Country Store Shop Sign

Description
This sign was a grocery store bulletin board collected from a country store in Plymouth, Vermont, the birthplace of President Calvin Coolidge. The president’s father, John Coolidge, owned a country store in the town from 1868 until 1917. Florence Cilley continued to operate the store from 1917 until 1945. It is not known if this sign came from the Coolidge store or another country store in Plymouth, but the Coolidge/Cilley country store history provides a model for the role a typical country store played in rural communities across the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century. As the Grange Movement took off after the Civil War, country stores became the nerve centers of rural communities, providing credit or barter in locally grown crops in defense against railroad monopolies. A fraternal and lobbying organization for farmers, the Grange Movement achieved rural mail delivery for rural areas and funding for agricultural colleges. The Coolidge store offered space in a second story large vaulted room for weekly Grange dances and family reunions. A small post office in front of the store which had served the town since 1809, continued in that role until 1976. Store owner John Coolidge served as the town’s notary public and administered the presidential oath of office to his son following the death of President Warren Harding in 1923, and the store took on the role of Summer White House during Coolidge’s administration. But as the Grange Movement illustrates, the country store played a central role in politics of rural towns long before the Coolidge presidency. The bulletin board and bellied stove provided the center for political and business exchange, crop-growing and harvesting advice, local and national news, and storytelling. The Coolidge country store is now available for public viewing at the Coolidge Homestead historic site in Plymouth, Vermont, where “buying local” is not a new idea and political news goes beyond national televised coverage.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
shop sign
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
paint (overall material)
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 158 cm x 48 cm x 3 cm; 62 3/16 in x 18 7/8 in x 1 3/16 in
Place Made
United States
location where used
United States
ID Number
CL*388195
accession number
182022
catalog number
388195
collector/donor number
198
subject
Advertising
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Folk Art
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Greenwood

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