk to school, walk to the park, walk to the corner store. The idyllic American main streets that’ve been boarded up by Sprawlmart big box leviathans – well, they’re back, baby.
For as long as humans have enjoyed cities, the place where commerce took place and merchants lured patrons was along the street, not a quarter mile back from the curb behind an eye-sore parking lot. The arrangements and configurations of these store fronts was paramount to attracting business. Maybe you sold the same wares as a shopkeeper down the block, but if you could arrange your goods in a more eye-catching manner, well you just might end up bagging the sale they didn’t.
Shorpy.com has done a tremendous job corralling and promoting thousands of plate glass negative images from the Library of Congress’ millions strong collection from the turn-of-the-century and beyond. With the small collection assembled below, we see the intricacies and smallness of these store fronts. These were spaces designed to linger around, to converse with each other about. You’d be hard pressed to find anything of the sort outside a Target or Best Buy.