(Photo credit: Joseph A.)


Stepping through the entrance of a local G. C. Murphy Co. store, we’re back in the year 1959.


A brass bell hanging on the heavy steel-and-glass door rings. The high-pitched voice of a clerk floats to the front with a warm greeting, as she magically appears from behind a curtain-covered doorway where stock is kept. After asking us to let her know if we need help finding anything, we browse the aisles and take in the treasures of this old building.


5 & 10 cent stores


The wooden plank floors smell rich and heady as we walk, creaking and popping in certain places.

The powdery scent of rosewater soap wrapped in wax-covered paper rises from the cosmetics aisle. Around the corner is the jolting sight and smell of new plastic rubber from a hot water bottle display.


Off to one side, is a wall of built-in wooden cases, covered in thick glass on all sides.

There are sections of mounded candies, some individually wrapped, and others in glass decanters. Packages of cigars, cigarettes, and loose-leaf tobacco pouches fill another.

Magazines, maps, and an atlas stand upright while  sunglasses, accordion-folded rainbonnets, and assorted handkerchiefs fill the front racks.


Standing beside the cash register is a rotating countertop carousel, filled with peanuts and cashews. Red lights shine down upon the roasted nuts to keep them warm until they are all sold. Pocket-sized paper bags and a chrome scoop are leaned against the glass, awaiting the next shopper who can’t resist the tempting aroma.


Near the back of the store is a large U-shaped area of shallow, long bins. Each one-foot section contains a different 25-cent or 50-cent toy. Some of the toys are wrapped in plastic with a paper tag stapled on top. Others are open and fair game for the curious little hands that are eager to try before buying.


There are fuzzy, wind-up mice with rolled leather tails. Paratroopers with their 18-inch parachutes. Wooly Willy magnetic games. Beaded coin pouches. Realistic rubber snakes. Donald Duck flip books.


Circus animals playsets. Silly putty. Tin ladybug clickers. Paddle balls. Gyro wheels. Bird whistles. Miniature babydolls with booties & bottles. Windup, walking dentures. Play money. Balsa wood flyers.


Tin leaping frogs. Groucho Marx glasses with big noses and mustaches. Metal Jeeps. Blow-up, multicolored sticky bubbles. Sparking rockets. Goofy & Mickey push puppets. Vanity brush, comb, & mirror sets. And of course, the original Slinky. 


Dimestore Toychest



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