Solin’s Market, Chicopee Mass

Solin’s Market, at the corner of Center and West Streets in Chicopee around 1919. Image courtesy of the Chicopee Public Library, Russ H. Gilbert Photographic Collection.

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The location in 2015:

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This grocery store was owned by Michael Solin, and was established in the early 1900s to serve the growing Polish community in Chicopee.  I can’t read all of the writing on the windows, but it appears that some of the purchases that could be made here included sugar for 7 cents a pound, butter for 35 cents a pound, eggs for 28 cents a dozen, and milk for 11 cents a quart.  “Fresh shoulders” are also apparently available, although no price is given, so perhaps the market price varied from day to day.  These seem like great buys, but of course wages were also much lower back in 1919.  In 2015 dollars, the sugar would cost $0.95, the butter would be $4.75, the eggs $3.80, and the milk $1.49 (for a quart, so a gallon would be $5.96).  All of these are comparable to or higher than prices today, so the deals weren’t as great as they appear at first glance.

But, just as buying milk for 11 cents a quart is a thing of the past, so is the building that once housed Solin’s Market.  I don’t know when it was demolished, but the property was probably needed to widen Center Street and make room for the I-391 on-ramp.  The street to the right, Abbey Street, is now closed off to traffic from this end, and some of the houses on that street are probably the only things left from the 1919 photo.

3 thoughts on “Solin’s Market, Chicopee Mass”

  1. Originally the building was a hotel with two stores on the ground floor.
    My grandfather, Mike Solin, had rented one of those stores and later bought the building and made the ground floor into one store and converted the hotel rooms into four apartments. He had a lot of help from the H.L. Handy Company.

    Reply
    • Stan, my mother used to shop there when she, my father, and 3 older brothers and I (born in 1950) lived on Curtis Terrace that was up the hill across from Solin’s. Your grandfather was a very kind man. At some point, he gave my mother a wooden chair for me (probably when we moved from Curtis Terrace to the Senecal Projects in 1951/1952 on Elcon Drive. We were watching TV in the living room while eating popcorn, and I started rocking in the chair that was backed up to the old fashioned radiator. My mother told me that it was not a rocking chair and to stop rocking. Needless to say, I fell backwards and cracked my head open on the radiator seam. I remember your grandfather with his apron on. My oldest brother told me it was probably because your g/father used to deliver groceries to us. Neither of my parents drove. From other responses to your post, it seems that your g/father had a great reputation. How wonderful! Nancy Greenwood Larson

      Reply
  2. My folks used to shop there when I was very young, early to mid-1950s.
    I do remember the man running it, I assume it was Mr Solin, wearing an apron and talking to customers. When the Popular Market opened on Exchange Street we shopped there most of the time. Not sure of the timeline, when did Solin’s close?

    Reply

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