These days, when we need to grab a few items at the store, we generally head straight to the supermarket. We think of crowded aisles, long lines and, in many cases, what we can leave behind so that we can take advantage of the twelve or less checkout line.
Unfortunately, the days of stopping into a “mom and pop” store for milk and bread are long gone. These days, being greeted by a happy smile and neighborly conversation are all but a distant memory.
Here in Wilmington, however, memories of one neighborhood store still exist. For many people in Wilmington Tattersall’s, which stood at the corner of Grove Ave and Main Street, was the epitome of the small town “mom and pop” store that you rarely see today.
Built in 1924, Tattersall’s was owned by Bill and Lil Tattersall. They ran the store during the summer months and, in the off season, another local resident, Al “Jake” Riley, took over for them.
In 1940, Riley moved on to running his own gas station and Margaret and Hap Hourihan took over the reigns at the store. During this time period a solid foundation was poured and the building was raised up a bit.
When locals think of Tattersall’s the first thing they remember is ice cream. With plenty of varieties to choose from it was a favorite stopping place for children and parents alike. The store also sold staples such as milk and bread along with magazines and, of course, candy.
Most importantly, Tattersall’s was a gathering place for residents to catch up on news, chat with a neighbor and possibly make a new friend.
Today, the Tattersall's building lies vacant. It has been home to many businesses over the past years but still seems to remain a simple reminder of Wilmington’s small town past.
Historical information and photographs obtained from Silver Lake – Wilmington, Collected Memories by Gerry O’Reilly. Available at the Wilmington Memorial Library.