Most of us have probably passed this small grocery store on the southeast corner of College Avenue and 46thStreet without giving a thought to its history. While I’ve admired the curved lines of this Double 8 Foods, it wasn’t until I viewed an architectural drawing and early photograph at Ball State that I really appreciated the design of the small Art Moderne store.
Early 1930s drawing by Leslie F. Ayres for architects Pierre and Wright. Pierre and Wright also designed a Kroger store on the southwest corner of East Tenth Street and Drexel (in Emerson Heights neighborhood), and it is unclear whether the drawing above was for that site or College Avenue, or both. (From Ball State, Pierre and Wright Architectural Collection)
Early 1930s photo of Kroger at the southeast corner of College Avenue and 46th Street. As built, the sign was moved to the corner, but still featured stylistic letters typical of the 1930s. (Ball State, Pierre and Wright Architectural Collection, photo by W. Frank Jones)
That same building, occupied by Double 8 Foods. Double 8 Foods (named Seven-Eleven Supermarkets until 2000) occupied this building as early at 1960. The Indianapolis-based chain opened in 1957 and has several stores on the near northside. The stores specialize in African-American foods such as chitterlings, catfish, fresh greens, pork ribs, and barbecue sauces. This store was renovated in 2010, once again opening up the large front windows. Read more about the history of Double 8 at their web site or in the Kevin Kastner’s Urban Indy blog.
More of Pierre and Wright’s drawings and photographs of Kroger buildings can be seen in Ball State’s digital library.
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Here is the Shirley Brothers Mortuaries Drexel Chapel formerly the Kroger Grocery Store on the southwest corner of East Tenth Street and Drexel.
Sadly, the Double 8 has left this building, rather abruptly. It is now for rent, and it would be a wonderful opportunity for a new grocery to move in… or maybe a year round farmer’s market. Yes, that would be FANTASTIC!
As of March 2018, it’s being renovated into a swanky restaurant. It looks good and seems to be coming right along!