Groceries in amber
April 29, 2003 7:06 PM   Subscribe

When the Fifth Avenue Grocery in Roundup, Montana closed it's doors, it really closed them. Everything was left inside, as it was, until last year. Now the doors are open and everything's going up for auction tomorrow.
posted by kayjay (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh god, I'm salivating over some of that stuff. And to think, it will probably all end up hot-glued to the walls of a TGI Friday's.

Thanks so much, kayjay.
posted by padraigin at 7:16 PM on April 29, 2003

[this is uberfabby]
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:18 PM on April 29, 2003

Now you too can know it from Shinola.
posted by tss at 7:54 PM on April 29, 2003

Strangely, although both news links suggest that the store closed after the owner's death in 1952, this would suggest otherwise.

What do they call it in archaeology when they find something that couldn't possibly be from the time period in which they're digging? I can't remember, but it's a great word. Not anachronism...
posted by padraigin at 8:06 PM on April 29, 2003

WOW! I went in an old house that I'm about to buy, I picked up an unopened envelope from the Whitehouse... inside was a letter from Nixon (well, a canned card). I love that kind of stuff.
posted by tomplus2 at 8:11 PM on April 29, 2003

The real treasure would have been the opportunity to walk through the store the moment it was opened. It appears now that it's all been taken out and is sitting in a big room somewhere, and there doesn't appear to be much to distinguish it all from the collections of stuff you can find in the "antique rows" in any city in America. And as padraign notes, they don't seem to have been careful not to mingle it with other things that don't belong.

BTW, notice the neatly framed reflection of the camera in the upper left of this shot.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:44 PM on April 29, 2003

anachreology? (If I didn't originate that, I call dibs.)
posted by Vidiot at 8:48 PM on April 29, 2003

An archae major friend says the word you're looking for is 'intrusion'
posted by Syrinx at 9:23 PM on April 29, 2003

Hurray! That is the word I'm looking for. I was thinking anomaly, anachronism...

Syrinx, you're a peach. And that hot pad is an intrusion.
posted by padraigin at 9:27 PM on April 29, 2003

If only the same fate would befit several representative buildings of the time, then we might have a real idea of the undocumented cultural booty of the time. Just think what would happen if this went down with a bookstore.
posted by ed at 10:54 PM on April 29, 2003

This reminds me very much of a wonderful, engrossing episode of This American Life (first broadcast date 11/16/01) called House on Loon Lake (real audio file; sorry) about finding and exploring an untouched, abandoned house (and later a companion abandoned store) in Freedom, NH in the 1970's. Interestingly, the house and store in this story ended up as 'time capsules' in a very similar way (death of parent, kids leaving house/store boarded up and untouched).

Also, it saddens me greatly that this collection is going up for auction. While the toy collector part of me understands the urge to break it up, the historian part of me believes that this "treasure trove" is far more important as the sum of its total - the 'time capsule' aspect, if you will - than it will be piece by piece.
posted by anastasiav at 11:50 PM on April 29, 2003 [1 favorite]

Why, oh why, couldn't someone have gone through there with a digital camera the day it was re-opened?

I recently was shown a home for sale in which the third floor (old servant's quarters) had not been used since the thirties. Same time-capsule deal -- old clawfoot range/stove in the kitchen, period canned goods in the pantry, period stuff in the medicine cabinet...that, my friend, was a great day.
posted by luser at 6:46 AM on April 30, 2003 [1 favorite]

I have actually dreamt about walking into a place like this that has been closed up for decades. This just interests and amazes me to no end. I also wish that I could see pictures of the place just after they opened it up. It must have been amazing.
posted by schmedeman at 8:24 AM on April 30, 2003

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