[Pictures vintage store] – Coffren Store in Maryland, the only intact example of 19th century general merchandise store

The Coffren Store in Maryland is a rare example of a well-preserved, mid 19th-century general merchandise store.

Small local stores of this type one-room utilitarian structures including a Post Office once commonly dotted the rural landscape of the county. Most have long since disappeared, and the few others remaining have been altered. The Coffren Store is the only intact example in the county.

NORTHEAST (FRONT) ELEVATION – Coffren House, Store, 10007 Croom Road, Croom, Prince George’s County, MD

NORTHEAST (FRONT) ELEVATION - Coffren House, Store, 10007 Croom Road, Croom, Prince George's County, MD

SOUTHEAST SIDE AND SOUTHWEST REAR – Coffren House, StoreSOUTHEAST SIDE AND SOUTHWEST REAR - Coffren House, Store

John W. Coffren (1828-1874), who rose from ditch digger to wealthy merchant, served on the Vestry of St. Thomas Church in Croom and on the Prince George’s County School Board, as well as owning much of the property in the Village of Croom.

Coffren House ca. 1930 – Library of Congress

coffren house

Listed as a ‘ditcher’ in the 1850 census, Coffren was operation a store on the present store site, probably in the present building, by 1853. He was 26 years old at the time and lived above the store while acquiring 58 acres of property in the surrounding area.

GENERAL INTERIOR VIEW LOOKING NORTHEAST TO THE FRONT OF THE STORE – Coffren House, StoreGENERAL INTERIOR VIEW LOOKING NORTHEAST TO THE FRONT OF THE STORE - Coffren House, Store

VIEW OF INTERIOR, WEST REAR CORNER OF STORE (NOTE: SECTION OF COUNTER TO REAR, RIGHT SIDE HOUSES THE CASH DRAWER) – Coffren House, StoreVIEW OF INTERIOR, WEST REAR CORNER OF STORE

 VIEW OF INTERIOR, SOUTH REAR CORNER OF STORE INCLUDING REAR DOORWAY AND PARTIALLY ENCLOSED STAIRWAY TO SECOND FLOOR – Coffren House, StoreVIEW OF INTERIOR, SOUTH REAR CORNER OF STORE INCLUDING REAR DOORWAY AND PARTIALLY ENCLOSED STAIRWAY TO SECOND FLOOR - Coffren House, Store

INTERIOR VIEW, SOUTH REAR CORNER OF STORE SHOWING STAIRWAY – Coffren House, Store

INTERIOR VIEW, SOUTH REAR CORNER OF STORE SHOWING STAIRWAY - Coffren House, Store

He established the first post office in the store in the mid-1850s and served as postmaster until his death.

INTERIOR VIEW OF POST OFFICE LOCATED IN NORTH CORNER OF STORE – Coffren House, StoreINTERIOR VIEW OF POST OFFICE LOCATED IN NORTH CORNER OF STORE - Coffren House, Store

REAR OF POST OFFICE SHOWING BOXES, WINDOW AND CLOSED CASH DRAWER – Coffren House, StoreREAR OF POST OFFICE SHOWING BOXES, WINDOW AND CLOSED CASH DRAWER - Coffren House, Store

REAR OF POST OFFICE, CASH DRAWER OPEN – Coffren House, StoreREAR OF POST OFFICE SHOWING BOXES, WINDOW AND CLOSED CASH DRAWER - Coffren House, Store

REAR OF POST OFFICE, CASH DRAWER OPEN AND MONEY DRAWER PULLED OUT – Coffren House, StoreREAR OF POST OFFICE, CASH DRAWER OPEN AND MONEY DRAWER PULLED OUT - Coffren House, Store

CASH DRAWER REMOVED AND TURNED ON SIDE TO SHOW WORKINGS OF BELL MECHANISM – Coffren House, StoreCASH DRAWER REMOVED AND TURNED ON SIDE TO SHOW WORKINGS OF BELL MECHANISM - Coffren House, Store

 CASH DRAWER UNDER REAR COUNTER, NOTE BELL MECHANISM TO BACK OF DRAWER – Coffren House, StoreCASH DRAWER UNDER REAR COUNTER, NOTE BELL MECHANISM TO BACK OF DRAWER - Coffren House, Store

CASH DRAWER WITH COIN DRAWER REMOVED TO REVEAL SECTIONS TO HOLD DOLLAR BILLS BENEATH – Coffren House, StoreCASH DRAWER WITH COIN DRAWER REMOVED TO REVEAL SECTIONS TO HOLD DOLLAR BILLS BENEATH - Coffren House, Store, 10007 Croom Road, Croom, Prince George's County, MD

Coffren was appointed to the first Board of County Commissioners in July 1865. He represented Nottingham, Aquasco and Surratt’s Districts and oversaw the building of a school in Croom in 1866. He served as vestryman for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Croom, from 1867 to his death in 1874.

 INTERIOR VIEW OF BEHIND THE NORTHWEST COUNTER, LOOKING NORTHEAST TOWARDS THE POST OFFICE, SHOWING THE BINS/DRAWERS – Coffren House, StoreINTERIOR VIEW OF BEHIND THE NORTHWEST COUNTER, LOOKING NORTHEAST TOWARDS THE POST OFFICE, SHOWING THE BINS and DRAWERS - Coffren House, Store

According to local legend, Confederate troops from the area met and drilled in front of the store.

INTERIOR VIEW, SECOND FLOOR, LOOKING FROM NORTHEAST FRONT, FINISHED ROOM INTO SOUTHWEST REAR, UNFINISHED STORAGE AREA. STAIRWAY TO LEFT. – Coffren House, StoreINTERIOR VIEW, SECOND FLOOR, LOOKING FROM NORTHEAST FRONT, FINISHED ROOM INTO SOUTHWEST REAR, UNFINISHED STORAGE AREA. STAIRWAY TO LEFT. - Coffren House, Store

The plan and features of the store are unchanged since its construction. An inventory of personal property made at Coffren’s death documents the merchandise stocked in the building, including grain and seed, tools and nails, food stuffs, clothing, drugs for the two local physicians, and wines and liquors.  The Coffren Store, constructed ca. 1853, is a utilitarian structure, designed for use as a one-room general store. The Coffren store closed in 1945

Today his house and store are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

SOUTHWEST (REAR) AND NORTHWEST SIDE – Coffren HouseSOUTHWEST (REAR) AND NORTHWEST SIDE - Coffren House

VIEW OF SOUTHWEST (REAR) ELEVATION, VIEW FROM THE PRIVY BEHIND BARNS – Coffren HouseVIEW OF SOUTHWEST (REAR) ELEVATION, VIEW FROM THE PRIVY BEHIND BARNS - Coffren House

PERSPECTIVE VIEW OF NORTHEAST (FRONT) AND SOUTHEAST SIDE ELEVATION – Coffren HousePERSPECTIVE VIEW OF NORTHEAST (FRONT) AND SOUTHEAST SIDE ELEVATION - Coffren House

PERSPECTIVE VIEW OF SOUTHWEST (REAR) – Coffren HousePERSPECTIVE VIEW OF SOUTHWEST (REAR) - Coffren House

The village of Croom formed along a bend in Croom Road between Croom Airport Road and St. Thomas Church Road during the 1840s and 50s.

 INTERIOR VIEW, FIRST FLOOR, SIDE/STAIR HALL TO NORTHWEST OF HOUSE, LOOKING WEST-SOUTHWEST – Coffren HouseINTERIOR VIEW, FIRST FLOOR, SIDE and STAIR HALL TO NORTHWEST OF HOUSE, LOOKING WEST-SOUTHWEST - Coffren House

INTERIOR VIEW, SECOND FLOOR, STAIR HALL, LOOKING WEST-SOUTHWEST – Coffren HouseINTERIOR VIEW, SECOND FLOOR, STAIR HALL, LOOKING WEST-SOUTHWEST - Coffren House

INTERIOR VIEW, FIRST FLOOR, VIEW OF FRONT PARLOR WITH ADJOINING DINING ROOM TO REAR, LOOKING SOUTH – Coffren HouseINTERIOR VIEW, FIRST FLOOR, VIEW OF FRONT PARLOR WITH ADJOINING DINING ROOM TO REAR, LOOKING SOUTH - Coffren House

In 1853 Croom was composed of several houses, a blacksmith shop, a wheelwright’s shop and John W. Coffren’s store.

INTERIOR VIEW OF FEED TROUGH OF BARN STALL – Coffren House, Barn-ShedINTERIOR VIEW OF FEED TROUGH OF BARN STALL - Coffren House, Barn-Shed

 INTERIOR VIEW OF STABLE AREA OF BARN, LOOKING SOUTHWEST – Coffren HouseINTERIOR VIEW OF STABLE AREA OF BARN, LOOKING SOUTHWEST - Coffren House

GENERAL VIEW OF SOUTH FRONT (ENTRY) ELEVATION – Coffren House, PrivyGENERAL VIEW OF SOUTH FRONT (ENTRY) ELEVATION - Coffren House, Privy

INTERIOR VIEW SHOWING BEVELED EDGE SEATS, LOOKING NORTHWEST – Coffren HouseINTERIOR VIEW SHOWING BEVELED EDGE SEATS, LOOKING NORTHWEST - Coffren House,

Coffren House, Corn CribCoffren House, Corn Crib

DETAIL OF DOORWAY OF EAST FRONT – Coffren House, Corn CribDETAIL OF DOORWAY OF EAST FRONT - Coffren House, Corn Crib

With the port of Nottingham four miles to the east and Upper Marlboro, the County seat, four miles to the north, Croom remained a village serving local farms and plantations.

 SOURCES

  1. National Register of Historic Places
  2. Library of Congress
  3. Wikipedia

 

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