One Of The Oldest Stores In Illinois Turns 125 Years Old In 2021
This general store turns 125 years old in 2021 making it one of the oldest in Illinois.
What Is A General Store
You may or may not be familiar with the concept of a general store. The only thing I can really compare it to in our day and age is a convenience store.
It was basically a store that sold a little bit of everything. Back in the day, there were no strip malls, shopping centers, or internet. I would call it one-stop shopping.
When your family needed supplies, you went into town and hit the general store. If they did not carry what you were looking for, well, you were just out of luck. There was no competition.
Unfortunately, I have never experienced a real general store. I have just seen them on television or in movies. Maybe at an old west-themed amusement park.
Video: General Store
General Store Timeline
To give it a little perspective, here is a timeline.
If you look back at the history of general stores, when were they in their heyday?
According to britannica.com,
"The American general store flourished throughout the 19th century but declined rapidly in the 20th century, particularly after the 1920s."
What was happening in Illinois around that time?
According to illinois.gov,
"In 1900, Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959) establishes a studio in Oak Park for designing "prairie style" architecture."
How about in Rockford?
According to gorockford.com,
"Camp Grant was opened south of the city in 1917, and thousands of soldiers were trained here for World War I."
As you can see, general stores were a big deal a long time ago.
Video: Tomorrow's Yesterday: Mansfield General Store
What Is The Oldest General Store In Illinois
According to onlyinyourstate.com,
"Illinois has numerous general stores around the state but for now, we will take a step back in time at Mansfield General Store which has been around for well over a century."
From Mansfield General Store Facebook page...
"Historic general store serving the community since 1896."
That is pretty darn amazing. Most businesses, especially retail stores, do not usually have that kind of shelf life. It is even more incredible when you think about the fact that it is really an out-of-date concept.