Early Lancaster had several general stores through the years, including the Cram General Merchandise Store, the Leo Harris General Merchandise Store, the Beckwith and Lucas General Store, Cammer’s General Merchandise Store, and the Paul Bachert General Merchandise Store, each serving the community well by providing residents with the necessities of daily life.
In 1885, personal accounts by Mr. Savage indicate that one of the first general stores was owned by Frank Glencross. A fire that started in Glencross’s store ultimately destroyed a block of buildings in 1886. The next would be Scherer’s General Store and Bar, offering “dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, and general merchandise, farming implements, and machinery”. Another early store, Pierce’s Corner Grocery Store, was the first site in Lancaster to be equipped with a telephone in 1902.
The Beckwith and Lucas General Store was one of the popular general stores of early Lancaster. It was located on the Southwest corner of Tenth Street (present-day Lancaster Boulevard) and Antelope Avenue (present-day Sierra Highway), nearby the Lancaster Gazette office. This storefront often served as a primary locality during town events, such as the annual Fourth of July celebrations.
The Cram General Merchandise Store was highly successful during its years of operation, open from 1904 to 1912. Local homesteader Charles Cram (1863-1924) owned and operated the store until it was destroyed by the devastating fire of 1912, which spread after Henry Sprecht’s saloon on the northeast corner of Tenth Street and Antelope Avenue caught fire. After this disaster, the family made the decision not to reopen the store and instead moved to Los Angeles.
Another successful early general store was the Leo Harris General Merchandise Store, located on the Southwest corner of Antelope Avenue and Tenth Street. In 1914, this storefront also became the operating area for the Lancaster Post Office. Harris was well-known in the community as being a successful businessman, a popular merchant, and an important civic leader for the community. He was also one of the first prominent Jewish residents of Lancaster.
"Gurba, Norma H. Lancaster. Arcadia, 2005.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections"