Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Silver Spring Christmas: 1955 Style

Maryland News, December 23, 1955.
Microfilm collection of the Silver Spring Historical Society.
Like this year, Christmas day fell on a Sunday in 1955.  Shoppers who had yet to complete their holiday purchases might have felt relieved when this advertisement for G. C. Murphy & Co. appeared in the Friday, December 23rd Maryland News.

This "five and dime" variety store was the namesake of George Clinton Murphy, who founded the business in 1906 in McKeesport, PA.  A national chain store that offered low-priced merchandise, Murphy's had been located at 8237 Georgia Avenue since 1937.

Murphy's occupied the ground floor of the MUCH altered building that still sits on the southeast corner of Georgia and Thayer avenues (originally contructed c. 1927 and named the Heizer Building after its owner, Roy M. Heizer).  It is  difficult to imagine all of the merchandise touted in this advertisement fitting into such a small building.

Adjusted for inflation, the advertised prices do not seem too dissimilar from what one would pay for the same items today.  That 67c nylon hosiery for your wife or girlfriend is equal to $5.66 and the high-end $5.98 all-metal wagon for little Dickie (or Sue) would be set you back $50.48.  Keep in mind that the national average wage in 1955 was $3,301.44 or $68.78 each week...before taxes.

Murphy's remained in the Heizer Building thru at least 1968.  Amazingly, no photographs of either the exterior or interior of this business that served our community for over three decades have surfaced.  If you have photos...or even reminiscences of shopping or working at this Murphy location...please share them here.


Helene said...

Hi, Jerry!
I beleive Murphy's (as we used to call it) moved to Colesville Rd at some point, because there was a pass-through between it and Hecht's (on the corner of Fenton and Colesville) when I was growing up. I did LOTS of my Christmas shopping there as a tween and teen - they were always a great place for a bargain :)

WashingtonGardener said...

More importantly waht does beinga "member of Santascope" involve?

George said...

Helene, that was Green's, not Murphys. I remember the soda fountain there would hang balloons and if you chose one that had a little piece of paper in it that said "FREE'" you got a free banana split. Otherwise you had to pay full price, or sometimes a reduced price. I think full price was 39 cents. I bought all my 45 records at Greens!!!

Anonymous said...

Helene: The passthrough in Hecht's went into McCrory's. I bought my 45's at McCrory's (which I think it was renamed in the 70's after Greens.) Murphy's wasn't as small as you think. There was a full floor downstairs section. I bought my first Christmas presents at Murphy's in 1965. A sewing basket for my Mom and Aqua Velva for my Brothers.