Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Former Acme – Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Photos courtesy of John from WISL1480.com

Location: 1649 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, PA

A former Lancaster Acme has finally made its way to the blog! I have been wanting to get former stores in Lancaster, Reading and Allentown posted for years now but have yet to make it out that way. Thanks to John for getting the ball rolling for us. He has also photographed a former pitched-roof store in Lancaster which will going up on the blog soon. Several other exist there as well and will be covered sometime in the future.

This location opened December 19, 1956 just 4 months after a nearly identical store opened across town on Columbia Avenue. I'm not sure when the Lancaster Acme stores closed but I was told many years ago that the plug was pulled on them  due to a union dispute. Not sure how accurate that information is. I do know Acme maintained some offices in Lancaster well into the 90's. Of course, Lanaster Brand Meats is still going strong today!

I came across this building many, many years ago and at first glance wondered if it was a former Acme. Wasn't so much the building that gave it away as the tall sign structure out at the street. Still I wasn't entirely sure... until I stepped inside. Truly couldn't believe it at the time but there was still some Acme decor left on the walls! Subsequent tenants had simply painted over some of it rather than removing the decor. Very little has been done to alter the interior of the section now occupied by Dollar General. At the time of my visit, Blockbuster was located in the space that is now home to the Majik Rent-To-Own store. 

The restaurant on this end was a later addition. Looks as though it was added after Acme left. The Produce delivery doors would have been located near the soda machine.

The elevated walkway and exit door probably came after Acme left as well. 50's stores didn't usually have a side door like this.

And in we go...

Hoping I have the orientation correct of the interior photos. It has been a long time since I've been in this place but I still have a pretty good memory of it. This shot is along the former Produce wall looking up towards the front of the store. Standard issue Acme air vents along the ceiling are clearly seen.

Still along the same wall here but we have moved closer to the front. The Produce wall removed on the left exposing the former back room space. Some 50's Acmes had this done to create an alcove for the Produce Department. Quiet sure this happened after Acme left as they would have refined this area more than has been.

Dollar General, or possibly and earlier tenant, built an office there in the front. What's next to the office is a very interesting find...

Check this out... that small cedar block walled room in the front is the former Produce and bread delivery room! We've never had such a great look at one in a 50's flat-roofed store where it was located on the Produce end of the store. These rooms were locked off to the rest of the store at night so deliveries could be made after hours.

Looking out into the store from the former Produce back room.

I believe we're along the back of the store looking into more back room space. The tile up on the wall possibly left over from the Meat Department. The low ceiling due to the second floor above.

Here's where it gets crazy! Still along the back wall we now see the decorative panels used in the 70's Colonial decor package. These shapes were often just painted on the walls for remodels as you can see in the Somers Point store by clicking here.

A few more here in-between the air intake vents.

Looking toward the front of the store. The Majik store is on the other side of this wall.

Back outside for some additional exterior views from Google Maps...

A new street sign added in recent years, replacing the Acme's steel tower sign which stood at the right-hand corner of the parking lot. It is still visible on the images from Bing Maps, included below.

Acme's sign was located approximately where the temporary "For Lease" sign stands in this photo.

Can't make out where the second floor break room and bathroom windows were. There is a chance they were around the corner on the right side of the building.


Former Acme sign along the street! Zoomed in right below...

Might have been cut down to size as this one is pretty short compared to others of that era.

Weis Market is right down the street. This location has been expanded several times.


Jumping back to 1992 for the historic aerials. Nothing has really changed since then.

Here you can see the Weis prior to it's 90's expansion.

The good ol' angled parking spots in 1969. Notice the restaurant on the right side had not been added yet.

The Weis slightly smaller than seen in the 1992 view.


Thanks to John for getting these pictures for us! I've been wanting to get this Lancaster Acme up on the blog since the day I started the blog!


  1. I grew up in this area but I think I may have been too young to remember Acme being here. I know there are at least two other locations in the Lancaster area where Acme used to be. One of those is a CVS now and you can still see the triangle pitched roof.

  2. I drive for weis markets. I've driven behind this former Acme store many times delivering to our store not knowing its former history. Thanks for the post!

  3. In 1965, yes 50 years ago, I graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. I was shopping in this Acme many times! It had the signature sign across the front, and an older 1940's neon Acme sign on the rear of the store. Next door was the Rea & Derrick Drug Store, long before Acme purchased that company. Lancaster city and suburbs had 5 Acme Markets, 3 Pantry Prides, 2 Weis Markets, and 2 A&P Stores. Another 5 Acme's were located in other communities throughout Lancaster county. Today the only markets are Weis and Giant.

    I used to think that Lancaster Brand meats were named for Lancaster, PA because they had a small stockyard. In fact in the mid 1920's, American Stores purchased a meat processing plant in Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, and that is where the name Lancaster Brand originated!

    1. Interesting! I thought the same thing about the Lancaster Brand Meats, and I never would have guessed it was because of the purchase of a company in Lancaster County, Nebraska!

  4. Wow! Those 70's wall shapes still look great, even as white-on-white figures! A very well-preserved store.

  5. Acme really started disappearing en masse from here (central PA) around 1982-83...not sure if this one went with it.

    Dollar General is "remodeling" this particular store this week, but not sure what (or how much) they're going to change in the 4-5 day span they were to be closed.

  6. The current Weis nearby was originally a Food Fair/ Pantry Pride; Weis moved from across the street and expanded. The original Weis is now the current CVS.