History of 1501 Street

Our building is one of the most historic commercial buildings in Frankford, Philadelphia.

(Philadelphia, 1908)
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1849

1849

This map 1849 map by Dripps shows the 1500 Unity Street block with a school and several small factories.

1849
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1862

1862

This map is from the "Philadelphia Atlas" created by Samuel L. Smedley in 1862. Following the success of the Atlas, he was elected as Chief Engineer and Surveyor of Philadelphia. The segment of the map shows the 1500 Unity Street block before the warehouse and elevated railroad was built. No buildings or factories are shown on the block.

1862
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1910

1910

A 1910 map showing the 1500 Unity Street block before the construction of the building. The Philadelphia & Reading (P&R) Railroad is shown running through the block, over Griscom St., and ending at a Frankford Ave. station. Notice the freight depot, and residential development on the Unity St. side. The map was drawn by G. W. Bromley.

1910
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1924

unityfrankford

In 1924, Frankford Grocery Co. contracted William Elmer Seibert Dyer to build the original section of the warehouse. Since their founding in 1888, the Frankford Grocery Co. became one of the largest co-op grocery distributors in the United States. At their height, they supplied about 2000 independent grocery stores under the name "Unity-Frankford."

1924
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1929

1929

This 1929 map by Bromley shows the original Frankford Grocery Co. building with the freight train stop.

1929
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1934

frankfordgrocerysign

Frankford Grocery Co. awarded Philadelphia-based Barclay, White & Co. the contract to expand the building across the entire block. The second floor train depot was expanded. 1501 Unity St. became a 300,000 sq. ft. structure. William Macy Stanton was the architect, and Howard S. Pennell was the engineer.

1934
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1952

1952 1952

1952 aerial shot by Charles Higgins. Note the train over Penn Street. The Griscom St. extension was severed. Frankford Grocery Co. was the final stop.

1952
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1961

1961Ad

A June 19, 1961 Frankford Grocery Co. ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer for their house brand "Unity" products.

1961
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1962

1962

A 1962 map published by the Works Progress Administration, shows the entire warehouse at 1501 Unity St., which stands until today.

1962
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1964

Cotter & Co. acquired 1501 Unity St.

1964
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1973

1973 Train Accident

According to locals, children set the train car loose from Sears up the tracks. It ran right through the building and broke the wall on Griscom St.

1973
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1984

Valu Plus

Expanded Bays

On June 20, 1984, Valu-Plus Inc., a 28 store regional retail chain, acquired 1501 Unity Street. Shortly after acquisition, Valu-Plus modernized the Shipping & Receiving bays so they could handle up to 53ft tractor-trailers.

June 20, 1984
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1991

Valu-Plus renamed its importing division to Promo-Power from Buy-Rite Distributors.

1991
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2011

Valu Plus Warehouse

Valu-Plus sold to Rainbow Shops® after 35 years of serving the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Maryland areas.

2011
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2015

Promo Power Group

Promo Power Group

Promo Power Group, the former importing division of Valu-Plus, was reborn.

2015

Thank you!

Please contact us if you have any additional information about our building and its history.